Scoliosis in Children
Everybody has heard of scoliosis at one time before or knew someone that had it. I remember in elementary when the school nurse use to ask you to bend over and touch your toes while she feels down your back. Back then I did not know what that test was for, but now I do know. About half of the states require public schools to test for scoliosis. They try to catch it early so that it can be treated before it gets worse. Scoliosis is an abnormal curving of the spine. Everyone’s spine is supposed to curve a little, but when it is curved too much like a “S” shape then it is a problem. Scoliosis is typically classified as either congenital, idiopathic, neuromuscular, or secondary to a primary condition.
Congenital scoliosis is when a person is born with the condition. It is usually first detected in the initial newborn physical examination by a pediatrician or by the child’s parents soon after birth (Nordqvist, 2013). Children began to develop the curvature before the birth, during the fetal growth in the mother’s womb. Part of the vertebrae or more does not form completely, or the vertebrae does not separate properly (Nordqvist, 2013).
Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of spinal deformity. Idiopathic means unknown cause. Although many may not know what causes the majority of scoliosis cases, they do know that it can run in the family (Hreskno, 2013, p. 834). Idiopathic scoliosis usually occurs in adolescents 10 to 18 years of age, but can occur in younger children as well (Hreskno, 2013, p. 834). It is often seen more in girls than boys. Idiopathic scoliosis does not cause pain or neurological symptoms in the early stages. In the beginning of the disease there is no pressure put on the internal organs by the curvature of the spine, so symptoms like shortness of breath should not be present (Hreskno, 2013, p. 836).
Any medical condition that affects the nerves and muscles can lead to scoliosis. It is commonly due to the muscle imbalance and/or weakness (Burgoyne & Fairbank, 2001, p. 324). Common neuromuscular diseases such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury and spina bifida can cause scoliosis (Ullrich, 2012). Neuromuscular scoliosis is the second most common form of scoliosis next to idiopathic scoliosis.
In children and teens, scoliosis typically does not cause symptoms and is not evident until the curve in the spine becomes moderate or severe (Ullrich, 2012). It may first come noticeable to a parent who observes their child’s clothes does not fit right or the hems hang unevenly (Nordqvist, 2013). According to Nordqvist (2013), in a child who has scoliosis, the child’s spine may look crooked or the ribs may stick out when the child bends forward from the waist or the waistline may be flat on one side, one shoulder may appear higher than the other, one hip may appear higher than the other, and the child’s head is not centered over his or her body. Most of the time scoliosis does not cause...