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Committed to bringing the latest in neurosciences and staying responsive to the needs of the community, we will soon launch our dream project with a new 100-bedded facility that will bring to the region much needed specialties such as Radiosurgery.

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FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a common condition that affects children and adults. It is an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine, sometimes also with rotation of the spine, which may make the waist, hips, or shoulders appear uneven. 

Most cases of scoliosis are idiopathic, which means that the cause is not known. Genetic factors may play a role, but research is ongoing into the causes of scoliosis.

No. Although they can cause other back problems, slouching or carrying a heavy bag do not cause scoliosis.

In the early stages, scoliosis can be difficult to detect.

If you view your child from behind, you may notice that your child has uneven shoulders, ribs, waist or hips when they are standing straight.

You can ask your child to bend forwards at the waist with arms stretched toward the floor and knees straight (this is called the Adam’s forward bending test). From this position it is easier to see scoliosis signs, such as:

  • One shoulder or shoulder blade is higher than the other
  • Unequal distances between the arms and the side of the body
  • Rib cage appears higher on one side (also called a rib hump)
  • One hip appears higher or more prominent than the other
  • The waist appears uneven
  • The body tilts to one side (trunk rotation)
  • One leg may appear shorter than the other

Book a consultation with a paediatrician or specialist spinal surgeon if you notice any of these signs.

If scoliosis is detected in the early stages, ideally before the pre-pubertal growth spurt between the ages of 10 to 13 years, it is more likely that simple treatments such as exercise programmes and back braces will be able to prevent the condition getting worse. 

Children may be screened for scoliosis at regular paediatric or school medical check-ups. This is most important in the pre-teen and early teen years when scoliosis is often detected following a growth spurt. 

Scoliosis cannot be prevented. In most cases there is no known cause.  It is not caused by bad posture, carrying a heavy backpack, or anything the child or parents did or did not do. 

Small curves in the spine are very difficult to detect. Spinal curvatures often progress very quickly during growth spurts, only after which they may become noticeable. 

The main thing is to focus on seeking specialist care and supporting your child once a spinal curvature has been detected.

No. Children with small spinal curvatures that do not need treatment may not experience any problems in later life, but their small curves never go away. 

For children who are still growing and those with larger curves, it is important that they are regularly monitored by a specialist to assess whether treatment is recommended.

There are many factors involved, but a child’s curve is more likely to get worse if it is very large at diagnosis or if they are very young, especially if they have not yet reached puberty. 

Scoliosis most often progresses while a child is growing, but large curves can occasionally progress into adulthood.

There are many factors involved, but a child’s curve is more likely to get worse if it is very large at diagnosis or if they are very young, especially if they have not yet reached puberty. 

Scoliosis most often progresses while a child is growing, but large curves can occasionally progress into adulthood.

Small curves (<20 degrees) may be monitored over time, usually with x-rays, to see if they are progressing. 

Back braces may be used for children with mild to moderate curves whose spine is still growing.

Surgery may be recommended for large curves when an individual has stopped growing, especially if they are progressing or causing symptoms.

While physical therapy, exercise and some alternative therapies cannot correct or slow down progression of spinal curves, they may be able to help reduce pain and improve posture, flexibility and breathing. Physiotherapy scoliosis-specific exercises can be used in conjunction with bracing in the treatment of progressive idiopathic scoliosis. Consult your specialist before starting any new therapy or exercise.

Most children with scoliosis can play sports and participate in normal physical activities, even if they wear a brace. Regular exercise is beneficial for general fitness and well-being. 

Sports should be avoided for some time after surgery, on the advice of your doctor. 

Scoliosis does not affect fertility or conception. Most women with scoliosis do not have any problems with pregnancy or delivery. However, if you have had scoliosis this should be discussed with your obstetrician and medical team as they will be able to advise you on the best positions for a safe and comfortable delivery. If you are considering an epidural your anaesthetist will want to know in advance, especially if you have had spinal fusion surgery. 

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