June is Scoliosis Awareness Month. As the public health nurse for the Meigs County Health Department’s Children with Medical Handicaps (CMH) Program, I want to help raise awareness of how common this spine curving disorder is, even in children who are otherwise considered healthy.
Remember when school nurses or a family doctor would check your back and spine? Unfortunately, the screenings for Scoliosis have somewhat subsided despite Scoliosis being one of the most common spinal disorders. In the past, diseases like Tuberculosis or Polio were to blame for the disorder dubbing it ‘the danger curve’, but vaccines have drastically reduced the number of these cases. However, Scoliosis remains common in the United States. Most cases of Scoliosis are without a known cause (idiopathic).
Idiopathic Scoliosis is the most common cause of Scoliosis. The cause is unknown and can develop in any child, at any age, despite an otherwise healthy history.
Neuromuscular Scoliosis is more of a symptom of another condition that has created the disorder due to positioning and irregular tension on the body. Brain, spine, and muscular disorders can cause this type of Scoliosis, including Muscular Dystrophy or Cerebral Palsy.
Congenital Scoliosis accounts for a percentage of cases. A parent can pass the condition on to their child.
As parents and healthcare providers, we get comfortable with our own family and miss slight changes in those around us. Be aware of warning signs in children who seem to lean to the one side, have uneven shoulders or even seem to be clumsy or unexplained back pains. Rarely children are diagnosed as infants and the most common age is just before puberty as young as age 10.
Many times Scoliosis can be managed by bracing or manipulation. However, some do require surgical intervention if the curvature is affecting other systems such as breathing or digesting, which can be expensive for families.
If you believe your child may have or already is diagnosed with Scoliosis, CMH may be able to help! Please contact me at (740) 992-6626 Ext: 1075 Monday-Wednesday for more information.
Angie Rosler is the Meigs County Health Department’s Children with Medical Handicaps (CMH) Program nurse.