Most of us have a general idea of what scoliosis is, and that it affects the spine. However, many of us often do not realize that children are one of the largest groups affected. Scoliosis is a disorder of the spine characterized by additional curvature(s). These additional curvatures appear S or C shaped laterally, or sideways. The most common cause of scoliosis is unknown, and so it’s called idiopathic. Idiopathic scoliosis accounts for eighty percent of all scoliosis cases. It’s very exasperating, and alas, without a known cause, medical professionals don’t have all of the answers for those afflicted.
Well over five million people in the U.S. have scoliosis. Of those, adolescents are the largest age group affected, with girls more frequently affected than boys. While this particular demographic is most commonly impacted, individuals of any age, ethnicity, or gender, can be diagnosed with scoliosis.
Though the majority of cases are idiopathic, or unknown, some cases are congenital, implying that the cause is known. With congenital scoliosis, the additional curves are believed to be due to structurally abnormal vertebrae that developed throughout pregnancy. Congenital also implies that scoliosis can be passed on from previous generations. Therefore, if someone in your family was affected, or has affected children, be sure to look out for these physical signs and have your children checked by a medical professional.
The presence of a scoliosis, whether it be congenital or idiopathic, doesn’t necessarily mean you will experience back pain. However, it’s important to minimize the risk of developing back pain by looking out for physical manifestations of scoliosis, including uneven shoulders, or winging of either shoulder blade that is present with your child standing upright. A rib hump or low back hump may also be present when your child is bending forward to touch their toes. Scoliosis can be properly diagnosed through a proper intake of medical and familial history, physical exam, and X-rays.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that active chiropractic treatments can improve the angle of scoliotic curvatures, which can limit the severity during development and into adulthood. Other treatment options include observation and bracing. However, experts concur that scoliosis is best treated early on in the developmental process, so if you suspect that your son or daughter may be affected, don’t hesitate to get them in for an examination sooner rather than later.
Michael “Dr. Mike” Roney, D.C., is a musculoskeletal specialist who recently joined Pawling Family Chiropractic, located in the Atrium on Route 22. He can be reached at (845) 855-1475 or at FellaWellness.com online.