The standard definition of scoliosis is a curve of the spinal column to the left or right side of the body, dextroscoliosis is a specific term meaning scoliosis of the spine with a curvature of the spine to the right. Dextro is derived from the latin word dexter which means “on the right side”. The opposite meaning is levo, which is to the left side.
Dextroscoliosis can be diagnosed in both children and adults, and may be caused from idiopathic scoliosis, trauma to the spinal column, degenerative spinal diseases, or neuromuscular diseases. Dextroscoliosis is considered the lesser of two evils, compared to levoscoliosis, as the heart is less affected by the right curvature of the spine. This doesn’t mean dextroscoliosis is any milder as it still can cause significant pain and discomfort. Additionally, it can affect the internal organs like the lungs, kidneys, liver, etc. due to the deformation of the ribcage on the right side. To confirm diagnoses of dextroscoliosis one must seek professional advice from a chiropractor or medical doctor who will perform structural tests along with an X-Ray, which will help in the determining the type of scoliosis, severity and the proper treatment path.
Different forms of dextroscoliosis refer to the region of the spine, most commonly the thoracic (middle and upper back) and the lumbar (lower back) areas. A thoracic dextroscoliosis means that region of the spine is curved to the right. Since the ribs attach to the thoracic spine the ribcage will deform as compensation from the curvature. In the lumbar spine, a dextroscoliosis can be called a dextroconvex scoliosis, lumbar dextroscoliosis or dextroscoliosis of the lumbar spine. Again, all of these terms refer a curvature to the right.
Another term commonly used is mild dextroscoliosis which generally means a slight curve to right at about 10 degrees or more. When patients hear the word “mild”, one may think the diagnosis is insignificant, however it is important to realize that all large (severe) curvatures start out as small (mild) ones. Patients should consult with their chiropractor or medical doctor on potential treatments and follow up schedule to monitor the scoliosis.