During your child's routine well visit with his or her doctor, the doctor might notice some curvature in the child's back. If this happens, the doctor may suspect scoliosis and may send you and your child to see an orthopedic doctor. Here are three things you should understand about scoliosis and orthopedics.
How Is It Diagnosed?
Doctors often check children for scoliosis by looking at the way they stand and bend over from the back side. If the doctor sees any abnormalities, he or she will send the child in for x-rays and to an orthopedic specialist. Orthopedic doctors specialize in all types of conditions and problems with the bones, joints, and nerves.
Getting x-rays is generally the first step in diagnosing this condition. X-rays of the back will reveal whether the condition is present or not, and the x-rays will help the doctor know how to treat the condition.
What Is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is curvature of the spine. If you could look at the x-rays, you would see that the spine is not straight if a person has this condition. The spine is curved, and this generally makes a person look uneven when they are standing. According to WebMD, scoliosis:
- Affects more girls than boys
- Is common for kids ages 10 through 16
- In most kids is very minor, and major problems occur only with 0.1% of kids
When a doctor views the child's back and x-rays, he or she will determine if it needs to be treated, or if not. This decision is primarily made on the amount of curvature is present. The curvature is often referred to in terms of percentages.
If the curvature is less than 20%, it is likely that the child will not need any treatment for the condition. For curvature that is over 40%, surgical treatment is often needed. When no treatment is needed for a child, the child will most likely need to be rechecked every six months or so simply to make sure the condition is not changing or worsening.
What are the Treatment Options?
According to Medical News Today, the majority of children diagnosed with scoliosis do not receive any type of treatment. Chance are, if you have never noticed any unevenness with your child's posture, he or she probably has a very minor case and will simply need to be monitored for a few years.
If the case is severe though, there are several ways doctors can treat the problem. The Scoliosis Research Society reports that braces are used for treatment in some cases. A brace is not necessarily used to fix the problem, but it can help stop the problem from worsening. A brace is often suggested if a child:
- Still has a lot of growing to do – if the child is still young and has not gone through all growth spurts, a brace can help prevent the curvature from getting worse.
- Has major curvature – the brace will help the child stand straighter.
Braces generally wrap around the child's stomach and back, and they may have to wear their braces until they have completely stopped growing.
The other way this is treated is through surgery, but surgery is only needed when curvature is extreme. The actual tasks completed during surgery will depend on the unique condition of the child's spine.
If left untreated, scoliosis can lead to other medical problems, including back and hip pain. You should follow through with any recommended treatment if your child is diagnosed with this.
When your child's doctor mentions the word scoliosis, you may instantly be worried, and this is normal. You should realize that the majority of cases are minor, and this might be something your child outgrows. Taking the right steps to have it checked is important, and you can do this by going to an orthopedic doctor or other Town Center Orthopaedic Associates.