Depending on your age, you may recall having to strip to your underwear in gym class, line up, and slowly bend at the waist and back up again, so your school nurse could do a scoliosis check. Many school districts no longer perform this simple test during early adolescence. But scoliosis hasn't gone anywhere, and with children carrying even larger, heavier backpacks nowadays, it's more important than ever for children to be checked. Here is what parents need to know about this spinal condition.
What Is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine that goes sideways rather than a curvature that goes outward, such as a humpback. It most commonly occurs in prepubescent children as they begin their growth spurt entering into adolescence.
What Causes Scoliosis?
There is no known specific cause of scoliosis in most cases; it is simply a matter of abnormal growth. Sometimes, the condition seems to be hereditary. There may have been a minor deformity at birth that becomes more pronounced as the child grows. An injury may also be the cause. However, children with muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy may be more prone to the condition as their weakened muscles more easily allow the spine to become out of alignment. In rare cases, a tumor may be the cause of the misalignment.
How Is Scoliosis Diagnosed?
In addition to the aforementioned simple visual check as to whether the spine appears straight or curved, one shoulder may appear lower than the other, a shoulder blade may appear more prominently, and the hip and waist may seem higher on one side. Posture may be poor. Girls are much more likely than boys to develop scoliosis. An x-ray can confirm the visual diagnosis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Scoliosis?
In addition to the physical changes, the child may suffer from back pain. A severe curvature can cause difficulty breathing and damage to the lungs and heart. This is because the curvature of the spine causes the rib cage to shift as well, which crowds the cavity where the lungs and heart reside. This makes it harder to breathe and for the heart to pump.
How Is Scoliosis Treated?
Often times, the spine will re-align itself as the growth spurt continues, but the condition must be closely monitored. It's extremely important intervention is taken before the spine solidifies with a curvature. Some curves are more likely to worsen. An s-shaped curve that runs the length of the spine as opposed to a c-shaped curved isn't likely to repair itself. A curvature in the center of the spine will likely get worse. Curvatures in girls are also less likely to correct themselves.
There is no cure for scoliosis, but the damage can be contained by wearing a brace. This is worn until the bones have stopped growing, which can be two or more years. In severe cases, surgery may be performed. Contact a doctor, like C D Denison, for more treatment advice.
During my first pregnancy, I spent a lot of time pushing pillows behind my back trying to find comfort. As the size of the baby grew, so did my discomfort. By the time she was born, I was more than ready to give birth. When I found out I was pregnant again, I was determined that I would not suffer through the same discomforts. I started researching ways to ease the symptoms of pregnancy, including back pain. I created this blog to help other expectant moms find remedies to deal with those symptoms that can be emotionally and physically draining.