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Hi all! We know June for being the last month of school and the month where summer fun begins, BUT did you know June is also Scoliosis Awareness Month? Yes! June is the month where we highlight Scoliosis, a diagnosis that affects so many kiddos (and adultos☺️) across the world. So, for Scoliosis Awareness Month, we wanted to bring you all some information about Scoliosis, what it is, and how Physical Therapy can help! 

What Is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a diagnosis that involves a curvature of the spine, the bones that run along the middle of your back. If a child is affected with scoliosis, as they grow, their spine will begin to curve in either the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar spinal regions, aka the neck, upper back and lower back regions. Changes in the spine’s natural anatomy create imbalances in the body that may cause your child’s shoulders, shoulder blades, hips, or ribs to look unlevel or uneven. It may also cause their spine to appear curved when bending forward, may affect their overall mobility, and may create back pain later in life if left untreated. If a child’s scoliosis is very severe, it can also affect the shape and growth of their internal organs, like the lungs or the heart. 

Scoliosis Types

There are four different types of scoliosis: idiopathic, neuromuscular, congenital and degenerative. Degenerative scoliosis is often diagnosed above the age of 65 due to normal wear and tear on the spine and surrounding joints. Congenital scoliosis occurs as a result of spinal or rib deformities present at birth. Neuromuscular scoliosis can occur when a child has a neuromuscular condition, like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. With Neuromuscular scoliosis, as the child grows, their muscles pull on their bones as they move and continue to participate in developmentally appropriate activities. When a child has a neuromuscular condition, they might not be moving with similar movement patterns or frequency to a child that is developing typically. This means that their muscles are not pulling the same way on their bones as a typically developing child’s muscles are, and this can cause their bones to grow abnormally, creating a potential for scoliosis. 

Most Common Form of Scoliosis

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis is the most common form. It can be a confusing diagnosis for families to receive because it is often unknown as to why the spinal scoliosis is occurring in the first place. Medically, doctors will often recommend either a “watch and see” approach, monitoring the spinal curvature to see if it is progressing or staying the same. If a scoliotic curve is on the more severe side, or continues to worsen with time, doctors will often recommend bracing to try to prevent the curve from continuing to worsen or will recommend surgery to correct the curvature. Doctors will usually also recommend Physical Therapy, and that’s where we come in! BUT, you don’t need to wait- starting Physical Therapy at the first signs of scoliosis can prevent it from progressing in the first place!

Tips for Parents

What are some signs that you should ask your child’s pediatrician or a physical therapist about scoliosis?  Take a look at your child from behind without a shirt on.  Look at your child’s shoulders, shoulder blades, and hips.  Compare the left and right sides looking for one side higher than the other.  If you see any asymmetries between the two sides of the body, that is a sign to have it looked into by a medical professional.

How PT Can Help Your Child

In PT, we will work with you and your child as a team to help decrease any soft tissue and muscular tightness that may be pulling on your child’s spine while they are growing. We will also work with your child to improve their core strength so that as they continue to grow and improve their mobility, their body can better support itself to control and maintain their new, more-symmetrical posture. If they are having trouble holding a more symmetrical, stable posture while sitting at their desk in school, a physical therapist can also help improve your child’s postural endurance and offer solutions to help improve their sitting posture so that they can sit while supporting their body in class.

Putting It All Together

We understand that scoliosis can be a very scary diagnosis, especially when your doctor starts describing the ways it may affect them and about your treatment options. Through treating kiddos with mild to severe scoliosis, we have found that acting quickly and starting PT as soon as your child receives a diagnosis of scoliosis is the most effective way to help prevent future progression of their spinal curve. We are here to support you through the decision making process and to help provide therapy that will work to improve your child’s body through movement in a way that is friendly and fun! 

Call Us -We are here for your family ☎️

If your child has just been diagnosed with scoliosis, or is being watched for scoliosis and you would like to be more proactive with their care, reach out to us with questions and to schedule a free Discovery Visit so that we can see if physical therapy here at KidPT is the right match for you and your child. 

References: https://www.btetechnologies.com/therapyspark/4-types-of-scoliosis-and-their-interventions/

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