Considered an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine, scoliosis begins as a postural distortion. If scoliosis is left untreated it could become a permanent deformity.
There are three causes of scoliosis:
- congenital (genetic predisposition)
- habitual (behavioral routines)
- idiopathic (unknown cause)
Are There Obvious Clues?
A parent may notice that their child has a high shoulder or low hip that makes clothing fit poorly. Uneven shoe wear also may provide a clue. Children with scoliosis also may experience back and leg pains but these are usually dismissed as “growing pains.”
Wait and See?
Scoliosis may often worsen if left to just “run its course.” In severe cases a child may need to wear an unsightly or cumbersome brace or have surgery that attaches steel rods, forcing the spine to straighten.
Frequently Asked Questions
Isn’t a certain amount of sideways curvature considered normal?
No, any type of sideways curvature is abnormal. From the back, the spine should appear straight. When a person has scoliosis, there are typically two curves: a primary curve in one direction and a compensatory curve in the other direction.
When does scoliosis require care?
There is some disagreement among experts on when scoliosis needs to be addressed. The majority of surgeons recommend surgery only when the spinal curvature is at or beyond 40 degrees. For small curves (those between 10-25 degrees) care is not considered to be necessary.
Do heavy backpacks cause scoliosis?
Not necessarily; however, this is a growing concern. It’s important to make sure that your child uses both shoulder straps on their backpack so the weight is evenly distributed. It’s also a good idea to weigh their backpack, ensuring it doesn’t exceed 10% -15% of their body weight.