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Is scoliosis a life-threatening one?

Is scoliosis a life-threatening one?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Answered by

Dr. Sumit Chawla

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At January 9, 2016
Reviewed AtJuly 24, 2023

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

For the past four months, I am suffering from neck stiffness especially when turning to the left. Also, I am suffering from the heaviness of the head, trembling of the head in certain neck positions, and shortness of breath, especially on moving to the chest level. When I wake up in the morning after sound sleep of 6 hours I do not feel bad. But, as the day progresses my problem gets increased. In the office, I have to work for eight hours and my commuting time is three hours. So the problem increases while in the office and when I travel by car where I have to sit for a long time. Also, it is not possible for me to quit my job. My echocardiogram and brain MRI are normal. My cervical spine MRI shows mild scoliosis with convexity to the right, and a small central posterior disc bulge at C5 or C6 level indenting the thecal sac. There is no cord compression or central canal stenosis. Is my problem life-threatening? Can the above problems be cured through exercise? Can I lead a normal life?

Answered by Dr. Sumit Chawla


Welcome to icliniq.com.

As you have very well explained your symptoms, I am so thankful to you. I would have appreciated if MRl image too available. Scoliosis can give rise to spasm of paraspinal muscles of the affected area, and in your case neck, this explains your neck stiffness. Does trembling of head on bending correspond with your pulse? If yes, then it is a normal phenomenon. If no, then during pain and stiffness there is reduced strength of muscles which sometimes leading to trembling. Your condition improves with rest and worsens with exertion, clearly implying mechanical cause to your symptoms. Shortness of breath on bending neck forward is not a routine orthopedic symptom. Do you have any swelling in the neck? Do you have any cardiac or heart condition or chest disease?Your condition is not life-threatening You need a course of muscle relaxant with painkillers. Take rest for some time along with physiotherapy and once the pain subsides, start with isometric cervical exercises to strengthen neck muscles. Change your postural habit of sitting while at work and while relaxing. These changes in your lifestyle will help you immensely. The degree of scoliosis, its progression, pressure on cord or nerve roots and the current level of your symptoms will define the need for surgery.

Thank you.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Sumit Chawla
Dr. Sumit Chawla

Orthopedician and Traumatology

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