How To Identify Early Signs of Scoliosis in Children

Scoliosis is a spinal-disorder in which the patient’s spine, or backbone, suffers from a sideways curvature. The disease affects approximately 3% of the population. In young children, scoliosis can be difficult to identify early on, as their spinal cord isn’t fully developed. The types of this disease include congenital, neuromuscular, syndromic and idiopathic.  In the case of idiopathic scoliosis, the cause of the disease is unknown.  If caught in the early stages, scoliosis can be treated effectively. However, a large number of cases aren’t spotted until the spine is curved significantly, at which point the disease becomes much harder to treat. In many cases, however, the spinal curve is not advanced enough for the disease to be a cause of alarm at all. Thus, it’s important to know how to identify scoliosis in your child in its earlier stages, and here are some tips on how to accomplish that.                                                    

Spotting The Disease

It’s important not to mistake your child’s poor-posture for scoliosis. The disease, which involves sideways curving of the spine, may cause your child’s bone-structure to seem uneven. For example, one shoulder might seem taller than the other, or one hip could be arched higher than the other. Scoliosis can even be spotted by noting an uneven arrangement of the ribs, where one side of the cage may be curved upwards. In some severe cases, the patient’s entire body may appear to be leaning sideways. If you notice any such disorder in your child’s structure, it’s worth taking a few tests and eventually visiting a doctor.

The Adam’s Forward Bend Test

One of the most popular exams used by doctors and nurses to identify scoliosis, the Adam’s Forward Bend Test can also be performed by a parent to check for the disease in their child. In this test, the patient is asked to bend forward in a diving position, as if they were touching their toes. From this position, the examiner can determine whether the patient has any unevenness in their spine or bone-structure. If a problem is identified, or suspected, further tests may be taken. It’s best to consult a doctor and take professional help if you believe your child could be suffering from the disease, as they can recommend you proper treatments.

Scoliometer And How To Use It

If you suspect your child has scoliosis, a scoliometer can be used to check for the severity of the disease. Although it’s best used by a professional, concerned parents can also check their child’s spine with a scoliometer. The patient should assume the position which exposes the deformity best, by bending forward until their shoulders are level with their hips. The scoliometer should then be placed on the deformity at a right-angle to the body, and then read with the marking residing at the curve’s center. If the reading is of seven degrees or more, parents should consult a professional immediately.

X-Rays and Professional Help

If you’re convinced that your child is suffering from scoliosis, visit a doctor immediately. Your doctor may then perform a series of physical tests, to gain an understanding of the extent of the spinal curve. Your physician may determine the condition of the spine by feeling it and comparing the prominence of the muscles from different angles. Furthermore, the professional may have your child perform basic movements, such as flexion and spinal rotation, to see how well the patient performs. Finally, the doctor will order image-testing in the form of X-rays and MRI to observe exactly how far the spine is affected by the scoliosis. This is necessary for your physician to gain a complete understanding of the patient’s situation, before devising a treatment plan.

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