Scoliosis is a disorder in which the spine is curving to one side or the other, as opposed to being straight. Scoliosis can develop from several different identifying factors. It can be caused by a congenital factor which is a defect a child is born with. The cause can be degenerative which can be the result of an accident or trauma. The factor responsible can be neuromuscular from a disorder of the muscles or nerve fibers. Lastly, it can be idiopathic which means there is no obvious reason it occurred.
Girls have a higher incidence of developing scoliosis then boys. If you have a family history of scoliosis, it is important to monitor your children to ensure they aren’t developing it. Most kids start to show symptoms of scoliosis when they are going through growth spurts. To check your child for scoliosis, just have them stand facing away from you, and bend and touch their toes. The spine will innately curve, but the individual bones of the spine (the vertebra) should be in a fairly straight row. Even if the school does the test to check for scoliosis, you should check them as well. Here are some signs that scoliosis may be developing in your child.
Is your child telling you they have back soreness or having problems keeping up with the other kids?
If your child is telling you their back is sore, or they can’t run and keep up with the other kids this is a sign that needs to not be ignored. Even if they say the pain is not too bad, follow up with a visit to the pediatrician, just to be sure nothing more serious is going on.
Watch your child walk and run
If your child has an unsteady walk or run, or if they are falling a lot more then you’d expect at their age, check their back for a straight spine. Your spine is your main support system, so if your child is struggling doing things children normally, do this is cause for concern.
Check your child’s proportion from one side to the other:
Factors that may be a sign of scoliosis is one shoulder higher than the other, or you may notice a shoulder blade is uneven. They may have a hip that is not symmetrical to the other, or their rib cage may slightly be disproportionate. One hip may even be elevated above the other side. It may not be a serious problem, but you should have them checked out by their doctor.
It is Important to Find Scoliosis Early
It is important to find the scoliosis as soon as possible, so that treatment can start early to hopefully prevent the scoliosis from getting worse. Testing for scoliosis is done with an x-ray, and treatment will be through a back specialist. The first line treatment is usually a back brace, and may be physical therapy to try and strengthen the back, as much as possible. If the scoliosis is severe, or isn’t improved through bracing, surgery would be the next line of treatment. Although surgery is always a serious course of action, with modern technical advances, the surgery can be extremely successful. Recovery will be slow, but fixing the scoliosis surgically can greatly reduce pain, and worsening problems later on in life.
Once your child has had the problem fixed, a sports chiropractor and therapy will help your child regain strength and flexibility.
Disclosure: The information provided is in no way an alternative to seeking medical advice from your doctor. It is simply intended to give additional advice on every day, non-emergent situations from a mother who is a licensed R.N. If your situation is urgent, please contact your doctor immediately (or 911 if an emergency).