Check Your Child's Back

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.

Are you born with scoliosis?

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?

Idiopathic 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.

Congenital scoliosis

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.

Scoliosis test

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 - demonstrated in the video 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.

Juvenile Idiopathic Scoliosis

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.

Scoliosis is fairly rare amongst babies and young children, as in most cases the spinal curve doesn't develop until adolescence. However, that's doesn't mean that babies are never affected.

Scoliosis in Babies

Broadly speaking, there are two types of scoliosis in babies: infantile scoliosis and congenital scoliosis. Today, we're going to explain the differences and similarities between each condition, and how they can be treated.

What is congenital scoliosis?

Congenital scoliosis is a type of scoliosis that is present from birth. It is caused by irregular development of the spine while the baby is still in the womb. It occurs because one or more vertebrae didn't form properly, or if multiple vertebrae are joined together.

The symptoms of congenital scoliosis are just the same as any other form of scoliosis: uneven hips and/or shoulders; rib cage more prominent on one side than the other; a visible lean to one side. But these symptoms may be harder to identify in a very young child.

Every person experiences scoliosis differently, whether you're born with the spinal condition or develop a curve later in life. Some sufferers may experience pain, respiratory problems, and/or reduced mobility, but none of these symptoms are guaranteed. In some cases of congenital scoliosis, where the condition is linked to a problem with the spinal cord, the patient may also experience reduced coordination, reduced strength, and numbness, but again these symptoms vary from person to person.

Read more about congenital scoliosis >

What is infantile scoliosis?

Infantile scoliosis is a sideways spinal curve that is diagnosed between 0 and 3 years of age. Unlike congenital scoliosis, infantile isn't present at birth; rather, it develops early in the child's life.

Infantile scoliosis affects more baby boys than girls, and the exact cause of infantile scoliosis is unknown.

Some have suggested that the spine is slightly bent at the time of birth and simply worsens with growth. The spinal curve typically appears between the shoulder blades or in the thoracic (upper) region of the spine, and the spine tends to curve to the left more often than it curves to the right.

The diagnosis of infantile scoliosis is based on the age of onset, the location of the curve, findings from the physical examination, and x-rays.

The symptoms of infantile scoliosis are very similar to those of congenital scoliosis, and again, their severity varies from one patient to the next.

Treating infantile and congenital scoliosis

In cases of scoliosis where the patient is still very young, doctors usually recommend monitoring/observing their condition to see whether the spinal curve will correct itself over time.

Later on, if the curve has not corrected itself and is in fact worsening, the patient may be recommended to wear a back brace to stop the curve from progressing. In severe cases, they also may have to undergo spinal fusion surgery.

Like most forms of the condition, infantile and congenital scoliosis can be effectively treated via exercise-based physiotherapy, which is what we offer here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic. We have treated plenty of young children, and have seen some excellent results!

If you would like to find out more about our non-surgical scoliosis treatment courses and how they can benefit babies with scoliosis, please call Scoliosis SOS on 0207 488 4428 or click here to book an initial consultation.

Contact Scoliosis SOS

Name *
E-mail address *
Country *
Telephone Number *
Other Information
 
Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character
Enter Letters (No Spaces) *
Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character

Save this webpage for later:

Text the link
Copy the link