Scoliosis is a problem with the curve in the spine . Many people have some curve in their spine. But a few people have spines that make a large curve from side to side in the shape of the letter "S" or the letter "C." If this curve is severe, it can cause pain and make breathing difficult.
The good news is that most cases of scoliosis are mild. If found early, they can usually be prevented from getting worse.
In most cases, the cause of scoliosis is not known. Scoliosis usually starts in the preteen years. Scoliosis that is severe enough to need treatment is most common in girls.
A curve in the spine may get worse as your child grows, so it is important to find any problem early.
Scoliosis most often causes no symptoms until the spinal curve becomes large. You might notice these early signs:
- Your child has one shoulder or hip that looks higher than the other.
- Your child's head does not look centered over the body.
- Your child has one shoulder blade that sticks out more than the other.
- Your child's waistline is flat on one side, or the ribs look higher on one side when your child bends forward at the waist.
The doctor will check to see if your child's back or ribs are even. If the doctor finds that one side is higher than the other, your child may need an X-ray so the spinal curve can be measured.
A curve in the spine may get worse as your child grows. Many experts believe screening your child for scoliosis is important so that any curve in the spine can be found early and watched closely.
Mild cases of scoliosis usually do not need treatment. The doctor will check the curve of your child's spine every 4 to 6 months. If the curve gets worse, your child may need to wear a brace until he or she has finished growing. In severe cases, or if bracing doesn't help, your child may need to have surgery.
Scoliosis and its treatment can be a severe strain on your child. Wearing a brace can feel and look odd. It also limits your child's activity. Your child needs your support and understanding to get through treatments successfully.