Scoliosis is a condition characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine in the appearance of an “S” or “C”. It can occur at any age and is seen more frequently in girls than boys. Some of the types of scoliosis include:
- Idiopathic scoliosis: Most common type that develops between 10 to 15 years of age, where the cause is uncertain
- Congenital scoliosis: Rare form present at birth as a result of developmental problems
- Neuromuscular scoliosis: Associated with muscular and nervous abnormalities such as spina bifida, muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy
Scoliosis does not cause any pain, but affects your child’s overall appearance. The main symptoms of scoliosis include uneven shoulders and waist, leg length discrepancy, constant leaning to one side, prominent shoulder blades and elevated hips.
To diagnose scoliosis, the doctor reviews your child’s medical history and performs a thorough physical examination, which includes the Adam’s forward bend test to check for deformity. The diagnosis is then confirmed by measuring the curve with the help of an X-ray of the spine.
The treatment of scoliosis is important because if left untreated, the curves may cause long term problems such as decrease in lung capacity, leading to restrictive lung disease. The kind of treatment needed depends on the degree of the scoliotic curve, your child’s age and the time remaining for your child to reach skeletal maturity. Treatment may include:
- Nonsurgical treatment
- Observation: If there is only a mild curve or if your child is nearing skeletal maturity, regular check-ups every 3-6 months are recommended.
- Bracing: Bracing is done to prevent the progression of scoliotic curves. It is effective in growing children with a spinal curvature between 25° and 45°.
- Surgical Treatment
- Surgical treatment is recommended in case of curves greater than 45° and in those who have reached skeletal maturity with curves that exceed 50° to 55°.