Do You Have Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition that causes the spine to curve to one side. It can affect any part of the spine, but the most common areas are the chest (thoracic scoliosis) and the lower section of the back (lumbar scoliosis).

In most cases, the reasons for the change in shape, are not known, but in other cases, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida and are factors in the development of scoliosis.

Most children with scoliosis do not require treatment since the curve is corrected when the child grows. However, depending on the degree of curvature and age of the child, a combination of braces and physical therapy it is often recommended.

A very small number of patients with scoliosis may require surgery. Complications of scoliosis include chronic pain, respiratory failure and decreased exercise capacity.

signs and symptoms of scoliosis in children

  • The head is slightly off center
  • The ribcage is not symmetrical – the nerves can be at different heights
  • One hip is more prominent than the other
  • Clothes do not hang properly
  • One shoulder, or shoulder blade, is higher than the other
  • The individual may lean to one side
  • legs of unequal length

signs and symptoms of scoliosis in infants

  • A bulge on one side of the chest
  • The baby could consistently lie lopsided
  • In more severe cases, heart and lungs can not function properly, and the patient may experience shortness of breath and chest pain

Some types of scoliosis can cause back pain, but, for most individuals, scoliosis is not overtly painful.

Risk factors for scoliosis

Risk factors for scoliosis include:

  • Age -. Signs and symptoms of scoliosis often begin in a stage of growth that occurs just before puberty
  • Gender – women have a higher risk
  • .

  • Genetics – people with scoliosis are more likely to have close relatives with the same condition as people without scoliosis
  • .

The causes of scoliosis

Below are some of the possible causes of scoliosis:

  • neuromuscular conditions – this affects the nerves and muscles and include cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy
  • .

  • Congenital scoliosis (present at birth) – this is rare and occurs because the bones of the spine develop abnormally when the fetus was growing inside the mother
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  • – Genes. At least one gene is believed to be involved in scoliosis
  • Leg length – if one leg is longer than the other, the individual may develop scoliosis
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  • – Other causes. Poor posture, carrying backpacks or wallets, and some injuries

Diagnosis of scoliosis

Usually, the doctor will perform a physical examination of the spine, ribs, hips and shoulders. The doctor can, with the help of a tool called an inclinometer (Scoliometer), measuring the degree of scoliosis. If necessary, the patient will then be referred to an orthopedic specialist who deals with the skeletal system and associated muscles, joints and ligaments.

  • – The neuroimaging. Pediatrician or orthopedic surgeon will order an X-ray to assess scoliosis and determining the shape, direction, location and angle of the curve
  • If more symptoms such as back pain, or if symptoms are severe, an MRI or CT scan may be ordered.

Treatments for scoliosis

Most children with scoliosis have soft curves and do not need treatment. In such cases, the doctor will recommend regular monitoring every 4 to 6 months to control the curve of the spine in clinical and periodically with X-rays.

The following factors will be considered by the physician when deciding on treatment:

  • Gender – Women are more likely than men to have scoliosis that gradually worsens
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  • severity of the curve – the higher the curve, the greater the risk that the deterioration over time. S-shaped curves, also called “double curves,” tend to worsen over time. C-shaped curves are less likely to worsen.
  • curve position – if a curve is in the central part of the spine, is more likely to worsen compared with the curves on the bottom or top
  • .

  • bone maturity – the risk of worsening of the curve is much lower if the patient’s bones have stopped growing. The supports are more effective, while bones are still growing.


Casting instead of bracing is sometimes used for infantile scoliosis to help the baby’s spine to return to its normal position as it grows. This can be done with a plaster of Paris.

The cast is attached to the outside of the patient’s body and will be worn at all times. Because the baby is growing rapidly, the cast is changed regularly.


If the patient has moderate scoliosis and bones are still growing, your doctor may recommend a brace. This will prevent further curvature, but will not cure or reverse it. The supports are generally used all the time, even at night. The more hours per day the patient wears the brace, the more effective it tends to be.

corset not normally restricts what the child can do. If the child wants to participate in physical activity, the keys can be removed (see your doctor).

When the bones stop growing, braces are no longer used. There are two types of devices:

  • thoracolumbosacral orthotics (TLSO) – TLSO is made of plastic and designed to fit perfectly around the curves of the body. It is generally not visible under clothing.
  • Milwaukee corset – this is a full orthopedic apparatus torso and has a neck ring with remains of the chin and the back of the head. This type of device is used only when the TLSO is not possible or is not effective.

One study found that when used ferrules 10 to 15 years of age with idiopathic scoliosis, the risk is reduced condition worsens or need surgery.

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