Scoliosis is a relatively common condition in children and teens in which the spine curves sideways. The disorder affects about three percent of all children.
In many cases, the curvature is very slight and causes no problems — some people do not even realize they are affected. For some children, however, the problem becomes noticeable and causes changes in posture as they grow. School screenings and regular medical checkups in childhood provide opportunities to diagnose scoliosis early, and provide treatment if necessary.
The spine specialists at Dignity Health North State provide expert care for many treatable conditions. Find a Doctor today to discuss your child’s symptoms and available treatment options for scoliosis in Northern California.
Identifying Symptoms of Scoliosis
Scoliosis is not painful, and small curvatures may not cause any noticeable symptoms. However, you can keep your eye out for the following developments as your child grows:
- One shoulder blade sticking out farther than the other
- Ribs sticking out farther on one side
- Uneven shoulders
- One hip sitting higher than the other
See your Dignity Health North State doctor if you notice one or more of these symptoms.
What Causes Scoliosis?
In most cases — 80 to 85 percent — the exact cause of scoliosis remains unknown. Doctors call this idiopathic scoliosis. We do know that idiopathic scoliosis tends to run in families, but no specific activity has been found to cause it. If your child is diagnosed with scoliosis, there is nothing you could have done to prevent it.
Other types of scoliosis do have known causes:
- Congenital scoliosis — present at birth and caused by a birth defect
- Neuromuscular scoliosis — stems from conditions such as muscular dystrophy
Scoliosis Treatment at Dignity Health North State
Appropriate treatment is determined by the size of the curvature and whether your child has finished growing. Small curves may not need to be treated. A back brace may be recommended if your child has a more prominent curve. The brace will not straighten the curve, but it can prevent it from becoming worse.
Curves that continue to increase despite bracing, and very large curves (45 to 50 degrees) may require spinal fusion surgery. Surgery can also prevent complications, such as changes in your child’s lung function.
We believe that health is more than the absence of disease. At Dignity Health North State, we strive to provide for the physical, mental, spiritual, and social needs of our patients. Learn more about our holistic approach to health care.
Dignity Health North State provides expert diagnosis and treatment for scoliosis in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.