Scoliosis: What every parent needs to know

Scoliosis in kids

Scoliosis: What every parent needs to know


The spine is composed of a number of rectangular-shaped building components known as vertebrae. Scoliosis is one of the most prevalent back deformities that frequently misunderstood .The name scoliosis is derived from the Greek word skolios, which means spine is  "twisted". The spine is typically straight when viewed from behind but appears curved in case of scoliosis-affected spine.

In this blog, we will discuss this popular condition among children, as well as the clinical manifestations and treatments available based on severity of the disease.

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis occurs when the lateral curvature of the spine (backbone) exceeds 10°, like the letter "S" or "C." It generally begins as the spine is developing, in childhood or throughout the adolescent years. Therefore, the spine twists, and the back does not lie flat. Scoliosis is a more complicated three-dimensional malformation that frequently develops in childhood, rather than a simple bend to one side.

The Cause of Scoliosis

There is no clear reason in 80% of incidents of scoliosis, which is known as idiopathic scoliosis and occurs between the ages of 10 and 18. In the remaining 20% of cases, however, a specific reason may be identified. There are three common types of scoliosis that affect children :





Signs and symptoms

Scoliosis does not generally produce symptoms, and it may be discovered by a doctor or nurse during a routine examination, or by a school nurse during a scoliosis check at school. However, when symptoms do arise, they can include back discomfort and difficulty breathing, especially if the spine curves a lot and the lungs don't have enough area to work properly, as well as cardiac complications.

You or your child or teenager might also notice:



Scoliosis is generally noticeable before breathing difficulties develop.





Diagnosis of Scoliosis

A comprehensive clinical and radiologic examination should be performed if you suspected your kid has scoliosis to rule out any congenital, muscular, or neurologic abnormalities:



How is Scoliosis treated?

Your child's doctor will discuss several treatment options with you, which may vary depending on the degree of Scoliosis. Mild scoliosis, for example, does not require treatment, but severe scoliosis, which can cause breathing and cardiac issues, must.

Options for treatment depend on whether the scoliosis is likely to get worse or not. They include:







This algorithm summary the treatment option for scoliosis based on severity.








Scoliosis Screening  

It is advised that spinal examinations be included in the physical examinations of children and adolescents during routine health supervision visits. Spinal examination is especially crucial before the pubertal growth spurt, which occurs at the age of ten.

Many states in the United States have either mandatory or voluntary scoliosis screening programs in schools. Furthermore, pediatric health care providers are prepared to evaluate children for scoliosis, whether it is detected accidentally or as part of a school-based screening program.

Can my child live a normal life with Scoliosis?

Male sex, a left-side curve, and a low starting curve measurement have all been linked to better results. Males, for example, account for 60% of instances of early-onset scoliosis; 90% of cases of early-onset scoliosis cure spontaneously.

The other 10%, on the other hand, develop a severe and debilitating condition. Females account for 90 percent of late-onset instances and require thorough monitoring to allow for intervention at the right time. In addition, untreated severe scoliosis can cause back discomfort as well as harm to the heart and lungs.


Scoliosis is a spinal malformation characterized by lateral curvature and vertebral rotation. In fact, mild to moderate scoliosis usually does not cause back discomfort and does not pressure the nerves, heart, or lungs. Only the most severe scoliosis curves will result in heart and lung issues. Except in extreme situations that necessitate surgery, the majority of cases do not warrant treatment.



  1. Janicki, J. A., & Alman, B. (2007). Scoliosis: Review of diagnosis and treatment. Paediatrics & child health, 12(9), 771-776.‏
  2. Bunnell WP. The natural history of idiopathic scoliosis before skeletal maturity. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 1986; 11:773.
  3. Basu PS, Elsebaie H, Noordeen MH. Congenital spinal deformity: A comprehensive assessment at presentation. Spine. 2002;27:2255–9. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  4. Rowe DE, Bernstein SM, Riddick MF, Adler F, Emans JB, Gardner-Bonneau D. A meta-analysis of the efficacy of non-operative treatments for idiopathic scoliosis. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1997;79:664–74. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

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