One of the biggest spine-related problems that are found in children is called scoliosis. It is actually a very common problem that is often fixed during the summer days because it is the only when children have enough free time to pay enough attention to it. The recovery process is a bit longer than you would want to, but at least there is one.
Believe it or not, scoliosis is a deformity that can be found in one in 40 people which is a pretty big number. More than seven million people or rather, children have been diagnosed with this deformity.
A child can be diagnosed with such a condition when the spine has reached an abnormal curvature of over 10 degrees which is usually to sides (left or right). Interestingly, most doctors cannot find the cause of almost eighty percent of their patients. Sadly, in one year about one or two percent of those seven million have to settle to use a brace for the spine while five percent of the total number have to do a surgery to fix their problems.
If you are wondering whether you or your children are suffering from such a condition, it is important to understand the deformity, what are the signs and symptoms and how to fix it. This is why we have made a quick guide to teach you everything you need to know.
What are the symptoms?
Unfortunately, it is not that easy to make a diagnosis of scoliosis when it is in its early stages. You or your kid might already be suffering from such a problem, but for it to be noticeable to your doctor it has to have a curvature of at least 10 degrees which means that it has to reach a certain stage. This is the reason why a lot of people who have an even bigger curvature do not ever notice that they are suffering from such a condition.
If you are afraid that your children might have scoliosis, you should know that people show symptoms and signs between the age of 10 and 15, when the body is in its growing period.
We recommend that you do weekly or monthly checks since the body have very fast growth during these years and the curvature develops slowly. If you ever notice uneven shoulders or that the ribcage is not symmetrical or if your child constantly leans to one side rather than balanced you should take him to a doctor for a professional opinion.
Fortunately, if you notice that the curvature has slowed down and that it hasn’t reached anything over 40 degrees, there is a big chance that the progression has completely stopped. The progression of scoliosis stops because it cannot keep on developing after the maturity of the skeleton has been reached.
How is it treated?
This might sound scary to you, but the treatment of this deformity is just monitoring during its early stages. This is because if the progress is slow enough, there is a good chance that it won’t cause any damage to the body at all. If the curvature does not exceed the 35 or 40-degree range or there hasn’t been any progression in the last five or six months, there isn’t much you can do but monitor.
This does not mean that there aren’t any other ways of treatment, it means that the problem can be easily managed and that there is no need for panic. If the development has completely stopped, with proper physical examinations and workouts you can return the spine its original and natural state in just a couple of months.
Braces can help
We already said that it is pretty hard to spot scoliosis as it can be quite unnoticeable during its early stages, but if you do manage to spot it there are some treatments you could consider to slow down the development speed. To ensure that your children are not suffering from such a condition, you should take them to a pediatric orthopedic at least every six months during the ages 10 to 15. With regular professional checks, the chance to spot if there have been any changes that can hint to scoliosis is much bigger.
If you do manage to find out if your children have scoliosis and if their curvature has reached more than 25 degrees, you can get them a brace. According to recent studies, braces are the best option for scoliosis if you want to avoid settling down to surgery. The sooner you get them one, the better the results. You also have the option of either a hard brace or a rigid brace. Consult with your kid’s pediatrician to find out which type should he/she wear. You should definitely learn more about the types of braces that are available.
Surgery is for only the most extreme cases
If you find out that your child does have scoliosis, we recommend that you keep it together and don’t panic as the treatment process can be completely painless and you will likely avoid surgery. While, people do have to settle for surgery in the end, but this is only in the most extreme cases where the spine has reached a curvature of over 45 degrees.
Even if your child does have to go through the surgery, thanks to modern medicine, it is completely safe and the recovery period lasts somewhere around six months. After the new bone has been created that will prevent the spine to continue curving, the curvature will be removed and the spine will return in its natural position.
There is no true way to prevent scoliosis
While you may take precautions to discover scoliosis in its early development stages so you can treat it as early as possible, there isn’t really a way to prevent from it ever happening. It is never your fault as a parent or your children’s fault because it can be completely genetic or from regular daily tasks. Although, we recommend that you avoid giving your children heavy backpacks and make sure that you always notify them about their posture.