The spine’s natural curve allows us to move properly. However, a severe S- or C-shaped curvature of the spine is known as scoliosis. As children grow and develop into their teen years, it is important to monitor their backs to make sure their spine curvature remains normal.
Your child's pediatrician should examine for child scoliosis or teen scoliosis during routine check-ups. Many schools perform scoliosis screenings during the academic year, as well. If your child has a questionable curvature of the spine, a spine specialist may be required for further evaluation.
Child scoliosis and teen scoliosis may be hereditary, but this is not always the case. The most common scoliosis is idiopathic scoliosis, which means the cause of the curvature is unknown. Additionally, teenage girls are more likely to develop scoliosis than teenage boys. Left untreated, scoliosis can worsen and cause other health problems, including improper lung function.
Milder cases of child or teen scoliosis require regular check-ups with a spine specialist to make sure the curve is not worsening.
Patients with more developed curves may need a back brace. Various braces can prevent scoliosis from progressing without making your child or teen uncomfortable. Treating scoliosis with a brace does not necessarily limit sports or other activities. A spine specialist can create a schedule that allows for time without the brace, so children or teenagers can maintain an active lifestyle.
Severe cases of youth scoliosis may require surgery to correct the curve, particularly if your child or teen is still growing. Your spine specialist may also recommend surgery if the curve continues to increase after your child or teen is done growing.
During scoliosis surgery, metal rods, hooks, screws, or wires may be used to straighten the spine and provide support. Most patients are able to walk without a back brace just a few days following surgery. A complete return to activities usually happens within six to nine months.
Each case of youth scoliosis is unique and your spine specialist will work with you to determine the best course of treatment for your child or teen's specific condition and activity level.
Orthopedics is the area of medicine specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of bone, joint, tissue, and nerve disorders, including those in the neck, back, and spine. To contact a spine specialist at Valley Orthopedic Associates call 425-656-5060.
To learn more about scoliosis in children and teens, click here.
To read about scoliosis in adults, click here.
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