Scoliosis is a medical term that refers to spinal curvatures. Scoliosis is a condition that almost always begins in early childhood. And it is exceedingly rare. In fact, only about 5 out of 1,000 American children usually develop curved spines enough to warrant treatment. Scoliosis affects only 1 percent of the world's population.
In normal children, the spinal column grows in a straight line from the neck down to the tailbone. Curved spines have an abnormal sideways bend. In other words, looking at tieback from behind, the spine of a child with scoliosis will curve to the left or right, instead of going straight down. If a child with scoliosis is not treated for the condition, it could later cause chronic pain, a deformed spine, poor posture, and in some cases, heart, lung, or gastrointestinal problems.
A curved spine is one that fails to develop normal front-to-back arches, causing undue weight to be carried on the vertebral discs. If a disc or vertebra shifts to one side or another, the spine may follow.
There are many causes of scoliosis. The birth event, or even daily activities, may cause vertebrae to become misaligned, a condition called subluxation. In some cases, scoliosis can be inherited as a result of a short leg or pelvic distortion. Some early childhood diseases also have been linked as possible contributors to scoliosis. Some think children are forced to walk at too early an age before their spines fully develop.
Scoliosis rarely has symptoms associated with it. Most children with curved spines do not complain of pain. So it is important to have your child examined by a medical professional if you suspect he or she has a curved spine.
Chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, can be an effective means to stem further spine curvature, and in some cases, even reverse the damage. In addition, back braces, which have become technologically advanced and lightweight, may assist the spine in returning to its normal straight position. Only about 10 percent of those with scoliosis eventually require surgical treatment.