Scoliosis, or the side-to-side curvature of the spine, can progress at any age; but when identified early, it is important to begin and follow treatments. The Scoliosis Research Society has an excellent article regarding early onset Scoliosis. You can review it here.
During childhood and through teenage years, our bodies, including our bones, are undergoing the most growth changes. Scoliosis can be genetic, occur from congenital defects or degeneration in the spine. More females are affected than males. Scoliosis has been shown to change during the adolescent growth spurt for both sexes. Due to hormonal differences in males and females, in a female’s life, it is important to get your scoliosis checked two other times:
- Following childbirth
- After menopause
While surgery is the only scoliosis treatment that will correct the curve, there are various conservative options that can be started at this age to attempt to prevent the curve from needing surgical correction. A brace does NOT correct a curve; it is designed to halt or slow the progression.Bracing is a conservative treatment option for curves that measure between 20-40 degrees in a skeletally immature patient and is effective roughly 50% of the time. Braces are typically worn for 18-23 hours per day and are custom fit.
Many insurance companies now require bracing as part of their guidelines before they will authorize larger procedures like surgery. We prefer not to do more invasive procedures if possible and this may help prevent further curvature and the weakening of the spinal muscles.
Custom molded braces can be ordered and fitted with our in-house Orthotist, KC Wheeler, CPO. She can talk with you in greater detail if you would like more information. We can also look into your benefits and offer an estimate so you have all the facts before making any decisions. Let us know and we can make a no-charge brace consultation appointment for you.
While it is overwhelming for parents to think of a surgery for their child at such a young age, children tend to have better bone quality, less surgical risk, and the fusion surrounding the hardware forms faster. This allows them to quickly return to an active lifestyle with a balanced spine. For many of our children, if the spine curvature is less than 40 degrees, we recommend following them with either x-rays or a scoliometer reading (depending on the size and progression of the curve) at various intervals to monitor changes.
Kyphosis is another disorder that is first noted at a young age. This is more common in males than females and is usually monitored with yearly x-rays to check for progression. There are instances where the curve may be kyphotic at a younger age, and then correct as the child continues to develop. Treatment options for this include bracing and/or surgery.
8 year old Maggie – underwent scoliosis surgery for a T8-L2 curve of 103 degrees
“Just returned from vacation – Maggie had a blast! I have attached a picture of her riding the waves and she is brace free!…There is a sweet peace among us as we are praying this new Shilla technique can minister to other suffering children. There are no words to describe God’s presence through the last week. She sat up in bed tonight and ate 4 pieces of Dominos pizza and we just finished watching a movie. She is talking just like our Maggie. Praise God!! We thank God for the wisdom He continues to give you for her treatment!!”