Scoliosis Part 2
14 July 2019
In this second part on idiopathic scoliosis, I’m going to talk about what happens to the spine.
It is the nature of the anatomy of the spinal joints that whenever the spine bends to the side, it also induces rotation. This twisting causes stiffening. Imagine taking a towel and rolling it lengthways. Now hold it at each end. You have a little stiffness, but you are able to bend in all directions comfortably. Now continue twisting it and it will become rigid and lose its flexibility. This is what happens in scoliosis, particularly if the middle of the curve is in the thoracic spine and the ribs are involved. In addition, a big curve in the thoracic spine can affect lung function.
Early diagnosis is key. Idiopathic scoliosis is very difficult to reverse without surgery but is much easier to prevent from worsening. It is very manageable if treated early.
The main time where idiopathic scoliosis occurs is between the ages of 9-14 when the child is growing quickly.
You can do a quick assessment at home by having them bend forward from the hips and checking to see if their pelvis is level and their spine is straight and generally look for uneven hips and shoulders.
We advise children between the ages of 10-14 to be checked twice a year for scoliosis.
We run a back to school free screen in January in which we look at growth and posture before the school year begins. We are now introducing a free growth check in July for children aged 10-14. This means that twice a year your child is screened for scoliosis and other growth problems that happen during this period.
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