Thursday, July 02, 2015

Scoliosis usually spotted in school age kids

Scoliosis is a disorder in which a normally straight spine curves to one side.

It affects 2-3% of the population (National Scoliosis Foundation). This is 6-9 million people.

It  is found in all ages, but mostly develops in kids from 10 to 15 and is most common in girls.

Parents most often notice it and it can be detected in screenings at school. Eighty to 85% of cases have no known cause, although it does seem to run in families.

It also apparently cannot be prevented, no matter how much you emphasize good posture. So don't feel guilty, parents.

Scoliosis can sometimes seem like it appeared overnight. The curve of the spine may be waiting for a growth spurt to become evident. One should may seem higher than the other. On hip may be higher.The head may seem off-center. When the child bends forward, one side of the back may seem higher than the other.

According to Fabien Bitan, MD, an spinal surgeon at the Atlantic Spine Center, the treatment starts with observation and repeated examination (curve under 25 degrees). Maybe every six months.

Bracing may be recommended to keep the curve from getting worse. Some braces are worn all the time, some at night. They don't reverse the curve but can keep it from getting worse. If the curve stays below 40 degrees until the child stops growing, it will slow, gaining maybe one degree a year.

Surgery is only recommended when the curve is more than 40-50 degrees, bracing has not halted it, and the patient is still growing.

Alternative treatments such as physical therapy, electrical stimulation, or chiropractic don't work.

If someone says your child has this, learn about it, involve the child, and provide a lot of encouragement.

Usually it will not interfere with normal childhood.

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