Scoliosis in Children: What You Need To Know

Updated: Feb 18


Most people think of scoliosis as an adult condition, but it can affect children also. More commonly scoliosis begins to develop in children, particularly in adolescents.


In fact, scoliosis is one of the most common pediatric health concerns.

It occurs when the spine develops a side to side curvature, or "tilt".

This can cause pain, muscle tightness, and occasionally difficulty breathing.


For those who are currently experiencing symptoms of scoliosis or have been diagnosed with it already, it is important to know that treatment options exist that could help them to live as normal as possible. In some cases, this condition may require surgical correction to prevent further complications from occurring.


What is Scoliosis


Scoliosis is a condition in which the bones of the spine twist or rotate, causing the spine to resemble the letter "C" or "S" rather than a straight line down the centre of the back.

Curves in the upper and middle back are the most typical locations for scoliosis (thoracic spine).



Spine scoliosis back


A scoliosis curve may quickly deteriorate during a growth spurt in a young child or teenager who is still growing, so it is extremely important to have regular screening examinations and early intervention.


Scoliosis most often develops in children and adolescents compared to adults. Both boys and girls are susceptible, although it is more prevalent in females comnpared to males with a ratio of 3:1. Females are also more likely to acquire bigger curves that require medical attention.


Other kinds of scoliosis that are less prevalent include:


Congenital scoliosis: Spinal problems may arise even before a baby is born. The spinal bones of babies with congenital scoliosis may not be completely developed or may be fused together.


Neuromuscular scoliosis: Scoliosis may be caused by medical diseases that affect the nerves and muscles, such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy. The muscles that support the spine might become imbalanced and weak as a result of these neuromuscular disorders.


Genetics seems to have a role in the development of scoliosis in certain instances, according to research. A family history of scoliosis is seen in around 30% of individuals with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.


Signs & Symptoms of scoliosis


Symptoms of scoliosis can include pain, back aches, muscle tightness and/or spasm, and difficulty breathing.


For those who are currently experiencing symptoms of scoliosis or have been diagnosed with it already, it is important to know that treatment options exist that could help them to live as normal as possible.


The majority of instances of idiopathic scoliosis develop between the ages of 10 and adulthood. Scoliosis can be painful, and tiny curves go undetected by children and their parents due to lack of screening services in schools now.


The most common signs of scoliosis are un-even shoulders heights, which may be noticeable when clothes are not fitting quite right.


Trained and experienced chiropractors regularly screen for scoliosis in all appointments, which is important for all ages.


Treatment options for children with scoliosis


Treatment options for children with scoliosis can include chiropractic care, bracing, physical therapy, prescribed exercises and in some severe cases surgery. For those who are currently experiencing symptoms of scoliosis or have been diagnosed with it already, it is important to know that treatment options exist that could help them to live and function without pain.


Prevention methods for children can include regularly scheduled comprehensive health examinations and monitoring for the symptoms of scoliosis. Chiropractic care and postural alignment can also assist in monitoring early signs of scoliosis.


When arranging your child's treatment/therapy, your chiropractor will take into account the following factors:

  • The curve's exact position

  • The degree of the curve

  • The age of the child

  • The number of years an adolescent has left to develop – after an adolescent has reached full maturity, it is uncommon for a curve to quickly deteriorate.

Your doctor will be able to calculate how probable it is that your child's curve will deteriorate based on these criteria, and will be able to recommend the appropriate treatment choice based on this information.


Bracing


Your doctor may consider bracing if your child's spinal curve is between 20 and 45 degrees and he or she is still developing. Although bracing will not correct an existing curvature, it may keep it from worsening to the point where surgery is required.


Bracing considerably reduced the frequency of curves that advanced to the point of requiring surgery in a recent research study of scoliosis patients with curves at a high risk of deteriorating.


Scoliosis braces come in a variety of styles. The majority of them are underarm braces that are custom-made to properly suit your child's physique. Your doctor will assess which kind is ideal for your child's requirements and how long the brace should be worn each day


xray radiograph spine

Chiropractic


Chiropractic care includes regularly scheduled comprehensive health examinations and watching out for the symptoms of scoliosis. Chiropractors can assess the severity of the scoliosis using orthopedic tests and radiographs.


Chiropractors can refer for and assess radiographs to measure the degree of the curve. If your child's spinal curve is less than 20 degrees or he or she is almost fully developed, chiropractic care can help improve function and mobility. Until your child is completely developed, your doctor will review your child every 6 to 12 months and arrange follow-up X-rays.


Chiropractic treatment aims to improve function and mobility through:

  • Spinal manipulation

  • Mobilizations

  • Soft tissue techniques

  • Rehabilitation exercises

  • Stretching program


For more information on how chiropractic care can help those suffering from scoliosis, please call us to book in a consultation for your child at The Myéline Clinic.



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