There are a lot of medical conditions which are linked to the spine and which can create some major issues in the health and well being of an individual. One such medical condition is Levoscoliosis where the spine gets curved towards the left side of the body.1 In this present article, we discuss on this particular medical condition of the left curvature of spine or the Levoscoliosis, where we will take a look on some of the most important symptoms, causes, treatments and proper care and pain management after surgery for Levoscoliosis.
A Brief Introduction on Levoscoliosis:
Scoliosis is a medical condition characterized by a curvature of the spine either towards right or left or by any deformity on the front or back of the spine.2 Based on the direction of the curve in the deformed spine; Scoliosis can be categorized as Levoscoliosis or Dextroscoliosis. The former type of scoliosis is the condition where there is a curvature of the spine towards left, while the later type of scoliosis is a condition where the curvature is towards the right. In this article of ours we will talk about the Levoscoliosis.
Levoscoliosis usually have symptoms similar to the general type of scoliosis; however, Levoscoliosis can be a big reason to worry in the affected persons as the spine here gets curved towards the left side of the body, where the heart is also located. So, there are chances the patients may suffer from various health problems linked with heart. So, there are concerns linked to this fact of Levoscoliosis that the left hand side curvature can press the ribcage and can lead to a deformation and various health issues for the heart and the lungs. Lumbar spine is the most common segment of the vertebral column which is affected by Levoscoliosis.
Diagnosis may include MRI scan and doctors may go for various types of treatments to correct the Levoscoliosis. However, there are also certain alternative therapies which can prove beneficial in improving the condition of Levoscoliosis. We will take a look on them in the following array of our article.
Signs and Symptoms of Levoscoliosis:
Following are some of the noted signs and symptoms of Levoscoliosis.
- Serious back pain
- The shoulders remain at different heights
- After a person has experienced several months of back pain and then finds a reduction in the pain, there may be some postural changes in him or her if it is Levoscoliosis.
- There is a deformed appearance of the ribcage.
- There may be spasms in the muscles of the left side, where the muscle contract and cause the symptoms of muscle spasms.
- There are symptoms of shoulder blade on the left side protruding out in Levoscoliosis.
- One leg may appear shorter than the other.
- The body may feel or appear like tilting to one side.
Causes of Levoscoliosis:
Now, coming to the causes for Levoscoliosis; here we can list down some of the major causes.
- Levoscoliosis can occur in some congenital cases where the bones of the spine are formed abnormally.
- There are chances that the levoscoliosis can be caused in case of certain degenerative cases, or in case of the herniated vertebral discs.
- Some people suffer from Levoscoliosis during their puberty, where there are certain hormonal changes which lead to a faster growth of the spine as compared to the muscles and the muscles are weakened leading to the medical condition.
- There are some neuromuscular cases leading to Levoscoliosis, where there is no control on the nerves that go in to the muscles which usually support the spine. Cerbral palsy, muscular dystrophy can be such conditions leading to Levoscoliosis.
- Poor posture may also lead to Levoscoliosis. It is in fact a predisposing factor for Levoscoliosis.
Prognosis for Levoscoliosis:
The prognosis for a patient with Levoscoliosis depends on various factors which include patient’s age when the condition begins and treatments received. It must be noted that in many cases Levoscoliosis may not require serious treatments, however in many other cases if severe Levoscoliosis left untreated, may lead to spondylosis and may also cause other dangerous issues including impair breathing and serious heart problems.
Diagnosis for Levoscoliosis:
Diagnosis for Levoscoliosis is usually done by X-rays or the MRIs. Your doctor may monitor the curve of the spine in Levoscoliosis, for some months and then go for the essential treatments. You may be advised for the diagnosis procedures in a gap of four months and after monitoring your doctor will advice the treatments as per the severity of the condition. We will talk about the following paragraphs.
Treatments for Levoscoliosis:
“There are diseases and there are treatments!” There are various medical as well as alternative treatments for treating the condition of Levoscoliosis. Usually, the treatments for levoscoliosis are based on the degree of curvature, the symptoms of pain and their severity, the likelihood of significant progression of the curvature of the spine, etc.
Usually curves of the spine which are less that 20 degree do not require serious medical treatments, unless there is pain. However, generally the growing children in such condition may require treatments after the thorough monitoring of their condition or the growth of spinal curvature. Spinal curvature more that 40 degree usually require significant surgical treatments if there exist intense pain and in case the patient is an adult. Bracing, physical therapy and various other alternative treatments including exercises and yoga are known to be some of the common treatments for Levoscoliosis.
So, here we are going to take a look on some of the most commonly known treatments for Levoscoliosis.
