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Scoliosis is treatable



Curvature of the spine needs to be caught early

scoliosis, adolescents, teens, treatable

About three million Americans are challenged by scoliosis each year, a spinal condition that most commonly occurs in adolescents and teens. How to discern and treat its symptoms?

Scoliosis occurs when the vertebrae in your back form a curved line or twist like a corkscrew instead of remaining straight. It can cause problems for the rest of a child's life if not detected early enough.

Megan Glosson says that the severity of scoliosis can vary from a slight abnormality to a complete disfiguration that affects how a person walks and breathes. Small curves in the spine aren't typically cause for serious concern, but when these curves are left untreated they can often worsen over time and negatively impact your child or teen's health.

Much to the dismay of parents, doctors still do not know the exact causes of scoliosis. Some children are born with curvatures in their vertebrae, whereas other times scoliosis develops after a growth spurt. The condition is most often detected in children between the ages of 10 and 15. Doctors believe that there is a genetic link to scoliosis, meaning that it often runs in families. Furthermore, girls develop scoliosis more often than boys, though doctors are not sure why.

Although parents worry that heavy backpacks and poor posture may cause scoliosis, doctors say that these issues do not cause curvatures in vertebrae.

You can check your child for scoliosis by doing a simple test.

  • Have them stand up straight
  • Let them bend down at the waist
  • Bring their forehead to their belly button
  • Ask them to roll the back forward while bending

If scoliosis is occurring, you and the doctor will notice that one side of your child's ribs sit higher than the other. When scoliosis is suspected, a child's pediatrician or family doctor will order an X-ray to measure the curvature of the spine.

If a child's scoliosis is mild, often times doctors will just monitor it or prescribe physical therapy. If it appears that scoliosis may cause more serious health problems, doctors often issue a back brace to prevent further curvature and to hopefully correct the alignment of the vertebrae. In some cases, surgery may be required.

Early intervention can help avoid further damage during additional growth spurts. Luckily, only about 10 percent of children with scoliosis require surgery, and just 30 percent even need a corrective back brace.




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