How Can I Tell If My Child Has Scoliosis?

September 15, 2022
Can I Tell If My Child Has Scoliosis?

If you start to notice that your child’s back looks curved or he or she is complaining of chronic back pain, you may start to wonder if a spinal issue is to blame. If your child has scoliosis, the spine has formed into an “S” or “C” shape instead of in a vertical line.

Having scoliosis can be genetic or an abnormality that happened during development, and sometimes there is no known cause. If you are concerned that your child’s spine is showing some signs of curvature, come see us at AFC Urgent Care Chattanooga to get started with an evaluation and an X-ray.

Can Scoliosis Get Worse?

Many cases of scoliosis are mild and don’t cause daily struggles. A lot of the time, children won’t even know they have it until a doctor alerts you to the curve! It can occasionally cause back pain in the area around the curvature, especially if the curve is more severe or is compressing a nerve.

Scoliosis is a skeletal issue, so if your child’s spine is affected, the rest of his or her skeleton will be affected as well. As your child grows, the curve can fix itself, or it can slowly worsen over time. You can usually start to see posture changes as your child grows.

Skeletal Changes of Scoliosis

  • Difference in shoulder height
  • Asymmetry in ribs
  • Discrepancy in hip/shoulder blade height
  • Muscle bulge on one side of the back when bending over

What Happens During a Scoliosis Exam?

Most appointments will start with an office visit to obtain a thorough family history and do an initial exam. After that, an X-ray will most likely be ordered so that the provider can get a better image of your child’s spine. If scoliosis is the diagnosis, many doctors will suggest a “watch and wait” approach instead of immediate intervention. This is because your child is still not done growing and the spine might correct itself over time.

If your child’s case is severe enough, intervention might be suggested. Usually this happens when the curvature is 20 degrees or more, and either a brace or surgery may be needed to provide relief.

Supporting Your Child’s Diagnosis

  • Consistent exercise to keep back muscles strong
  • Anti-inflammatories to manage pain
  • Yoga and stretching to help alleviate pressure or pinch points

Wondering whether your child may have scoliosis? Come see us for an X-ray at AFC Urgent Care Chattanooga!

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