June 13th, 2018
ACPeds Parent Talk

Keeping parents up to date on the latest news in child and teen health
Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine looks more like an “S” or a “C” than a straight line. While it only affects about 3% of the US population, it still remains th e most common spinal deformity. Scoliosis is typically diagnosed in elementary age children and teenagers.
Parents often think that bad posture or heavy backpacks can cause scoliosis. Although they both should be avoided to ensure a healthy back, they do not cause scoliosis. Actually, research shows that in more than 80% of scoliosis cases, a specific cause is not known.

Diagnosis & Treatment

For years, it was recommended that routine scoliosis screenings be conducted in school. However, just this year the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) published a statement saying it no longer recommends these routine screenings because a “review of the current evidence has pointed to more questions than answers about the benefits...of screening" and the potential harms of screening (and falsely diagnosing) children and teens with no symptoms of scoliosis.
Research shows in most cases, scoliosis is mild and needs no treatment . In the rare case of severe scoliosis, patients undergo surgery to have the curvature of the spine fixed to prevent permanent respiratory compromise.

Tips for Parents of Children Living with Scoliosis

1. Encourage physical activity.

Physical activity is generally beneficial to kids with scoliosis and a strong core (abdomen) is especially good for the back.
  • Stretching can help mitigate pain and discomfort. Soccer (except the goalie position), aerobic exercise and dancing are beneficial as well.
  • No competitive swimming, football or jumping on a trampoline for kids with scoliosis. These activities put significant stress on the spine.

2. Have children avoid sleeping on their stomachs.

Sleeping on the stomach puts stress on the neck and spine. To support the curvature of the spine, a child with scoliosis should either
  • sleep on his back and use pillows or rolled towels under his shoulders, or
  • sleep on his side and use pillows or rolled towels under his rib cage and/or between his knees.
3. If you have a child with scoliosis and you’re looking for some extra support, just know that you and your child are not alone.

There are even support groups for kids in which children with scoliosis discuss the challenges of scoliosis and how to overcome them. For brace-wearing girls, check out Curvy Girls ( www.CurvyGirlsScoliosis.com ) which has 75 groups nationwide.
Even though the jury is still out on whether routine screenings for scoliosis in school are necessary, once a child is diagnosed with scoliosis, the condition should be monitored and checked up on once or twice a year until his or her growth is complete to prevent the condition from worsening.

For more information: (provided by the Scoliosis Research Society )

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