San Francisco Spine Surgeons

What Parents Should Know About Scoliosis

spinal condition San Francisco, CAScoliosis is a spinal condition that is often detected during childhood. According to statistics, nearly 3 million new diagnoses are made each year, and those are only in the United States. Because idiopathic scoliosis is so prevalent among children, this is an important topic of discussion. Before we dive in, we also want to clarify that scoliosis is not a childhood condition only; older adults may also develop a type of curvature of the spine that requires some degree of management.

Six Details About Idiopathic Scoliosis

  1. Early diagnosis is ideal. A growth spurt can have detrimental effects if scoliosis goes undetected. Parents are encouraged to schedule a spinal exam for their children before age 10, which is normally well before an adolescent growth spurt. When scoliosis has been detected, the treating pediatrician can develop a protocol that prevents physical development from further deforming the spine.
  2. It could be the genes. Research suggests that scoliosis can run through a family line. However, many cases go undiagnosed, so tracking this link may be difficult for some patients.
  3. But it may not be the genes. Before those feelings of guilt overcome you, know that it is not your fault that your child’s spine has not developed as straight is it could. There is nothing a parent can do to keep a child from scoliosis, and there is often no cause to be found for this condition.
  4. Lifestyle is not to blame. There is a common theory that carrying a heavy backpack or having poor posture causes the spine to become abnormally curved. There is no evidence to prove this. Scoliosis is a hard condition to pin down regarding the cause. That being said, poor posture and heavy backpacks can cause other spinal conditions, so create good habits.
  5. Treatment may not be necessary. We tend to only hear about the extreme cases of scoliosis. “Jimmy had to wear a brace.” “Tami had to have a rod placed in her back!” Statistically speaking, the percentage of cases that require treatment is very small. Bracing is necessary for only about 30% of patients, and surgery is performed only 10% of the time.
  6. Surgery can offer a great outcome. If surgery is needed, it is best performed early, when a smaller fraction of the spine is involved, and the procedure may be simplified.

Call San Francisco Spine Surgeons for more information on the diagnosis and treatment of scoliosis.

Posted in: Scoliosis

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