Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves abnormally. Scoliosis can be caused by many factors, including congenital birth defects or nervous system disorders, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. However, in most cases, the cause of scoliosis is not known. Symptoms associated with scoliosis can range from minor pain to severe deformation and inability to effectively ambulate.
There are four main kinds of scoliosis that can be diagnosed:
- Idiopathic – this is the most common form, and it is believed to be hereditary.
- Congenital – a curvature that is present at birth.
- Degenerative – this can result after a bone collapse following osteoporosis or a traumatic injury. It can also develop after major back surgeries.
- Neuromuscular – This stems from muscle or nerve abnormalities, and can accompany spina bifida and other conditions that impact the neuromuscular junction.
Severe cases of scoliosis can cause the spine to form an “S” shape and cause physical limitations, reducing breathing functions and lung capacity. The curvature of the spine can also cause additional pressure on the nerves, causing functioning that is slower. Sometimes the condition does not progress beyond the initial curving.
Most often, scoliosis occurs and is diagnosed as a child is in his or her growth spurt before he or she hits puberty. During the screening process, doctors look for uneven hips and differences in arm or leg lengths. Scoliosis may not have a negative impact on many people, but there are some people who are severely impacted by the spine curvature.
If you have been diagnosed with scoliosis and it impacts you enough that you are unable to work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. To determine whether you meet their definition of being disabled, Social Security relies on a variety of factors, including the severity of your symptoms, the effectiveness of treatment options, the strength of your medical evidence, your age, your education level and the type of work you have done in the past. To be approved, your scoliosis must be supported with objective medical evidence such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans.
By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®