What are the Signs of Scoliosis in Children?

Scoliosis is a common spine condition often diagnosed among adolescents and teenagers, or kids 10 to 15 years old. According to the latest available data, scoliosis affects about 2% of the population or an estimated 6 million people in the US. 

Every year, around 3 million new cases of scoliosis are diagnosed in the US alone, the majority of which are categorized as idiopathic scoliosis, which is the type of scoliosis commonly affecting children.

Many people live with scoliosis without knowing they have it. These people are fortunate enough not to experience severe symptoms and complications, which is why they do not seek medical attention. 

However, there are individuals who report severe pain and discomfort related to scoliosis, which can affect their lives in one way or another.

As a parent, you surely want to spare your child from these scoliosis horror stories. The first step in doing that is identifying symptoms and getting proper and timely diagnosis. If you suspect that your child might have scoliosis, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, your trusted spine surgeon in Palm Beach County shares the signs of scoliosis to watch out for.

5 Signs of Scoliosis in Children

To check whether your child might have scoliosis, have them stand straight and then look for these symptoms.

1. Shoulder height unevenness.

Children with scoliosis often have uneven shoulders. Look at your child as they’re standing and observe if one shoulder looks higher than the other.

2. Head not centered.

Is your child’s head not aligned at the center of their body? Is it leaning toward one side? If so, they could have scoliosis.

3. Hip height difference.

Just like with the shoulders, the hips are also misaligned if a person has scoliosis. So, watch out for a difference in hip height.

4. Arms hang differently.

Another way to check if your child has scoliosis is to look at the way their arms hang beside their body. If the arms hang differently, it’s highly likely that they have scoliosis.

5. Height of the sides of the back are different.

Ask your child to bend forward. If one side of their back is higher than the other, then you might be looking at scoliosis.

Keep in mind that these symptoms also occur with other back problems such as an injury or infection. This is why it’s important to take your child to a spine doctor who specializes in treating scoliosis in children to get the right and complete diagnosis.

How is Scoliosis in Children Diagnosed?

When you take your child to a spine specialist, they will perform a physical exam to look for the symptoms listed above. They will also order some tests done to confirm the suspicion that your child might have scoliosis. These tests include:

  • X-ray. This test provides the doctor an image of the child’s bones, as well as the internal tissues and organs. It is the primary test used in diagnosing scoliosis.
  • MRI. This test provides more detailed images of the bones and other structures in the body. The doctor might request an MRI if the X-ray images do not suffice.
  • CT scan. This test offers images that are even more detailed than what an MRI can produce.

Is It Necessary to See a Back Doctor for Scoliosis?

Detecting and diagnosis early is important for successful scoliosis treatment and management. Although only a small percentage of scoliosis cases require treatment, scoliosis can still cause complications, such as heart and lung problems. By seeking diagnosis from a back doctor specializing in scoliosis, you will know whether your child would need active treatment.

How is Scoliosis in Children Treated?

The best treatment for scoliosis will vary depending on your child’s symptoms and age, as well as how severe their scoliosis is. Often, the goal of treatment is to prevent further deformation and keep the spine’s curve from getting worse. Scoliosis treatment for children include:

  • Regular checkups. 

Your child’s back doctor will advise regular checks to monitor the curve of the spine. During these checkups, the doctor will determine whether the curve is getting worse.

  • Bracing. 

An orthopedic doctor may also recommend bracing to straighten up the spine or prevent it from curving further.

  • Surgery. 

In rare cases where the curve measures at least 45 degrees and bracing did not work to slow down the spine’s deformity, back surgery is required.

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Get Reliable Scoliosis Diagnosis for Your Child From Our Orthopedic Spine Specialist

There is no need to worry that your child might have scoliosis or that it will affect them as they grow. You can get reliable scoliosis diagnosis as soon as possible from our leading orthopedic spine surgeon, Dr. Matthew Hepler. With the right diagnosis, we can start working together to make sure that your child won’t have to live with the complications of scoliosis. 

We can begin scoliosis treatment and management right away with a combination of non-operative treatment options. Moreover, should back surgery be required for your child’s case, Dr. Hepler also performs safe spine surgeries.

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Contact us today to schedule an appointment or learn more about scoliosis and other back and spine problems. We look forward to helping you and your child lead a life free of back pain and discomfort!

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.