Conditions

Scoliosis

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is the name given to curvature of the spine and the condition starts to appear in affected children between the ages of 9 and 15, and it tends to be more common in girls than boys. According to the NHS, three or four in a thousands kids have the condition. Most of these won’t need treatment, and for them the condition will eventually right itself naturally. But about 10 per cent will need treatment, which takes the form of a back brace and, if necessary, surgery.

In most cases, the precise cause of scoliosis isn’t known, though in 3 out of 10 cases it does run in families. The first symptom you or your child will notice is a change in posture. This could mean that the shoulders are no longer even, the arms don’t hang straight and one hip juts out more than the other. Because scoliosis hits at a time when kids are growing quickly, you may not notice it at first, but a minor curve of the spine can quickly become much more apparent.

Scoliosis in the upper part of the spine is called thoracic, and will make the ribs and shoulder on one side more prominent. Scoliosis in the lower part of the spine is called lumbar, and it can make the pelvis appear to jut out, or one leg appear shorter than the other. If scoliosis appears in both these areas of the spine, it will give the back a distinctive ‘S’ shape. A good way to judge whether your child has the condition is to get them to bend over forwards as if they are going to touch their toes, and then to see whether the shoulders are even. If one is higher than the other, scoliosis may be affecting the spine.

If the condition is serious, your doctor will recommend a specialist and if necessary you child may be fitted with a corset-like brace round the torso. This will prevent the condition getting worse and won’t stop your child being active. In rarer cases it might be necessary to have an operation which straightens the spine, which is then kept in place by implants or rods. Scoliosis doesn’t usually generate much pain except when bending down, and though it’s not harmful in itself, if serious cases are left untreated it can make for more painful and serious physical difficulties in the future.

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Hi my daughter (aged 15) had her scoliosis operation in March 2013 and I can certainly say that its the best thing she did as her confidence and awareness of her body was at a very low point, but since the operation she is happy to wear strappy tops and show her back off after years of covering up even in the summer heat. She is a happier person in herself now and I'm so glad she chose to go ahead with the operation. Thanks to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital for all the help and support they offered us.





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It's weird that an all of the articles about scoliosis it says that it doesn't cause pain but then almost every person with it (including myself) does seem to suffer pain with it.





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I'm 13 and I was diagnosed with scoliosis earlier In the year, I experience severe pain I'm my lower back and the area between my shoulder blade and spine. I also get pains in my shoulder and shoulder blade. To reduce/relieve the pain I take ibuprofen, but sometimes doesn't work. I've read that your shouldn't be getting pains, so I have to get that checked up. Does anyone have any idea why I get the pains?





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I have bean told my son has scoliosis he is onlay 9 his curve was 32.11* and that was all most 4 weeks ago the doctor says that it is bad for his age he is geting a back brace but thay says that he will probably still nead the op i am so woryed can you give some advice please thanks. From michelle





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I have congenital scoliosis and I was diagnosed at the age of 12. I think my curve is pretty severe in comparison to normal scoliosis, but my doctor is reluctant to offer my the operation. I can't find much information about congenital scoliosis because it's relatively rare. I do get lower back pain (and I can't touch my toes). My doctor said that having the operation would limit my movement, but i don't see the problem because I'm not very active anyway. It just seems as if he doesn't want to operate, which is frustrating for me because I want to have the operation. I'm 14 now and my curve hasn't changed and I'm probably not going to grow any taller, so they think it might not get any worse. I'm still worried because of all the stories I've read about adult scoliosis. I saw the embarrassing bodies episode and her operation went very well. I've never read any stories where people regret the operation. So what I want to know, I guess, is why won't my doctor operate?





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I'm 14 and I've been diagnosed with scoliosis during the summer of this year. I have a triple curvature in my spine and I am just wating for a date for my operation. Because I have 3 curves, I don't appear to have a bad posture as it's evened itself out. My biggest curve is 75 degrees and the others are around 55 and 30. My hips are very uneven and so are my shoulders. Apparently I would have started with it around 9/10 and it's taken 4 years for me to notice it. I get a lot of pain while I am in school as I am sat down all day and there is a lot of pressure going onto my back. When I have the surgury I wont be able to do sport for a bit(which I'm not that keen on anyway)but I'm really concerned about staying as active as possible, are there any ideas for any exersices that I can do when I'm going through my recovery that will be okay for me to do? Also, I'm starting all my GCSE's now, and I'm worried I wont be able to keep up, even though I will get all my work home, any ideas on how to keep concentrated on it? thankyou!x





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My son was born with spina bifida and hemi vertabrae and congenital scoliosis after 11 years of x rays and check ups he has been told today that he needs a spinal fusion he is also at alder hey having been under dr dorgans care before he retired. He is very frightened





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I am 37, and have lived with upper and lower scoliosis for most of my life. While I have not had any surgeries or do I feel I need it, I deal with the pain on an ongoing basis, but I do not let it effect my life. I play softball, tennis, racketball, jogging and do some pretty outragious exercises to try and stay fit. So, just speaking out, while you do have to take care of yourself and do what is best for you, don't let it take your life away, know your limits and modify exercises to where it is comfortable for you and does not put strain on your back. It is not the end of the world! Good luck to you all!





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Hi again, i just wanted to say that i also have a twist in my spine aswell as a curve, i was just wondering would they un twist it too? thanks





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hi, im 14 and i have been diagnosed with scoliosis, ive known since april 2010 whilst getting my bra fitted! At the time we didnt know what was wrong with it, but then was let know that i had it, its quite a big curve, and its causing me alot of pain and stress, they had told me its an unusal one as it goes to the opisit side to the ones that normally are like, i am having a operation later this month on the 25th and im really nervours, is there any advice or something that could be given, im worried about whats going to happen when i get out of hospital just incase i end up hurting it, as ive got two very hyperaticve little sisters! I have had to stop doing P.E and sport which i love doing too, and im just worried and a bit scared that if i do try getting back into my normal routine after my operation that it will damage it or something.. if you do have any advice on some of this at all could you please let me know. Thankyou :)





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My little sister suffers with scoliosis and she has recently joined SAUK (Scoliosis Association uk) and has found it very useful. They give you e-mail addresses of people in the same area as you who also have the same condition. Hope this helps you. Good luck! x


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Content supplied by NHS Choices

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine to one side. In people with the condition, their spine bends either to the left or to the right. The curvature in the spine can also vary from being slight to severe. Read More »