Scoliosis Affects Children During Adolescence

Scoliosis is a sideways curve of the spine that measures greater than 10 degrees on x-ray and is a common condition that affects many children and adolescents. About 1 in 3 children whose parents have scoliosis will develop scoliosis. It’s considered a partially genetic disorder.

In 80 percent of cases, no specific cause is found. The other 20 percent are caused by spinal column abnormalities, neurological disorders, muscular diseases, genetic conditions and many other causes.

Idiopathic scoliosis (that is, no known cause) occurs in both boys and girls, but as children enter adolescence, scoliosis is five to eight times more likely to increase in girls. Progression is most common during growing years though severe curves may progress during adulthood.

Children should be screened at any age, but scoliosis is more commonly discovered during the ages of 10 – 15 during a child’s growth spurt.

Signs and symptoms of Scoliosis include:

  • One shoulder higher than the other
  • One shoulder blade (scapula) may be higher of more prominent than the other
  • There may be more space between one arm and the side than the other, when arms are hanging loosely by the side.
  • One hip may appear to be higher or more prominent than the other
  • The head may not be exactly centered over the pelvis
  • The waist may be flattened on one side with or without skin creases present on one side of the waist

Scoliosis is diagnosed by examination from the rear as the patient is asked to bend forward until the spine is horizontal. This is called the Adams test and it is the most frequently used screening tool for scoliosis. The physician will view you from behind, looking for curvature of the spine, shoulder blade asymmetry, waistline asymmetry, and any trunk shift.

Having an x-ray of your spine at Sand Lake Imaging is usually helpful to determine if the curve is staying the same or getting worse. The Cobb angle is used to measure the angle between the most angulated vertebras that make up the curvature. Oftentimes, physicians will opt for a spine MRI to decide on the necessity of surgery.

If your child needs a scoliosis x-ray or spinal MRI, please have your physician refer you to Sand Lake Imaging.