Quite simply scoliosis is any abnormal, sideways curvature of the spine. It is a condition, and not a disease. June is National Scoliosis Awareness Month. Scoliosis is not associated with back pain. Any type of physical activity, sport, or lifting heavy objects is not a cause either. There are signs and symptoms to look for in a child’s posture. There’s more than one type of scoliosis, but one is more common than the others. Both boys and girls are prone to having a curved spine, though one gender is more at risk. Here are five lesser-known facts or myths about scoliosis you need to know.
Types of Scoliosis
Congenital scoliosis – Is present at birth due to a bone abnormality.
Neuromuscular scoliosis – It’s associated with spina bifida or cerebral palsy or in various conditions that are accompanied by, or from, paralysis.
Degenerative scoliosis – A result from an injury or illness, bone collapse, previous major back surgery, or thinning of the bones from osteoporosis. It usually occurs later in life.
Idiopathic scoliosis – This is the most common type of scoliosis. There is no known or specific cause of this condition. One strong theory with enough evidence tends to support idiopathic scoliosis is inherited.
There are some signs to look out for with children and teens. A normal spine is vertical and completely straight. Scoliosis will show up as a curved spine, uneven shoulders or one shoulder blade protruding, unbalanced waistline, and one hip being higher than the other. If not treated, the curved spine may twist or rotate to the other side, causing the ribs to stick out. Severe scoliosis may cause difficulty in breathing.
Age – Occurs during the growth spurt right before puberty within ages from 9 to 15 years.
Gender – Both boys and girls can develop mild scoliosis. Girls have a tendency to develop a higher risk of the spine curving, while getting worse and needing eventual treatment.
Family History – Genetics may be a factor, though many children with scoliosis have no family history of this spinal condition.
Children & Teens
Scoliosis tends to affect those ages 10 to 18 years old. School screenings and regular doctor’s visits can detect this condition within this age group. However, it usually does not progress into adulthood.
There are two types of treatment for scoliosis: braces and surgery. Bracing is the most common form of treatment that effectively halts the spine from curving. Surgery uses a procedure called spinal fusion if the spine curves over 40 to 50 degrees.