Alternative Treatments for Treating Levoscoliosis:
There are some alternative treatments noted to be used in treating or reducing the symptoms of Levoscoliosis. Let us take a look on some of the alternative treatments for Levoscoliosis.
- Physical Therapy for Treating Levoscoliosis: Physical therapy can help in case of levoscoliosis to reduce the symptoms; however only after an initial assessment of the curvature of the spine. This specialized program for Levoscoliosis via physical therapy involves the passive as well as active exercises specific for strengthening the muscles on the weakened side. There will also be special exercises to correct the deformed posture in Levoscoliosis. Your physiotherapist will let you know about the strategies for correcting or maintaining a proper posture in Levoscoliosis during the physical activities as well as while resting, sitting or sleeping position.
- Electrical Stimulation for Treating Levoscoliosis: Electric stimulation is an alternative treatment to help reduce the symptoms of Levoscoliosis in children where the degree of curvature of the spine is less than 35 degree and has at least two years of the skeletal growth remaining in his or her life. Electric stimulation must be done along with the physical therapy and by a professional physiotherapist. In this case; electrodes are placed between the ribs on the side of the chest, directly under the arm, aligned properly with the portion of the back that is most affected by the curve.
- Exercises for Treating Symptoms of Levoscoliosis: Though there are some exercises known to reduce the pain in mild cases of Levoscoliosis, there are no great evidences which show exercises prevent or reduce the development of the spinal curvature in Levoscoliosis. Strengthening the spinal muscles via exercises can help to some good extent. Performing alternating shoulder flexion and hip extension lying in a prone position can be a good spinal muscle exercise that can be done in Levoscoliosis.
- Yoga for Levoscoliosis: Yoga and massage for back pain can be tried out in Levoscoliosis. Though there are no great evidences that the curvature of the spine can be corrected by yoga, there are evidences that the pain associated with the condition in Levoscoliosis can be effectively reduced by yoga asanas as they strengthen the spinal muscles.
- Acupressure for Pain Treatments in Levoscoliosis: Acupuncture is one more alternative method that can be beneficial in pain treatments in levoscoliosis. There is also a study which shows that acupuncture has helped in reducing the spinal curvature by 10 degrees.
- Biofeedback Solutions for Levoscoliosis: An alternative treatment procedure for levoscoliosis and symptoms of other types of scoliosis, is Biofeedback where you become aware of your body’s reactions and learn how to control them with your actions. A biofeedback device is used to detect the defect which requires a correction.
- Chiropractic Manipulation for Treating Levoscoliosis: Studies have shown that some patients with levoscoliosis undergoing chiropractic treatments show improvements after the completion of a treatment regiment and also experience positive benefits of the treatment after two years. This type of alternative treatment is actually based around a specific exercise program that actually is used to stop the progression of the condition in the patients. Here you need to be very much sure to see a licensed chiropractor before taking the treatments.
Bracing and Casting For Treating Levoscoliosis:
Bracing is in fact the first line of treatment for patients suffering Levoscoliosis that has a curve of the spine anywhere between 25 degree to 40 degrees. It can be done in patients where the bone growth has not stopped growing. This procedure of treatment actually involves the use of a brace or a device that fits around the patient’s torso and sometimes extends to the neck for relieving pain and reducing the symptoms in Levoscoliosis. It has been noticed that bracing has significantly helped people to stop the progression of levoscoliosis or further curvature of the spine when worn properly and for the required amount of days.
There are usually two types of braces; namely the soft braces and the hard plastic types of braces. Your doctor prescribes you the suitable type of brace by looking at various factors including the size of the curvature, the level of physical activity you perform in a day, your sex and so on.
Casting is another treatment for levoscoliosis where the patient wears a plaster jacket at an early stage of the condition in order to permanently correct the levoscoliosis. Casting is mainly used in cases of infantile and juvenile levoscoliosis. Here a series of plaster casts are applied on a specialized frame under corrective traction, which actually aids in moulding of the infants’ soft bones and work with their growth spurts. If the treatment begins before the second year of life in an infant with the medical condition; casting may get a complete correction of the spinal curves which are less than 50 degrees.
Surgical Treatments for Levoscoliosis:
Surgery is the treatment which is generally prescribed for the patients with the curvature of the spine more than 45 or 50 degrees and where there is a high likelihood of the progression of the condition. It must be noted that all types of surgery for Levoscoliosis are performed by a surgeon who is specialized in spine surgery. The surgical treatments may take around 4 to 8 hours and involve certain risks and complications (we will take a look on them in the later part of our article). However, surgery proves to be very much beneficial in complete correction of the medical condition. Let us take a look on some of the types of surgeries which are used to treat Levoscoliosis.
