SCOLIOSIS(Curvature of the Spine)
(Curvature of the Spine)
DESCRIPTIONScoliosis is a progressive bending and twisting of the upper spinal column, which eventually distorts the chest and back. The spinal vertebrae (bones) are involved. Scoliosis can affect adolescents between ages 12 and 15. It is more common in girls than boys.
Appropriate health care includes:
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
Exercises to strengthen back muscles.
Orthopedic back brace.
Surgery to correct the deformity (severe cases only).
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSEarly stages: No obvious symptoms or signs, but your child's scoliosis can be detected by your doctor or school nurse with a simple screening test.
Later states: Visible curving of the child's upper body. The spine becomes S-shaped and the shoulders become uneven.
CAUSESDiseases of the central nervous system, such as polio or muscular dystrophy.
Congenital defects of the spine.
Usually unknown. Scoliosis is sometimes a result of:
Family history of scoliosis.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCECannot be prevented at present.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Severe distortion of the child's spine and ribs.
Muscle spasms and pain in the back and legs.
Arthritis of the spine.
Congestive heart failure.
When diagnosed early, scoliosis can usually be corrected completely. Your child may have to wear a back brace daily for as long as several years.
HOME CAREA teenager may be embarrassed to wear a brace. Be sure your teenager understands that the brace is temporary. Explain the eventual consequences of not wearing the brace. Insist on keeping doctor appointments for follow-up evaluation.
MEDICATIONMedicine usually is not necessary for this disorder. For minor discomfort from muscle imbalance or complications, use non-prescription drugs, such as aspirin or acetaminophen.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Consult your doctor. Special exercises may be part of your child's therapy. If a brace is necessary, your child's participation in sports will be restricted.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes. Your child should maintain as normal physical activities as possible.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
You suspect your child is developing scoliosis.