Scoliosis: Early Signs, Diagnosis and Treatment

One of the most common conditions we treat at our Easley spine center is scoliosis. This condition can be treated if you get diagnosed early and start therapies. However, if it is left unchecked, it will get progressively worse, leading to visible changes in posture.

In this article, we will explain how to identify the early signs of scoliosis and how our doctors diagnose and treat this spine condition.

Scoliosis: Definition and Causes

Scoliosis represents an abnormal curvature of the spine. A healthy spine is S-shaped from front to back. In cases of scoliosis, the spine is also curved to the side. This abnormal curvature starts in childhood and early adolescence and becomes increasingly pronounced as the child grows up, if it is left untreated. Scoliosis affects approximately 2% of people – which means around 6 million people in the U.S.

As for the causes of scoliosis, doctors group the condition in three categories:

  • Idiopathic – this is the most common type of scoliosis and has no clear cause or contributing factor. Some research indicates that it may be hereditary
  • Congenital – this rare type of scoliosis is the result of an abnormal development of the spine in the embryonic phase
  • Neuromuscular – various conditions of the nerves and muscles that support the spine may result in an abnormal side-to-side curvature. This is often the case in conditions such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy

How to Recognize the Early Signs of Scoliosis

As a parent, you pay close attention to how your child grows up, especially during the growth spurt during pre-adolescence (10 to 15 years old). This is also the period for the onset of scoliosis in most patients.

The most important signs to look for are:

  • Uneven shoulders when standing up
  • Shoulder blades sticking out
  • The head is not centered above the pelvis
  • Uneven waist
  • A tendency to lean to one side

At the same time, it is important to pay attention to various symptoms your child complains of. Scoliosis is often accompanied by:

  • Back pain
  • Weakness of the core muscles (in the torso and abdomen)
  • Pain, numbness or weakness in the leg
  • Difficulty standing upright

abnormal spine curvature starts in childhood

Complications of Untreated Scoliosis

As soon as you notice any of these signs, come to our Easley spine center for diagnosis and treatment. As your child gets older, the curvature of the spine will get more pronounced and cause many serious problems:

  • Restricted breathing
  • Chronic back pain
  • Internal organ damage
  • Spinal fluid leakage

The condition also has a major impact on the appearance, causing both loss of height and visible deformity.

Diagnostic Tests for Scoliosis

Our doctors will start with a simple physical examination. The patient will have to remove their shirt and stand upright and then bend forward to touch their toes. After establishing that the patient is likely to suffer from scoliosis, the diagnosis will be confirmed by performing several tests, such as X-ray, MRI and CT-scan.

These detailed imaging tests will help the doctors ascertain the stage of the condition and help them create a treatment plan.

Treatments for Scoliosis

Scoliosis can be corrected with more success if treatment begins in its early stages. At this point, most patients make very good progress with chiropractic care and wearing a brace that forces the spine back into a normal position.

The braces can be worn until the child has reached the maximum height. This usually happens at 14 years old for girls and 16 years old for boys.

If the curvature of the spine is pronounced, it is necessary to resort to more invasive treatments. Our doctors are very successful in correcting scoliosis through spinal fusion. This procedure joins together two or several vertebrae in the spine, preventing them from moving independently.

For very severe curvature, our specialists will refer you for major spine surgery.

Get Your Child’s Scoliosis Diagnosed as Soon as Possible at Our Easley Spine Center!

Early treatment may completely correct scoliosis, allowing your child to enjoy a healthy life, free from pain and visible deformity. This is why it is essential to get in touch with the specialists at our Easley spine center as soon as you notice the first signs of this condition.

We encourage you to schedule an appointment for the initial physical examination at: 864-513-8950!