A Curved Back – Identifying Scoliosis

Thursday, August 23, 2012 10:50 AM

Scoliosis TreatmentOur backs are responsible for helping with movement, posture and overall support. Without a healthy, strong backbone we couldn’t do much. Some children develop an abnormal curve in the spine (otherwise known as scoliosis), that if not properly treated can lead to problems. While there isn’t a set determining factor—such as genetics—for developing scoliosis, it is more common in females.

Our backs are responsible for helping with movement, posture and overall support. Without a healthy, strong backbone we couldn’t do much. For unknown reasons, some children develop an abnormal curve or curves in the spine (otherwise known as idiopatic scoliosis, an example of the unknown reason), that if not properly treated can lead to problems. While there isn’t a set determining factor—such as genetics—for developing scoliosis, it is more common in females.

Some of the common signs to look for when identifying scoliosis include:

  • Prominence (“hump”) on the back or ribs
  • Uneven shoulders
  • Uneven wait
  • Clothes not fitting right on both sides of the body

Eldin Karaikovic, MD, PhD, identifies some of the scoliosis treatment options:

  • Regular doctor check-ups – Depending on the curve progression, it may only be necessary to visit a physician every 4-6 months to measure progress until skeletal maturity.
  • Braces – Braces, now usually made from plastic, are designed to fit each individual patient. These braces typically do not include the neck and chin. Although they should be worn most of the time (23 hours), they can be removed for sports, showering and other activities. 
  • Genetic Testing – While a single "scoliosis" gene has not been identified, the condition does run in families. Within the last year a test has become available to predict possible progression of spine curvature. This test –only available currently for Caucasians—is painless and reduces the amount of radiation and follow-up visits needed. 
  • Surgery – If other treatment methods do not prove successful, surgery is another option. This is often done based on the degree of curvatures and its rate of progression.

Do you know anyone who has or had scoliosis?

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