Every parent takes utmost care and precautions to ensure their children enjoy a good and disease-free health. Unfortunately, diseases and health problems, be it acute or minor, are inevitable. One such health condition that can affect children is Scoliosis. Not known to many, Scoliosis is a medical condition characterized by an unusual sideways curve that appears in the spine, especially when viewed from a rear angle. As per various research, females are more susceptible to Scoliosis (mostly affects children between 9-15 years of age) than their male counterparts. Left unattended and untreated for long, Scoliosis can give rise to severe complications and discomfort.
What triggers Scoliosis in Children?
Scoliosis can be brought about by a host of underlying factors and triggers, some of which include
- In some children, the condition may be congenital or present from birth. Also known as Congenital scoliosis, the problem surfaces due to the partial formation of the vertebrae or the absence of the vertebrae altogether. Congenital scoliosis can also result from the improper separation of the vertebrae due to which there appears a curve ('S' or 'C' shaped) in the spine of the affected children.
- Scoliosis can also be an outcome of some neurological disorders such as Neurofibromatosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, Tumor(s) affecting the spinal cord, to name a few. As a result, the affected individual experiences great difficulty in moving around or walking which eventually results in the unusual curvature of the spine. This type of Scoliosis is also known as Neuromuscular Scoliosis.
- In some instances, the exact cause of Scoliosis may be hard to decipher. Also known as Idiopathic Scoliosis, the condition can affect a healthy child who has had no past history of any neurological or related disorders that could have acted as a possible trigger. Idiopathic Scoliosis can affect
a) Infants between 0-3 years (Infantile Scoliosis)
b) Juveniles under 3-9 years (Juvenile Scoliosis)
c) Adolescents under 9-18 years (Adolescent Scoliosis)
While Infantile Scoliosis is higher among boys, girls are more susceptible to Adolescent Scoliosis.
Research and various scientific studies suggest that Scoliosis can also be a manifestation of a
- Severe injury or infection of the spine
- Genetic predisposition.
An accurate and early diagnosis can go a long way to ensure a successful treatment with fruitful results. An X-ray of the spinal cord followed by a Ct-scan or an MRI (in some cases) play a pivotal role in the diagnosis of Scoliosis.
The nature of the treatment depends on the age of the affected child along with the extent of the damage and the associated discomfort.
In case of infants where the skeletal growth is still taking place, the affected individual is put under careful observation and monitoring to understand the nature and progression of the curvature.
In case of the spinal curvature being more than 25° (the skeletal growth continues) or if it is between 20°- 29° (with no improvement in the condition), the doctor may recommend the use of braces(can be for all day long or at a specific time). However, the type of braces recommended for use depends on the curvature of the spine as well as the age of the child.
In extreme cases, where the spinal curve is more than 45° and the braces fail to provide the desired outcome, the doctor may opt for a surgery such as a spinal fusion to deal with the condition.