June is the National Scoliosis Awareness Month in the United States. This month’s effort is to raise awareness of scoliosis and its effects on an estimated 6,000,000 people in the United States alone. Scoliosis is a condition that can affect anyone from the rich to the poor, of any gender or race. Usually first seen in adolescents from 10 to 15 years old, scoliosis is curvature in the spine that causes it to bend abnormally. About 20% of the time scoliosis is caused by a separate condition like cerebral palsy or spina bifida, but in a majority of cases there is no associated cause.  Due to the prevalence of scoliosis being passed down in families, there does appear to be some hereditary factors. Sex also seems to play a roll due to a higher occurrence of scoliosis in girls.

Early Detection Is Essential

One of the reasons that awareness of scoliosis is so important is due to the need to identify scoliosis as early as possible. A child’s bones have not completely hardened, which makes treating scoliosis in children and teens much easier and usually less invasive. This means it is vital for parents to learn to recognize the signs of scoliosis. Your child may notice that they have pain in the lower back or that there spine feels tired after they have been standing or sitting for an extended amount of time. Some kids are amazingly adaptable to chronic issues, offering little or no complaint about minor pain and discomfort they consider normal. They may never tell you about a problem unless you specifically ask. Thankfully there are a few visual clues that you can look for.

Checking Your Kids For Scoliosis

Due to the abnormal curving of the spine seen with scoliosis, there are some signs that a parent may see in their kids.  This does not mean that every case of scoliosis is outwardly apparent, but there are 5 signs you can check your child for at home that may be an indication of the presence of scoliosis. Have your child stand in front of you in position that they find comfortable and look for:

  • Their shoulders that are not even or level
  • A scapula, or shoulder blade, that is sticking out unevenly
  • A shift in their torso to one side
  • Their waist is uneven, with one hip being more prominent
  • Your child’s ribs may seem to have a bump or look uneven

If You Suspect Scoliosis

While scoliosis is serious, there are things that can be done to help straighten the spine. These treatments are most effective when scoliosis is detected early in life and treatment is started as a young child. One of the most common non-surgical treatments for scoliosis is bracing. Bracing has the potential to correct the curvature, or at least delay the necessity for surgical intervention until your child has gotten older. The most important thing to do if you suspect scoliosis in your child is to make an appointment with an orthopedic spine physician. The spine specialists at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute are some of the best in the country. Their cutting edge treatment and education, coupled with their experience treating scoliosis, and other spine abnormalities, make the orthopedic spine physicians at IBJI your best choice for treating scoliosis. Make an appointment today to ensure your child lives as normal and pain free life as possible.

This information is not intended to provide advise or treatment for a specific situation. Consult your physician and medical team for information and treatment plans on your specific condition(s).