One thing from our childhoods that will be familiar to everyone is being checked for scoliosis. Scoliosis is a condition characterized by our spine curving abnormally to the side. It impacts people of every age and commonly appears during our school-age years. When addressed early, it’s easy to treat and correct, but it can become more difficult as time goes on. Advanced Pediatrics of Rockland provides options for diagnosing and treating childhood scoliosis and its symptoms.
Understanding The Risks Of Childhood Scoliosis
Our spines have a natural curve, creating a gentle S-shape when viewed in profile. However, when viewed straight on, it should run straight from the pelvic bone to the base of our skull. Scoliosis causes our spine to develop an abnormal sideways curve, creating problems for our lasting spinal health. This abnormal curvature can develop in our lower (lumbar) spine, thoracic (upper), and thoracolumbar (middle) regions of our spine. The underlying cause of scoliosis is still being studied, though some known factors are neuromuscular conditions, congenital abnormalities, and a genetic predisposition to the condition. Poor posture and carrying heavy backpacks do not play a role in developing this condition. The belief that they are is a persistent urban myth.
Some of the most common indications of scoliosis include:
- Uneven shoulder or hip height
- Asymmetrical waistline
- One-Sided rib prominence
- Abnormal spine curvature when bending forward
- Discomfort or pain in the back
- Restricted mobility
- Breathing difficulties
It’s essential to take note of these symptoms in yourself or your children. If you’re an educator, you should watch for these signs in your students.
Diagnosis of scoliosis is typically part of the physical exams we get during childhood. This includes our annual physicals and scoliosis checks as part of our school experience. When scoliosis is suspected, additional tests are likely to be performed. These often include CT scans, X-rays, or an MRI. The measurement for determining the severity of any present scoliosis is the Cobb angle. This measurement determines how far out of alignment your spine is from being a straight line. Further, the advance of the condition will be tracked at regular intervals to determine which approach to treatment is correct.
Some of the options available for treatment include:
- Observation – When the curvature is mild and does not show signs of worsening, scoliosis may be tracked using X-rays and physical exams.
- Bracing – Moderate scoliosis may be treated using special braces that help correct the curvature and prevent it from worsening.
- Physical Therapy – Certain stretches and exercises can improve posture by working the muscles that support the spine while enhancing flexibility.
- Surgery – When the curvature of the spine is advancing quickly, surgical intervention may be necessary. These procedures aim to stabilize the spine while correcting the curvature. Screws, hooks, and metal rods are often used to provide the necessary support.
Contact Advanced Pediatrics Of Rockland To Learn More
If you’ve become concerned that your children may be experiencing symptoms of scoliosis, it’s time to reach out to Advanced Pediatrics of Rockland for support. You can reach us by calling (845) 364-9800. When you call, we’ll set you up with a spinal consultation with one of our team of experts. During your visit, your child’s spinal health will be checked, and a treatment plan will be developed that’s appropriate for their case.