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How to tell if your Child has Scoliosis


Scoliosis is defined a lateral or sideways curve of the spine, and it comes from a Greek word meaning crooked. About 3 out of every 100 people have some form of scoliosis, but for most of them it is never a problem.

Congenital Scoliosis is caused when there are problems with the formation of the vertebrae during development in the womb.

Idiopathic Scoliosis is more common which appears in a previously straight spine and its cause is generally unknown, hence the term idiopathic.

Neuromuscular Scoliosis can be caused by a number of other problems, such as poor muscle control or muscle weakness. It is also possible for diseases such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida or polio to cause Scoliosis due to paralysis.

The most common type is idiopathic scoliosis which is commonly found in adolescents. It occurs equally among both genders, the primary age for onset being 10- 15 years old. However females are eight times more likely to progress to a curvature that requires treatment. It is possible that some may be more prone to curving of the spine and the curves tend to generally worsen during growth spurts. As untrained observers would find it difficult to recognize the general symptoms, routine scoliosis screening is now done in many schools. As a result of this, and more available information through websites and social networks, many cases which would have gone undetected are now being caught at an earlier stage.

This disease will have obvious symptoms, such as back pain, tiredness in the spine and, in severe cases, possible breathing problems. Tell tale signs are when one shoulder appears to be higher than the other, or the pelvis appears to be tilted. Recommended treatments will again depend on the severity of the disease. Mild idiopathic scoliosis may require no treatment at all, with routine checks being made every six months or so, whereas more severe cases may require a brace, the type depending on several factors. Extreme curves of more than 40 degrees would usually require surgery, involving correcting the curve, although not all the way, and fusing the bones together, holding them in place with metal rods.

So to sum up, detection at the early stages is vital for effective treatment, and as it is rarely painful in the early years, parents should watch for the following warning signs when their child is about 8 years of age:

Uneven shoulders

Prominent shoulder blade or shoulder blades

Uneven waist

Elevated hips

Leaning to one side

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