Category Archives: Scoliosis in Children
Scoliosis is like any other illness: the sooner you identify it, the better your chances of treating it. Since the spine becomes more rigid as a person gets older, the sooner someone is diagnosed with scoliosis, the sooner they can begin a proper course of treatment that can control — or even reverse — the effects of scoliosis.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), scoliosis affects between 2% and 3% of the American population, or about six to nine million people. It is characterized by an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine and there are many different forms. The various types of scoliosis are classified by cause and age of onset; the speed and mechanism of progression also plays a role in determining the specific type of scoliosis.
Understanding scoliosis begins with identifying its location and the type of spinal curvature.
Knowing this information can help predict what types of scoliosis symptoms may be experienced and how the condition can best be treated.
There are several detailed systems for classifying specific types of scoliosis curves, but some of the most common terms identify curves based on their location within the spine and the direction they bend.
One of the most common questions I get from parents and patients is how does the ScoliSMART Activity Suit compare to the Spine Corporation (SpineCor) Brace?
We shouldn’t simply compare, but rather contrast the differences!
The ScoliSMART Activity Suit is to the SpineCor Brace as apples are to oranges — they are different products, designed to do different things and yield different results. Perhaps the only thing they have in common is that both are used to treat patients with scoliosis — kids and adults.
Being diagnosed – or having a child who is diagnosed – with idiopathic scoliosis can be a disconcerting, even scary, experience. After the diagnosis, you’ll be faced with lots of questions, and you’ll be uncertain about the future. What steps should you take? What steps should you avoid?
1) Find a Team You Can Trust
Though a GP or family doctor is important, for a specific medical condition like scoliosis, you’re going to want to see a specialist. To ensure that you can properly manage your or your child’s scoliosis, you want doctors who have spent their careers devoted to spinal health, who are up on the most recent research, and who are committed to helping you develop a plan that is specific to you and your condition. No two curves are alike, and your treatment plan should attest to that. The right doctor will help you realize that plan – so take your time to make sure you find the right doctor.
Treating scoliosis often feels like a race against an opponent with a head start. Once curves start progressing, parents and doctors can easily get caught up in reacting to the spine’s changes without ever managing to get ahead of the curve.
Unfortunately, scoliosis treatment for kids tends revolves around a single-minded focus—preventing curve progression—without full consideration for the child’s long-term quality of life. While traditional treatments can achieve some initial curve reduction, over the course of a lifetime they can also cause significant harm. Bracing, for example, might seem like the best course of action now, when your most pressing concern is to avoid reaching the surgical threshold, but what about 25 years from now? Or 50 years?
If your child has just been diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis, you’re probably trying to figure out what to do next. This decision is probably made more difficult by the fact that you’re probably still trying to separate scoliosis fact from fiction – and unfortunately, your doctor might not be up to date on all the current realities about scoliosis. There are a series of myths about scoliosis, and they’re often used by doctors to justify expensive, invasive spinal fusion surgery, even though it might not be the best option for your child.
They call him Lightning Bolt.
At age 20, he bolted through New York to set a world record—running the 100-meter sprint in just 9.72 seconds. The next year he shattered his own record and won his first of nine Olympic gold medals. Now, a decade later, Usain Bolt is considered the fastest runner ever timed.
Going back to school is hard enough for any child. When you’re an adolescent with scoliosis, it’s a special kind of torment.
People rarely talk about emotional side of scoliosis. Most conversations focus on the medical aspects: how fast the curves progress and which treatments are effective. Yet for people with scoliosis, emotional effects are as real as the physical ones—sometimes more so.
Fourteen is the age when most girls start experimenting with clothes and developing their individual sense of style. For Kathryn Dunnill, it was also the age she received her scoliosis diagnosis.
Her self-confidence took a big hit. But Dunnill didn’t give up. Eventually she learned to dress in a way that compliments her unique frame and puts a spring in her step.