Up to 4% of teenagers develop adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). The condition often takes parents by surprise as their child has probably had prior scoliosis evaluations with no signs of an abnormal curve.
Fortunately, AIS doesn’t need to lead to a lifetime of deformity, pain, and other back problems.
At Spinal Stenosis and Disc Center, Inc. in Santa Monica, California, our team is one of the leaders in assessing and treating scoliosis. We have years of experience in diagnosing and managing scoliosis and can help you understand your child’s condition and needs.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Your spine should have a slight front-to-back S-curve between your neck and your tailbone. Scoliosis occurs when an abnormal, lateral (side to side) curve forms.
AIS usually emerges during an adolescent growth spurt. In many cases, the curve progression slows but continues to increase as we age. New treatments may improve and even reverse the curvature.
Signs of scoliosis in teenagers
Most teens with AIS don’t have pain or other neurological abnormalities, so they may not complain about discomfort. Instead, be on the lookout for an asymmetrical posture. Depending on the curve of your child’s spine, you might notice any of the following:
One side of your child’s back may be higher than the other. This may be easier to see when your child bends at the waist to lean forward.
Shoulder height differences
Teens have notoriously bad posture, but if one of your child’s shoulders looks higher than the other, despite frequent requests to “stand up straight,” it could be a sign of AIS.
Your teen’s upper body might look like it’s constantly leaning to the left or right. You might also notice waistline asymmetry or that one hip looks higher than the other.
After a thorough exam, including X-rays and neurological assessments, we create a personalized treatment plan to address scoliosis. Depending on your child’s unique needs, we may recommend:
Custom-made shoe orthotics or a heel lift can help correct spinal or leg asymmetry. The inserts are comfortable and can often improve the curvature and discomfort.
A back brace can stop or slow the progression of scoliosis. In some cases, a brace can correct abnormal curves to reduce pain and other complications. However, these should be used only in extreme curvatures and does not substitute for proper treatment.
Physiotherapy is often an essential part of managing scoliosis. Your child learns and practices exercises and stretches to reduce muscular imbalances related to abnormal spinal curves. We utilize the most advanced of these techniques.
The team at Spinal Stenosis and Disc Center, Inc. offers advanced chiropractic, physiotherapies, orthotics/heel lifts, non surgical decompression, and all of the best approaches to minimize and improve the scoliosis and its effects.
Surgery is rarely the best option and if it is required we can refer to top surgeons. Our job is to make that unnecessary.
Call our office or request a consultation online today if you think your teen might have scoliosis. We offer expert diagnosis to identify spinal health issues and comprehensive care to manage scoliosis.