Scoliosis refers to the curvature or rotations of the spine. If caught early on, scoliosis will most likely not have much of an impact on a child’s life. However, if it’s left untreated, it can lead to breathing or heart problems, chronic back pain, or disability.
About 3 out of every 100 people in the U.S. have some form of scoliosis, yet not all states are required to perform yearly scoliosis screenings.
Since it is a progressive disorder, meaning it can develop and get worse as children get older, it’s important to catch the condition early on. Scoliosis most often affects children in their preteen and teen years, when they do most of their growing.
If it’s detected early on, scoliosis can be treated with posture control or physical therapy and prevent progression of the condition. In some cases when scoliosis has progressed, a brace may have to be worn, and in severe cases surgery is required.
Even though regular screenings are highly effective in prevention, the requirements for screening vary from state to state, with some not even done on a yearly basis.
Here’s what you can do to protect your child:
- Look out for the signs: Some of the signs of scoliosis include if one shoulder is higher than the other, if one side of the hip sticks out more than the other, or if the ribs are more visible on one side.
- Perform the Adams Forward Bend test: This is the test used in most schools and doctor’s offices to screen for scoliosis, and you can easily do it at home. You can learn more about it here.
- Request yearly screenings: Find out if your child’s school offers yearly screenings. If they don’t, request one from your pediatrician.
- Pay attention to your family history: Although the cause of scoliosis is not clear, it can run in families. So if a parent or sibling has scoliosis, your child may be more susceptible.
By paying attention early on, you can prevent your child from having a more serious condition!