Scoliosis in Teenagers

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (the most common type of scoliosis) usually develops between the ages of 10 and 15. Consequently, most of our patients make their first visit to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic as teenagers.


What causes scoliosis in teenagers?

While efforts are still being made to determine what causes adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, there currently isn’t an explanation that’s widely agreed upon.

It’s possible that genetics are the underlying cause. 30% of patients suffering with adolescent scoliosis have a family member with the same condition. The hormonal changes that take place during puberty could also be a contributing factor.

What are the symptoms of teenage scoliosis?

A teenager who has scoliosis may display some of the following symptoms:
Symptoms
Uneven shoulders
Compromised breathing (in severe cases)
Visible spinal curvature
Uneven hips/legs
Back pain

These symptoms can be distressing at any age, but it’s important to bear in mind that teenagers are particularly susceptible to feelings of low self-esteem and negative self-image as they try to fit in with their peers. We recommend seeking treatment as soon as possible if you suspect your teenager has scoliosis.

Diagnosing scoliosis in teenagers

If your teenager is experiencing with any of the symptoms listed above, then you can check their back using the Adams Forward Bending Test.

If you’re the teenager in question, you won’t be able to perform this test on yourself, so you’ll need to ask a friend or family member to assist you.
  • Stand directly behind the patient so you can see their back clearly.
  • Look at their shoulders, ribs, waist and hips. Do they look noticeably asymmetrical?
  • Next, ask the patient to bend over and touch their toes. Does one side of their rib cage appear more raised than the other?
If you notice any significant asymmetry, we recommend booking an appointment with your GP. They will be able to perform further inspections and give a professional diagnosis.
No one’s body is completely symmetrical. You should only be concerned if you see significant differences in rib cage protrusion, shoulder height, etc.

Treating scoliosis in teenagers

There are a few different treatment options for teenagers with scoliosis. GPs are likely to recommend different treatments depending on the age of the patient and the severity of the spinal curve.

Observation

Observation involves keeping an eye on the curvature without starting any formal treatment. It is likely to be recommended if the patient’s spinal curvature is relatively mild at present.

Bracing

If the patient is still growing, doctors may recommend that they wear a scoliosis brace to prevent further curve progression. The most common type of brace is a rigid plastic shell called a ‘Boston brace’ that must usually be worn all day and removed only when showering/bathing.

Physiotherapy

Exercise-based therapy can be an effective course of treatment for teenagers with scoliosis, whether they’re in the early or late stages of adolescence. Our ScolioGold treatment programme is a non-invasive option that helps to correct the patient’s spinal curve while reducing pain and improving muscle balance.

Surgery

Spinal fusion surgery may be recommended for teenagers with severe cases of scoliosis. During this procedure, the surgeon anchors a series of rods to the spine using tiny hooks and screw. A bone graft is then applied – this eventually fuses with the spine with the aim of preventing further curve progression.

Before & After Treatment

We have treated hundreds of teenagers with scoliosis here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic.

We know that every patient’s symptoms, curvature and desired end goals are different. That’s why we tailor our ScolioGold method to suit you. We even offer flexible course dates so teenagers can be treated around commitments like school and college.

Here are some of the results we’ve been able to achieve for our teenage scoliosis patients:

Case Study: Molly, 16 Years Old

Molly was diagnosed with scoliosis in 2015. The following year, she came to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic for treatment.

Our treatment programme helped Molly to understand her condition and get it under control. Her school supported her by setting time aside for her to do her scoliosis exercises.
Contact the Scoliosis SOS Clinic now to learn more about our non-surgical treatment courses >
My Patient
Experience
Meet The Team
"

The course was excellent and I feel I have really benefited from being here. My therapist has been a wonderful teacher, so enthusastic, kind and understanding. I could not have wished for a better team to look after me.

"
Deirdre, 43 from Scotland

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