If your child has recently been diagnosed with mild scoliosis, you have probably been given two options.
Option 1 is usually observation, which means that your child will attend check-up appointments every 6 months so that the doctor can track the progress of their condition. In other words, do nothing and wait for the size of the curve to increase. Scoliosis does tend to be a progressive condition, and an adolescent with scoliosis will usually get worse very quickly, especially if they still have lots of growing left to do.
So what's option 2? Well, depending on your child's age and the severity of their curve, they may be offered a scoliosis brace. Braces do vary, but they are usually hard, corset-style shells that must be worn for 23 hours a day in order to achieve the maximum benefit.
Wearing a scoliosis brace can be an effective way of preventing the curve's progression, but only if used in combination with exercise. If the patient doesn't exercise, bracing can lead to muscle wastage, and patients often flop back into their scoliotic posture once they're out of the brace because certain muscles weren't being used and are no longer able to support the spine.
ScolioGold: A Third Option
The specific scoliosis exercises taught here at Scoliosis SOS are geared towards strengthening the muscles surrounding the patient's spine. Our ScolioGold exercise programme works extremely well in combination with bracing - not only does it help patients to keep their muscles strong in preparation for coming out of the brace, it also educates them and helps them to understand their condition, enabling them to help themselves going forward.
If your child has recently been diagnosed with scoliosis, please contact us today for advice and information on the treatment we provide.
Summer time is fast approaching, and with holidays and days out planned, the shape of your child's spine is probably the last thing on your mind right now.
However, summer is the time when you are most likely to see your pre-teen/teenage child's back.
Scoliosis is usually idiopathic, meaning of unknown cause. Idiopathic scoliosis usually becomes apparent to parents around age 11-12, when children reach puberty and undergo rapid growth within a short period of time.
Here are some of the signs of scoliosis that, as a parent, you ought to look out for:
- Rib hump (details here)
- Different shoulder heights
- Leaning to one side
Back pain is also often associated with scoliosis, most commonly affecting the lower back region. Pain may also occur in the neck or shoulders depending on the position of the curve. It has been suggested that there is no correlation between the size of the patient's curve and the level of pain they experience - some patients with large curves experience very little pain, while some patients with very mild curves experience significant pain.
I think my child has scoliosis - what do I need to do?
If you suspect that your child has scoliosis, please contact Scoliosis SOS today and one of our patient care coordinators will arrange an initial consultation. During this appointment, our consultant will take a radiation-free back scan of your child's spine, along with various other measurements. We will then be able to assess your child's condition and discuss a suitable treatment plan if necessary.
Scoliosis can potentially occur at any stage of a person's life. Some people grow up with curved spines, while others develop scoliosis in their old age. Every scoliosis sufferer's story is different.
With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that there's no single, straightforward answer to the question we're discussing today: are you born with scoliosis?
By far the most common form of scoliosis is idiopathic scoliosis - that is, a sideways spinal curvature that occurs without any clear cause.
Idiopathic scoliosis usually doesn't develop until the pre-teen / teenage years, so it would be incorrect to say that one is 'born' with this type of scoliosis. However, idiopathic scoliosis is widely believed to be rooted in genetic causes, so it might be said that some people are born with the genes that will one day manifest as a progressive spinal curve.
While scoliosis most commonly occurs during adolescence, it is occasionally the case that a visible spinal curvature is present from birth. Babies born with scoliosis are said to have congenital scoliosis, a condition that occurs when the baby's spine doesn't develop properly in the womb. A baby with congenital scoliosis may have multiple vertebrae joined together, or one or more vertebrae that didn't form completely.
Scoliosis in later life
Even if you weren't born with scoliosis and you didn't develop a spinal curve during your teenage years, there's no guarantee that you won't be affected by scoliosis later in life. Scoliosis can occur in fully-grown adults for a number of reasons, including:
- Asymmetric degeneration. The human body deteriorates with age, and if one side of your body deteriorates more rapidly than the other, this may result in a sideways spinal curve.
