This is an abnormal, sideways curvature of the spine.
Mild to moderate scoliosis is a painless, sideways curvature of the spine. This can cause the hips and the length of the arms and legs to be uneven. The chest or lower spine may also be uneven when the child bends forward.
Although scoliosis can occur at any age, most cases become visible during middle to late childhood. This is when children enter puberty and growth rate is faster. Parents should watch for these traits in children from about age eight.
The following conditions may play a role in the development of scoliosis:
Scoliosis can run in families. In addition, females have a higher rate of scoliosis than males (except during infancy).
Scoliosis can progress at varying rates depending on the cause. If your healthcare provider suspects your child has scoliosis, they will check his or her medical and family history. The provider will give your child a physical exam, which may include leaning forward with their palms together. This is done to compare both sides of the body. Differences in limb length will be taken into account.
Most spontaneous spinal curves in children (idiopathic scoliosis) are not severe and do not need treatment. However, scoliosis caused by a neuromuscular disorder typically gets worse so treatment needs to be started as soon as possible. Some treatment options include:
Make an appointment with your healthcare provider if you think you may have scoliosis.
Here are some questions to ask your child's healthcare provider:
Make sure you understand your child's treatment plan, any possible alternatives, and what medications are recommended (including possible side effects). If surgery is recommended, you should understand why that recommendation was made. Seek a second opinion if necessary.
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