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News Friday, August 18, 2017

Parents urged: Check children’s backs during back-to-school season

New SpineScreen app helps detect possible early signs of scoliosis

Shriners Hospitals for Children has launched a new app to help detect possible early signs of scoliosis in children. The app, called SpineScreen, detects curves in the spine as the cell phone is moved along a child’s back, giving parents a quick and informal way to regularly monitor their child’s spine. The app is an educational tool for parents to make them aware of the signs of scoliosis and treatment options and help them to schedule annual reminders.

Curvatures in the spine can develop quickly and it’s important for parents to be in the habit of regularly checking on their children – and this app can help. Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City encourages parents to routinely check their child’s back when they head back to school every fall. It’s important to note, though, that this should not be used as a medical device or seen as an alternative to medical assistance.

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine that can restrict movement and in some cases lead to other serious medical conditions. It is most commonly diagnosed between 10 and 15 years of age, when children grow rapidly. Some cases, however, can go undetected for periods of time because during this point in a child’s life fewer vaccinations are required, so they may see a doctor less often. An estimated 6–9 million people in the U.S., and millions more worldwide, have scoliosis.

Shriners Hospitals for Children created the app as part of a broader initiative to highlight the importance of regular screenings and to educate parents on signs of scoliosis and treatment options.

“With doctors and staff who are global leaders in the treatment of scoliosis care, parents turn to Shriners Hospitals for Children because they know their children will receive the best care possible,” said Gary Bergenske, chairman of the Board of Directors for Shriners Hospitals for Children. “Since scoliosis usually requires ongoing medical treatment throughout childhood, our commitment to provide care regardless of the families’ ability to pay is a huge relief to parents.”

To learn more and download the SpineScreen app, visit shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/scoliosis. Also, watch a recent news story on ABC4’s Good Morning Utah featuring Graham Fedorak, M.D., and patient ambassador Skyler and her father, Pete!

If you suspect your child needs to be seen for possible scoliosis, please call our referral hotline 800-314-4283 to become a new patient and make an appointment.