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Your Child Has Scoliosis. Now What?

Your spine is a vital component of your body, of course, and when something isn’t quite right, it’s usually blatantly obvious. Children are constantly growing and changing, so when something seems wrong with their spine, it’s a cause for concern. Many times, scoliosis could be behind your child’s problem.

At Peninsula Orthopedic Associates, our team helps not only you but also your child deal with any orthopedic condition that’s concerning you. Our team of board-certified orthopedic surgeons helps you come to a diagnosis, and then we offer treatment options to help your child recover from scoliosis.

Understanding scoliosis

Your child’s spine is made up of strong vertebrae that shield their spinal cord from significant injury. There are different levels of their spine, each with a specific purpose. A normal spine should be completely vertical from their neck to their tailbone. 

There’s a slight curve at the top of their spine in the neck, and a slight curve toward the bottom of their spine, but it’s still relatively vertical. Scoliosis is a condition that causes your child’s spine to become curved, sometimes in an S or a C shape. This can lead to problems with spinal alignment.

Although scoliosis doesn’t normally cause your child pain, it’s important to get a diagnosis so our doctors can monitor your child as they grow. Severe curvatures can ultimately lead to problems not only with their hips and shoulders, but also lung functioning.

Symptoms of scoliosis

Symptoms of this condition can vary greatly among children, and can ultimately worsen as they grow. Your child’s symptoms could be few and far between, or turn pretty severe. So what should you look for in your child? Common symptoms of scoliosis in children include:

Another sign of this condition is if your child’s arms don’t hang against their body or at the same height as one another when they stand straight. Scoliosis symptoms can worsen as your child continues to grow, so routine screening at schools or by our doctors is the key to catching it early. 

Although scoliosis doesn’t always require treatment, it’s a good idea to understand what happens after your child gets this diagnosis, so you know what to expect down the road.

What treatments are out there?

Treatment for scoliosis varies greatly with the severity of your child’s condition and whether their symptoms are affecting their daily activities. To come to a diagnosis, our doctors perform X-ray imaging of your child’s spine to check for a curvature.

Scoliosis is classified by the degree of curvature in the spine. For example, if your child’s spine curves less than 20 degrees, our doctors recommend observation for any complications as they grow.

However, our doctors recommend bracing for your child if they have a curvature of at least 30 degrees, and still have to grow quite a bit. The brace helps to correct the curvature in their spine so it doesn’t continue to get worse.

Surgery is usually only indicated if your child’s curvature is more than 50 degrees and they’re still growing. Surgery usually involves some type of bone grafting to their spine, along with fixation of rods or screws to hold the spine in a neutral position. 

Surgery is only considered for severe cases where the condition is affecting your child’s everyday life.

When your child is diagnosed with scoliosis and you want to discuss treatment options, please contact our clinic at 455 Hickey Blvd., Suite 205, in Daly City at 650-746-3299. You can also contact our other Daly City office at 650-756-5630 or our office in Atherton at 650-756-5630 for an appointment as well.

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