- Surgical Treatment of Levoscoliosis via Spinal Fusion: Spinal fusion is the most popular type of surgical treatment for all types of scoliosis including the Levoscoliosis. In this procedure of treatment, bone is harvested from any other part of the body (autograft) or harvested from a donor (allograft) is grafted in to the vertebrae of the patient undergoing the treatment, so that when they heal they form a solid bone mass and there grows a rigid vertebral column. This surgical treatment can be performed either from the anterior aspect of the spine or from the posterior aspect or also can be performed with a combination of both the aspects. It is known that people undergoing the modern spinal fusion treatments for levoscoliosis usually lead normal lives without much restricted actions or movements.
- Surgery Without Fusion for Treatment of Levoscoliosis: A ribcage implant that pushes the ribs apart on the concave side of the spinal curve may be useful in younger patients or the children who suffer from their ability to breathe properly because of thoracic insufficiency and where the condition leads to a significant cardiac pressure. VEPTR or the Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Ribs are the implants which provide essential benefits of expanding the thoracic cavity and helps in straightening the spine in all the three dimensions and also allowing it to grow.
There may also be a use of an expandable rod or the growing rod which may be implanted across the segment of the spinal curvature surgically and lengthened under surgery in every six months so as to mimic and maintain the normal growth of the spine in the patient with Levoscoliosis undergoing the treatment.
It must be noted that though there are a lot of advances in the modern field of surgical treatments for levoscoliosis, there are still a lot of complications involved with them; which must be taken care of. We will take a look on the risks and complications of surgical treatments of Levoscoliosis below.
- Thoracoplasty for Treating Levoscoliosis in the Thoracic Spine: There are some rare types of Levoscoliosis which occur in the thoracic spine and indicate that the scoliosis may be secondary to the tumor on the spinal cord. For such cases, there is a particular surgical treatment known as Thoracoplasty. This is also called as Costoplasty. Such a surgical treatment is performed for removing about four to six segments (each of one or two inches) of the adjacent rib that protrude.
Though this surgical treatment is performed rarely to treat cases of scoliosis occurring in the thoracic spine; there are a lot of risks involved with such a type of surgery. There are about 10 to 15% chances of reduced pulmonary functions after the surgery.
Complications/Risks Involved with Surgical Treatments of Levoscoliosis:
- The prime most risk involved with the surgery is that there may be inflammation of the soft tissue.
- There may be other complication like the breathing impairments
- Excessive bleeding can be a risk in surgical treatments for Levoscoliosis.
- There are chances of deep inflammatory processes
- Serious nerve injuries are among the most serious possible risks involved with the surgery.
Proper Care and Pain Management after Surgery:
It is essential to take proper care of the patient who has undergone the surgical treatment for Levoscoliosis. Below are some of the essential tips to follow for proper care and pain management after surgery.
- Maintaining the Right Diet: it is essential to take the appropriate diet after surgery for Levoscoliosis. Fruits, green vegetables, juices etc play a vital part in quick recovery from the surgery. Apart from this, whole grains must be added to your diet and plenty of water must be taken for keeping away from dehydration. It must be noted that junk foods are strictly to be avoided after surgery.
- Taking the Right Pain Medications Following Surgery for Levoscoliosis: There are a lot of pain medicines which will be prescribed to you to be taken after surgery for reducing the pain. Morphine is the most common pain medicine given to the patient after undergoing a surgery for scoliosis treatment.
- Proper Care and Management of Bowel and Bladder Functions: Movement after surgery is not possible immediately. So, a catheter is placed in the patient so that he or she can urinate in it as he cannot move out of bed to reach the washroom. Foley catheter is the most common type of catheter placed in the patient to for bladder and bowel functions which is put in the urethra with a tube that leads to a drainage bag on the side of the bed. The drainage bag must be checked and emptied thoroughly, cleaned properly once it gets full.
There are also chances of severe constipation after surgery. In such case a rectal suppository is used for clearing the constipation. It is essential to take proper diet and fluid for better bowel movements and avoiding constipation. If you or any of your known ones is suffering from Levoscoliosis and willing to take the surgical treatments, make sure you are visiting a specialized center for spinal surgery to avoid more of complications. It is good to consult with an expert professional in case of any marked symptoms of Levoscoliosis and follow the prescribed treatments after thorough monitoring and proper diagnosis done by your doctor. Ask your doctor if you can go for physical therapy, exercises, yoga and other alternative treatments for your condition and take the necessary precautions and care yourself as advised.
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