Scoliosis in Children

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Scoliosis in ChildrenScoliosis in Children

Scoliosis, which is commonly diagnosed in children, is an abnormal curvature of the spine. The spine has normal curves most easily seen from a sideways view, however with scoliosis additional curves develop where the rotation of the spine results in the bones of the child’s spine curving to form a “C” or “S” shape. Diagnosis by an Orthopedic doctor for children is the first step to determining treatment needs.

Causes of Scoliosis
In about 80% of cases, doctors do not find an exact reason for the development of scoliosis. While some types of scoliosis do have exact causes, the most common type is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, or AIS – idiopathic means that no specific reason or cause can be attributed to the condition. While scoliosis may be present early in a child’s life, AIS is often diagnosed during adolescence between 10 to 18 years of age when rapid growth is occurring. A comprehensive Atlanta scoliosis evaluation will provide you and your child with treatment options for specialized care if needed.

Scoliosis Treatment
Treatment for scoliosis is often not required. The abnormal rotation of the spine does not affect the child’s growth and development, but does affect the elongation of the spine. There are many factors to be considered in setting up a treatment plan, however a combination of physical therapy, scoliosis braces, minimally invasive techniques and non-operative care may be the course of action following diagnosis by a pediatric orthopedic specialist.

Prevention of Scoliosis
Scoliosis cannot be prevented however through early intervention, proper diagnosis, treatment and management if needed, the effect of scoliosis on the spine can be lessened or prevented from worsening or progressing. There is no cure for scoliosis, but the symptoms can be reduced. The Pediatric Spine and Scoliosis Team at Pediatric Orthopaedic Associates are ready to evaluate your child and address any questions you may have.

Scoliosis Questions Answered

  • Do childhood sports injuries cause scoliosis?   No they do not. Scoliosis does not come from any type of sports involvement.
  • Do carrying heavy backpacks lead to scoliosis?   No. While heavy backpacks may lead to back, shoulder or neck pain they do no lead to scoliosis. Prolonged wearing of a heavy bag or pack may not be good for posture or for overall spine health but this has not been clinically shown to cause scoliosis.
  • Will my child’s poor posture bring on scoliosis?   No. The way your child sits or stands does not affect their chance of developing scoliosis. If your child is not able to stand upright or has a noticeable lean however, having their spine evaluated is recommended.
  • Will my child become deformed from scoliosis?   While some case may result in a deformity, the vast majority does not. For many children and adolescents, the progression of scoliosis is usually very slow or may not progress at all and may not require anything more than routine rechecks.
  • I have scoliosis. Will my child get it to?   Scoliosis does run in families. Your child may have a higher chance of developing scoliosis if you have it, so while you cannot prevent it, you can watch for signs while they are young and during periods of growth spurts.
  • Will braces reverse scoliosis?   While use of a scoliosis brace will not reverse spinal curvature it may stop or slow the progression of spinal curves or rotation.
  • Will the spine curves straighten out on their own?   Idiopathic scoliosis curves do not straighten out on their own. Many children do not need any specific treatment for small curves or rotation of their spine. Treatment to prevent or lessen larger curvatures may be part of a treatment plan, but these curves are not expected to straighten out either. 
  • Where can I go to have my child evaluated for scoliosis?   Make an appointment with the Pediatric Spine and Scoliosis Team at Pediatric Orthopaedic Associates where your questions and concerns regarding your child can be adequately addressed.

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