Monday, May 21, 2007

What is Scoliosis?

How many Judy Blume freaks are out there? If you were like me, you couldn't get enough of her books when you were a kid. Anyone remember the book, Deenie? This book was about a young girl diagnosed with scoliosis and the trials and tribulations she went through wearing her brace. This book was an eye-opener for me because I had been through the screenings at school and had been warned about this condition, but through Deenie's eyes, got to know how it felt to have scoliosis.

What exactly is scoliosis? Simply put, it's a curvature of the spine. While everyone’s spine is slightly curved, scoliosis patients have more obvious bends to the side; not in or out like with osteoporosis. While mild cases of this disease may go undetected and without symptoms, severe cases can cause significant physical problems. Scoliosis can occur at any age in childhood, so it’s important that your child gets regular screenings, even if they haven’t had a problem before.
While the root cause of most scoliosis cases isn’t known, we do know many of the risk factors for curves becoming more severe.

Some risk factors include:

  • Growth. Curves in children’s spines almost always worsen during a growth spot. Pay careful attention to your child’s spine when they’re growing the most.
  • Age. If your child was very young when the curve was first discovered, they are more likely to have a severe problem because their spine has more growing to do. Babies who are born with scoliosis are especially at risk.
  • Placement of curve. Curves in the upper portion of the spine are more likely to become problematic and should be monitored more closely.
  • Angle of curve. If a curve is more dramatic to begin with, it is also more likely to increase in severity.

The most important part of treating scoliosis is early detection. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you find the problem as soon as possible.
  • School screenings. Find out if your child’s school does regular screenings. If not, talk to school administrators. Encourage them to start regular screening programs.
  • Look for the signs. If no one else is checking your child for symptoms (or even if they are) look for signs that your child may have a problem. These include: uneven or elevated hips, prominent shoulder blades, uneven shoulders, and leaning to one side. You child’s stance and body should be fairly symmetrical.
  • Yearly physical. Talk you your child’s doctor about checking for indications of spinal curves. This is particularly important if you’ve noticed signs on your own.

Many cases of scoliosis simply require monitoring to see if the curving gets worse. If it doesn’t, then no treatment is usually pursued. If your doctor observes an increase in the problem, they may give your child a back brace. This will help keep the curve from progressing, but shouldn’t interfere too much in your child’s life.

5 comments:

jessica said...

Hello

I have had scoliosis for many years. In fact it started when I was nine years old. My parents never liked the idea of surgery, so we were introduced to this new Spincor Brace, it changed my life. if you want more info on it go to http://www.scoliosisspecialist.com . well I really enjoyed reading your blog. thank you.

Jessica

Kayla said...

Hi! My name is Kayla Kelly and I have been suffering from scoliosis for 4 years.I think your blog is very inspiring and optimistic for young female scoliosis patients. I was wondering if you would like to fill out my survey on scoliosis at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=p5eiM0uMnRUmn_2bslidF9jQ_3d_3d. Please tell everyone that you know that is suffeing from scoliosis about my survey thankyou!

Rachel said...

Hi
I wore a brace in the beginning of my freshman year of high school to the end of my sophomore year. I recently got out of my brace and decided to start a blog site for people (especially kids) who would like to talk about how to deal with wearing a brace. If anyone is interested visit www.talkscoliosis.com. Spread the word to anyone who needs support!

Mary-Jane said...

My daughter was diagnosed with scoliosis and the doctors had nothing to recommend. They said to "wait and see". I went online and found tons of information, including info about the Schroth method. She started doing the exercises and after a few months, the curve improved. The doctors couldn't explain it.

I think you should look into it. The clinics tend to be really expensive, but you can look into the book called "The Schroth Scoliosis Three-Dimensional Treatment", although it is rather technical and hard to read. There's also a site called Spine Harmony that has Schroth exercise videos... They have some exercises on youtube.

Anonymous said...

Check out www.RhinoSpineCenter.com

She is one of only 12 doctors in the whole world who is a CLEAR certified Scoliosis Chiropractic practitioner.
Her work is incredible and more affordable and effective than surgery and/or a brace.