January 12, 2021 by Carol Higgins
Scoop on Scoliosis: What Parents Need to Know (Video)
As many as 9 million people in the United States are affected by scoliosis – a sideways curvature of the spine – with more than 600,000 people each year being seen by doctors for the condition.
Instead of a straight line down the middle of the back, a spine with scoliosis can sometimes look more like an “S” or “C,” rather than a straight “I.” The most common type is idiopathic scoliosis, which means there is no known cause.
Idiopathic scoliosis tends to affect girls more than boys, especially teenage girls. Studies have also shown that scoliosis can be hereditary. Most cases of scoliosis are initially noticed by a child’s pediatrician or family doctor, or by a parent.
“We know that once you have a family member with scoliosis, it’s more common for you or a family member to have scoliosis.” said Roger Saldana, M.D., pediatric orthopedic surgeon with Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute at Baptist Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Saldana also noted that there are some treatments available to prevent idiopathic scoliosis from getting worse, but the condition cannot be prevented.
“The only treatment we have is bracing, once it gets to a certain degree. If it gets to an even further degree, surgery can be an option, although it’s not common.”
According to Dr. Saldana, idiopathic scoliosis is not caused by heavy backpacks, but they can cause back pain and some other issues.
Parents should look out for any asymmetries in their child’s body such as elevation in their shoulders, chest differences and rib prominences. Any of these changes should be brought to the attention of their child’s pediatrician. If the pediatrician deems it necessary to have a specialist take a look, that’s when a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, like Dr. Saldana, would evaluate further.
Watch the video to get the scoop on scoliosis from Dr. Saldana, including causes, risk factors and treatment options.