Being a parent means staying on the lookout for health issues that may affect your child’s life. One of the more common childhood conditions is scoliosis, which occurs when a person’s spine develops an abnormal C-shaped curve (as opposed to a healthy S curve). If you’re a parent, here are five things you should know about scoliosis.
Catching It Early
For most people, scoliosis develops at some point during late childhood or early adolescence. In the early stages, most children won’t experience any discomfort, so you’ll have to keep an eye out for other symptoms, such as a slight twist to the waist or uneven hips or shoulders. Correcting scoliosis during the early stages is easier, so keep a sharp lookout for the above indicators.
Who’s at Risk
Depending on which experts you listen to, scoliosis may be more common in girls than boys. Doctors aren’t certain of the exact causes, but it seems that females are more likely to develop the condition because of their unique skeletal structure. If your adolescent daughter is much taller than the other girls her age, regularly checking for scoliosis is a good idea.
One easy way to check is to have your child lean over while standing so that you can see the curve of their spine. If you notice that the ribs on one side are sticking out more than on the other side, or that the spine noticeably curves to one side, it’s time to take your kid to the doctor.
Scoliosis and Family History
One fact every parent should know about scoliosis is that family history isn’t always an indicator of the condition. Some children do inherit it through genetics, but plenty of cases involve people with no prior family history. Thankfully, there’s also no guarantee that your child will develop scoliosis just because you or another family member has it.
One of the reasons why catching scoliosis early is so important is that your child can develop other health problems if the condition goes untreated. As time goes on, the curve will likely worsen, causing the rib cage to press in on the lungs, making breathing harder and causing back problems. Unfortunately, your child may also develop noticeable changes to their appearance that negatively affect their self-esteem.
Alternatives to Surgery
Fortunately, not all children with scoliosis need surgery, especially when someone spots the signs early on. A number of reliable physical therapies are available to people with scoliosis that can help them retrain their muscles, including using Swedish stall bars, which are essential parts of the Schroth method of therapy. Some children may also sleep in braces to correct spinal alignment.
If you suspect your child has scoliosis, take them to a doctor as soon as possible. Know that you’re not alone and that there are many ways to ensure your child has a happy, healthy life with scoliosis.