Strategies for Treating Scoliosis in Early Childhood

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According to the National Scoliosis Foundation, six to nine million people in the United States have scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine that affects two to three percent of the population. Most impacted are:

•  Girls, who have a seven-fold increased risk of developing scoliosis compared to boys.

•  Heredity plays a part; if a mother or father has a parent or first-degree relative who has scoliosis, there is a 50% chance that their child will also have the condition.

•  Maternal age plays a role. According to research published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, women who give birth beyond the age of 27 run a higher risk of having a kid who develops scoliosis as a result of a spontaneous mutation.

Anyone can be impacted by spinal curvature. Several famous people, including General MacArthur and the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun, as well as Olympian swimmers Jessica Ashwood and Aritza Correia, professional golfer Katie Webb, and actresses Daryl Hannah, Elizabeth Taylor, and Liza Minelli, all have scoliosis.

Scoliosis diagnosis

Infants, young children, and adolescents can all develop scoliosis, but the older the kid, the more challenging it may be to identify. Juvenile scoliosis is more easily diagnosed in younger children because a parent washing a kid between the ages of infancy and three may see a growing issue, or a pediatrician will spot the ailment in children between the ages of three and ten.

However, because children over the age of 11 are more self-conscious about their bodies, it can be harder to identify. For this reason, your child’s yearly pediatric checkup and school screening program are essential for early diagnosis, which can then lead to early intervention.

Not all cases of scoliosis are idiopathic. If your child has scoliosis and a hairy patch or dark brown lesions on their back, back discomfort that is localized or wakes them from sleep, urinary incontinence or retention, constipation, or bowel incontinence are some of the warning indicators that scoliosis is brought on by a more serious condition. These are all indications that additional testing by an orthopedist with experience in scoliosis diagnosis and treatment is necessary.

The sooner a kid receives an official diagnosis of scoliosis and starts receiving treatment, the more likely it is that the child will not require surgery and that the treatment will be less invasive. If you doubt your children might have scoliosis, make sure to check with the professional scoliosis specialist in Brisbane.

Therapy Alternatives

An orthopedist will decide whether therapy is necessary and what form of treatment is most appropriate for your child’s condition once the diagnosis of scoliosis has been established.

Non-operative therapies

Smaller spinal curves may be addressed with vitamin D and calcium dietary supplements; larger curves may be treated with Schroth therapy, a non-invasive exercise program that teaches kids how to breathe, stretch, and strengthen their spine to counter the effects of their scoliosis. These two procedures aim to stop the advancement of scoliosis.

The pediatric orthopedist will probably add nightly or 24/7 bracing if a child’s spinal curve worsens. It constantly begs the question, “For how long?” The brace is normally worn by girls for two years after the start of menstruation and by males for two years after a significant growth spurt. However, the earlier the diagnosis, the less probable it is that your child will need bracing or that they would just need to wear it at night.

Scoliosis Surgery

Although 95% of children can avoid surgery by starting treatment early, spinal fusion surgery is only performed on adolescents with the most severe instances of scoliosis. Children can return to some activities in about six weeks, and almost all of them in three months thanks to surgical advancements.

A new scoliosis surgical innovation called anterior vertebral tethering allows pediatric orthopedic surgeons to modulate the growth of the spine so that it corrects gradually over time and preserves spinal motion. Unfortunately, it has a 20% reoperation rate as opposed to fusion’s less than 1% rate.

Early childhood scoliosis has a low prevalence and a diverse etiology, hence there haven’t been any randomized controlled therapy studies for this tiny subset of high-risk individuals. It is crucial that experts from all of the major medical disciplines collaborate closely for the treatment to be successful.

The (often) need for surgery can be postponed or even avoided using conservative methods including physiotherapy, casts, and corsets, especially in cases with idiopathic early childhood scoliosis. In addition to treating scoliosis, the new non-fusion procedures allow for continuing growth of the spine, rib cage, and lung.