- Osteoporosis, a loss of bone density that is most common in post-menopausal women (read about osteoporosis here).
- Spondylolisthesis, where a vertebra slips out of place (read about spondylolisthesis here).
Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we treat scoliosis in patients of all ages, from young children to people in their 60s, 70s and beyond. If you would like to arrange an initial consultation, please fill out our enquiry form here.
Are you worried that your child may have a curved spine? Perhaps you suffer from scoliosis yourself, and you'd like to know whether or not the condition has been passed to your son or daughter?
Fortunately, there is an informal test for scoliosis that may help to put your mind at ease. The Adams forward bending test - described below - is a quick and easy way to check your little one for signs of scoliosis. It can be performed at home and does not require any special medical equipment.
Please note that this test should not be used in lieu of a diagnosis from a qualified medical professional. If you believe that you or your child are suffering from scoliosis, be sure to see your GP.
The Adams Forward Bending Test
Here's a step-by-step guide to checking your child for scoliosis:
- Have your child take off their top and stand with their back to you.
- While your child is standing up straight, look for visible signs of scoliosis - do their shoulders, ribs, neck, waist and hips look symmetrical? Or do they appear to be skewed towards one side?
- Now ask your child to bend forward at the waist.
- Once your child is in the forward bending position, look at their back. Does one side of their rib cage look higher than the other?
While no body is perfectly symmetrical, any obvious unevenness that you notice may potentially be a sign of scoliosis. Again, we strongly recommend visiting a doctor if you are concerned that a spinal curvature may be present.
Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we provide effective non-surgical treatment for scoliosis sufferers of all ages. Click here to see before and after photos of our youngest patients, or get in touch today to arrange a consultation with us.
Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of spinal abnormality, referring to an excessive sideways curvature of the spine that occurs for no known reason. Idiopathic scoliosis is usually diagnosed during adolescence, but it can also be found in younger children; when diagnosed between the ages of 4 and 10, it is known as juvenile idiopathic scoliosis.
This form of scoliosis accounts for around 10-15% of all idiopathic scoliosis in children, and unlike adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, it affects more boys than girls.
How is juvenile idiopathic scoliosis diagnosed?
Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis can be recognised by the following symptoms:
- Misaligned shoulder blades
- Clothes that hang unevenly
- One leg shorter than the other
- Uneven hips
- Back pain
- Respiratory/cardiovascular issues
If your child is affected by any of the above, the first thing to do is book an appointment with your GP. If your GP believes your child may have juvenile idiopathic scoliosis, they will then pass you onto a specialist who will be able to diagnose the extent of the curvature. They will also be able to recommend a treatment plan to help reduce the curvature of the spine and minimise any pain or discomfort.
How can juvenile idiopathic scoliosis be treated?
Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis tends to get progressively worse (i.e. the angle of the curve increases) if not treated. Fortunately, there are many ways in which juvenile idiopathic scoliosis can be treated, usually starting with a brace to stop the progression of the curvature.
Observation is then used to determine whether the curvature continues to worsen as the child grows or if their condition becomes stable. If the curvature continues to progress, your child may need to undergo further treatment for their juvenile idiopathic scoliosis:
- Casting - Serial casting is sometimes used before bracing in an attempt to delay the need for bracing. Casting is harder to remove than bracing, so some parents may find this easier if their child is reluctant to co-operate.
- Surgery - In severe cases of juvenile scoliosis, surgical procedures such as spinal fusion or the insertion of magnetic growing rods may be required to halt the progression of the curvature. However, bracing may still be required while your child is still growing.
- Physiotherapy - Exercises and stretches are often more preferable for a parent who does not want to put their child through the pain of surgery. The ScolioGold treatment courses we deliver here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic use a range of different non-surgical methods to reduce the curvature of the patient's scoliosis. Click here to view patient results.
If you'd like to find out more about the Scoliosis SOS Clinic and our non-surgical scoliosis treatment courses, please contact us today.