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Scoliosis refers to an abnormal curve in the spine that frequently develops during childhood or adolescence. The sideways curvature can affect a person’s appearance and in severe cases, impact lung and heart function. Because the condition can lead to self-consciousness about one’s appearance and create the potential for health concerns, treatment is typically recommended while the patient is still young when possible.

Scoliosis: An Overview

Scoliosis is a spinal deformity that can vary significantly in severity. Mild cases may go completely undetected, while more severe cases may be debilitating. For children and teens that have noticeable scoliosis, there are treatment options to help stop the curvature from worsening and even reversing it in some cases. If you or someone else notices signs that could indicate scoliosis in your child, an appointment with us will help you obtain an early diagnosis and treatment before the curvature becomes more substantial. Some of the signs of scoliosis might include:

  • One shoulder is higher or more prominent than the other
  • The waistline is not even
  • One hip sits higher than the other
  • One side of the ribcage is more prominent when the child bends over
  • The child looks like he is leaning when standing up straight

Doctors may detect scoliosis from what is known as the “Adam’s forward bend test.” When the patient bends over, it is much easier for a physician to tell if the spine is straight or if there is a slight sideways curve. An x-ray may also be ordered to determine the severity of the curve and select treatment options.

Causes of Scoliosis

There are a few causes associated with scoliosis:

  • Neuromuscular conditions like muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy
  • Injuries or infections to the spine that lead to abnormal growth
  • Congenital disabilities that impact the development and growth of the spine

Most cases of scoliosis do not have an identifiable cause, however. It is most commonly diagnosed at the beginning of puberty or during adolescence and occurs among boys and girls at approximately the same rate. While there may be a genetic factor, most children diagnosed with scoliosis do not have a family member with the condition.

Treatment Options for Scoliosis

Mild cases of scoliosis may only require watchful waiting, to ensure the curvature does not worsen. If the curve is moderate or changes over time, a brace may be recommended for a period to prevent further progression. Severe cases of scoliosis, including those that affect heart and lung function, may require surgical correction to straighten the spine and eliminate related complications. Different types of surgery may be recommended, depending on the severity of the curve, the age of the patient and the expectation that the condition will worsen over time.

If you suspect your child has scoliosis, or you have been told by a teacher, coach or another individual that scoliosis is a possibility, early diagnosis is essential for quick and effective treatment. Contact the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio today at 419-222-6622 to schedule your consultation.