Usually, children have straight spines, with a slight inward curve; however, sometimes, young children may face bone deformities, which can lead to changes in the shape of their spine. The sideways curvature of the spine is known as scoliosis. If you wish to know how this condition is caused, its various symptoms, treatment options, and various ways of prevention, read on.
What is Scoliosis and What Are Its Types?
Scoliosis is a Greek term, which means “curvature”. Children with scoliosis have a bent spine, which usually forms a C or an S shape. A child with this condition appears to be bending on one side, either to the left or the right. This condition may affect the lower as well as the middle part of the spine of the child.
Following are some of the common types of scoliosis that can be observed in children:
1. Juvenile Idiopathic Scoliosis
Juvenile scoliosis is usually found in children between the age brackets of four to ten years of age. The diagnosis for this condition happens between the ages of 4 and 10. In younger kids, it’s seen that boys are more affected than girls, and that the curvature of the spine is towards the left side.
2. Congenital Scoliosis
This condition develops when the spine does not form properly in the mother’s womb. It is quite rare, but since it happens so early on and the physical signs are very clear, it can also be diagnosed pretty early in the child’s life.
3. Infantile Idiopathic Scoliosis
Infantile scoliosis affects the children in their infantile years or from 0 months to three years of age. Here too, the baby may look like he’s leaning to the left or like he has one leg longer than the other.
4. Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis
The most common type of scoliosis, this kind is generally diagnosed in children who fall in the age group of 11 to 18 years.
5. Syndromic Scoliosis
This condition occurs as a symptom of an underlying condition, such as muscular dystrophy or Marfan syndrome, among others.
6. Neuromuscular Scoliosis
This type of scoliosis may occur due to disorders of the muscular system, the brain or the spinal cord. The nerves and muscles suffer a disconnect in communication, thereby causing malalignment of the spine and the lower back in general.
Causes of Scoliosis in Children
There are no definitive reasons that can explain why a child may develop this condition. Sometimes a child may have it since birth, whereas some children may develop this condition as they grow. Also, this condition is more prevalent in girls rather than boys. The children who can get most affected fall into the age bracket of 11 to 18 years. However, there are some probable causes of scoliosis in babies and children, such as:
- Genetic reasons
- A difference in the length of legs
- Nervous system ailments such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy
Signs and Symptoms of Scoliosis
Following are some of the symptoms associated with scoliosis:
- You may notice a difference in the way your child may hang his arms while standing.
- There may be a difference in the height of right and the left side of the back while bending forward.
- There may be a difference between his shoulder blade’s position or height.
- There may be a difference in his hip’s position and height.
- The head may not be aligned or centred with the rest of the body.
- There may be a difference in the height of the shoulders.
How is Scoliosis Diagnosed in Children?
The symptoms of scoliosis may sometimes appear like the symptoms of an injury or infection; therefore, it becomes important that you get the proper diagnosis done to establish this problem. Your doctor may use following diagnoses to establish the medical condition:
1. CT Scan
Your doctor may take detailed images of the body to establish bone deformities.
This procedure requires the use of a computer and strong magnetic fields in taking the detailed images of the body.
This involves taking images of various tissues, organs and bones of the body.
Treatment for Scoliosis in Children
It is important that if your child suffers from any type of scoliosis, you get a timely diagnosis done to save your child from further complications. Also, if there is unnecessary delay in the treatment, it may lead to lung and heart problems in kids, as the ribs also get affected due to scoliosis.
The treatment of your child may depend on the complexity of his condition, his age, and other health concerns if any. The main aim of the treatment is to prevent the deformity and stopping the curve from further deteriorating.
If your child is in a growing stage, he may be suggested to use a scoliosis brace suitable for a child, for some time.
2. Observations and Other Exams
Your doctor may like to observe your child on a regular basis to check how his skeletal growth is taking place and suggest corrective measures on a regular basis.
If bracing may not be helping your child or the curve becomes prominent, that is 45 degrees or more, your doctor may recommend surgery for your child.
How to Prevent Scoliosis?
Mild cases of scoliosis may not require treatment and may get better on their own. However, some moderate to severe cases may require bracing or surgery to resolve the issue. Only in very few cases can scoliosis lead to other severe, life-threatening conditions in children. Unfortunately, scoliosis cannot be prevented in some of the cases. However, in order to save your kid from suffering from any such bone disorder, you may ensure that your child follows a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle includes a well-balanced diet, exercising and adequate rest. Exercises such as running, walking, basketball, yoga, gymnastics, etc. are good for strengthening your child’s bones, and also have been proved in reducing the progression of scoliosis.
If you see any signs of scoliosis in your child, we suggest that you act promptly and take your child to the hospital for a detailed diagnosis to establish whether or not the child is suffering from it or not. If yes, then you should discuss the various treatment options available with your doctor. With proper care and correct treatment options, most cases of scoliosis may get cured.
Also Read: Rickets in Kids