According to statistic, scoliosis of spine is a health problem of great concern in world that is present is 80% of population. One of the main reasons is excessive sitting. The consequences can be very serious, but can be easily avoided by adding a little bit of physical activity to every day life. Dr. Milenko Savić, neurosurgeon at Atlas General Hospital speaks about prevention, consequences of scoliosis in children and spine surgery.
Are you putting the spine in jeopardy?
Your spine is in jeopardy on daily basis, considering the fact that the spine is axis of body and practically is responsible for entire functioning of body. Healthy spine is essential for proper body functioning. Unfortunately, spine is prone to various diseases, including scoliosis-idiopathic scoliosis that usually affects children-curvature of spine, for which the real cause is unknown. One factor that is believed to be responsible for scoliosis is excessive sitting. It is known that while sitting muscles are practically excluded, and intervertebral discs that are very important for the functioning are being refreshed during walking, so the blood circulation refreshes it.
When you say “sitting”, do you have in mind every sitting position or just improper sitting?
I have in mind every sitting position, so that physical activity is necessary, but even with all physical activity the curvature of spine occurs. A large percentage of children have spine issues that can be easily corrected with exercises and proper physical activity. If with all necessary physical treatment and corrective exercises this deformity remains the same, it is necessary to do an adequate surgical intervention. Consequences are, presumably, more serious in this case.
The children today spend a lot of time sitting, spend many hours in front of computers, playing games, also they carry heavy school bags. How many cases we have in practice and are these spine problems caused more with prolonged sitting or carrying heavy loads?
These are just some of the factors that affect the deterioration of idiopathic scoliosis that occurs from yet unknown reasons, but it happens even with active athletes and children who are physically active. Sitting and carrying the load is inevitable in school children, but correct diagnosis and awareness of parents and children about this issue is very important as much as physical activity.
Do you recommend that kids should have the preventive check up? When the problem becomes visible, does it mean that things are irreparable?
Naturally, every diagnosis that is done in time is very important in prevention and treatment. There are deformities that can be treated and healed with corrective exercises. When the degree of deformity goes over 35 degrees, then the only way that this can be corrected is surgically. Adequate surgical intervention in optimal period is very important for a good success and definite correction of spine. Preventive examination and awareness of parents are very important because there are various prejudices like that spine should not be operated under any circumstances, but I can say that it is completely wrong opinion because there are precise conditions under which we operate spine.
When surgical treatment is used? What is the moment when surgical treatment is necessary?
There are several types of scoliosis and depending on calculation we choose method of treatment:
- If the curve is greater than 35 degrees
- If children are in the optimal period of growth
- If such deformity worsens
Spine cannot heal by itself, so waiting is not advisable, but adequate surgical intervention should be chosen. Optimal period is practically before the end of growth. In this period can be easier to correct deformity. After completion of the operation period of growth that eventually remained, is suitable for the correction during growing of child. Often there is a disturbance in balance and posture, disbalance of hips and pelvis.
We said that children need physical activity, how much obesity in children affects spine?
To je još jedan od faktora – prekomerna težina, koji se rešava kroz pojačanu fizičku aktivnost jer se sama telesna masa koriguje. Nemojte nas pogrešno shatiti i pomisliti da samo fizičkom aktivnošću i korigovanjem telesne mase problem može da se izbegne. Dakle, to je jedna bolest kao i sve druge koje se javljaju nezavisno od toga da li se sedi ili se nosi težina. Nije poželjno pokušavati tim alternativnim metodama po svaku cenu. Kada se potroši razumno vreme za alternativne metode, treba se konsultovati sa stručnjacima koji se time bave jer je sledeći način hirurška intervencija, dakle direktno ispravljanje kičme.
This is another factor – the excessive weight, which can be avoided through increased physical activity, because thus body weight is corrected. Of course, do not think that only with physical activity and body weight correction the problem can be avoided. Therefore, it is an illness like any other, which occur regardless of whether they sit or carry weight. It is not advisable to try these alternative methods at any cost. When you spend a reasonable time for an alternative method, you should consult with experts who deal with it, because surgery should follow, thus directly correcting the spine.
In any occasion prevention is always welcomed. First step that is necessary and that we point out and insist upon is to do initial exercises.