Scoliosis is a very common problem among children. In this HealthCare Update you can learn how to diagnose early childhood scoliosis and how to prevent this serious disease. A doctor should examine children for curvature of the spine during annual visits. Older children are often checked in school screenings. However, parents can perform simple tests at home, using the following tips from the Scoliosis Research Society.
When the child is standing erect, the examiner looks at the back to see if:
- one shoulder is higher than the other;
- one shoulder blade or hip is higher or more prominent that the other;
- one side of the waist has a larger crease on one side;
- there is an unequal distance from the arms to the side of the body;
- the head is not centered over the pelvis.
The child stands, then bends forward until the spine is horizontal, with the feet together and knees fully extended. The palms of the hands should be touching each other. The examiner should check to see if:
- one side of the back appears higher than the other;
- the ribs are distorted on one side;
- the child is flexible enough to bend forward and touch his or her upper shins or feet.
When viewed from the side, an examiner can see if the person has a round shoulder or round back or a swayback. Round back can often be improved by proper posture and exercise.
For further information, or to speak to a pediatrician, please call AMC at 490-7600.