Scoliosis and how it affects you

Scoliosis is a condition of the spine. When you have scoliosis, your spine curves sideways. In most cases the cause scoliosis is unknown, but it can be caused by a condition like muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy. For most people, scoliosis shows up during the last growth spurt before puberty. Only about 3% of teenagers have scoliosis, but kids who have it should be monitored closely to make sure the curve isn’t worsening. This is essential as severe scoliosis can cause the space in your chest to tighten and make it difficult for your lungs to function.

Symptoms of scoliosis

You may or may not notice scoliosis right away. It often develops gradually over time. In the early stages of scoliosis, it is typically painless. In fact, your doctor or a non-family member may be the first to notice it. If you do notice symptoms of scoliosis, it might look like:

  • Uneven waist
  • One hip is higher than the other
  • One prominent shoulder blade
  • Uneven shoulders
  • Rotated or curved spine.
  • Ribs that stick out further on one side of the body.

Causes and risk factors of scoliosis

Anyone can develop scoliosis. However, there are risk factors that can put your child at a greater risk for developing scoliosis. These include:

  • Sex of your child. Both boys and girls develop scoliosis at the same rate, but girls have a higher risk of their mild scoliosis worsening.
  • Family history of scoliosis. Although it’s not always a risk factor, scoliosis can run in families. 
  • Age. Most cases of scoliosis start during the growth spurt just before puberty. 
  • Conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, Marfan syndrome, or Down syndrome.
  • Certain infections, tumors, and birth defects can also cause scoliosis. 

When to see a doctor

If you notice symptoms of scoliosis, it’s essential to that you bring your child to their doctor. Although mild scoliosis isn’t painful or dangerous, your doctor may want to monitor their symptoms. Through regular X-rays, your child’s doctor can tell if the curve is worsening. They can also determine if any treatment is needed. In some cases, your child may need to wear a brace to stop the curve from getting worse. In severe cases, surgery may be required to straighten scoliosis. 

Complications of scoliosis

If you had childhood scoliosis, you may not have any complications or health issues. However, you might experience lung or heart damage from the rib cage pressing against your lungs and heart. This can make it difficult to breath. Kids who had scoliosis are also more likely to have back pain as adults. Severe scoliosis can cause changes to your appearance. Causing uneven shifts in shoulders and hips, protruding ribs, and more. This might make you self-conscious about your appearance.

Scoliosis hard to predict. Your child may start developing scoliosis before puberty. That scoliosis can be mild and painless or can develop into a severe complication which makes it hard to breathe. Staying in touch with your doctor is the best way to ensure that your child’s scoliosis doesn’t become severe enough to cause problems later in life. 

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