Know all about Scoliosis, a spine problem that mostly affects children


In Scoliosis, a spine problem that mostly affects children, there is an abnormal, sideways curvature or bend of the spine. If your adolescent has uneven shoulders or hips, you must get your child screened for this condition. It often goes unnoticed, because it’s painless and is at times detected when the condition has progressed. Scoliosis is said to affect adolescents or growing children more. While in most of the cases it is mild in nature, in some cases, it could lead to deformity.

Scoliosis is the sideways deviation of the normal vertical line of the spine of greater than 10 degrees, causing curvature of the spine. It is invariably associated with rotation of the spine and is a 3-dimensional deformity.

“The prevalence of scoliosis in children can range from 3% for mild deformity to 0.3% for severe deformity. Undiagnosed and untreated, most of the scoliosis deformities progress and become more severe till the child becomes mature. With time, a child can develop a severe deformity, chronic back pain, and has a poor quality of life.,” says Dr. Arjun Dhawale, Senior Spine Surgeon, Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital.

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While some children are born with Scoliosis, many develop it at an early stage. 

“Scoliosis developing in children younger than 6 years has a high risk of breathing difficulties in later life, can even lead to death. In some cases the deformity exists by birth, due to defects in the normal formation of bones of the spine, and also associated with other birth defects in the body like heart defects,” says Dr. Dhawale.

Symptoms of Scoliosis

Parents must pay attention to the signs and symptoms like uneven shoulders, one shoulder blade appearing more prominent than the other, unevent waist, one hip higher than the other, one side of the rib jutting forward, a prominence on one side of the back when bending forward etc. Detecting the problem early on can help improve the outcome of the disease and reduce its complications.

Diagnosis and treatment of Scoliosis

“Screening and identifying these disorders early can help timely intervention and treatment. Starting the treatment earlier greatly improves the outcome and reduces complications associated with the disease. Treatment for scoliosis varies from casting and bracing at an early age to prevent the worsening of the deformity. To growth rod surgery to allow the spine to grow while correcting the deformity, scoliosis releases, and bony fusion to correct deformity and fuse bones of back in a single surgery,” said Dr Dhawale.

“Parents should be attentive, and avoid delaying treatment or else children will face trouble in later life,” says Dr Minnie Bodhanwala, CEO of Wadia Hospital.

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