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news News Monday, June 8, 2020 Monday, June 8, 2020 3:23 PM - Monday, June 8, 2020 3:23 PM

Scoliosis Awareness Month

Scoliosis Awareness Month

June is National Scoliosis Awareness Month, and the Spokane Shriners Hospital staff is proud to highlight the need for education and early detection of scoliosis in children and adolescents of all ages. It is important to understand what scoliosis is, how to recognize the signs, and the importance of seeking proper care. When it comes to pediatric scoliosis treatment, Shriners Hospitals for Children has the most amazing care anywhere!

What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is one of the more common spinal disorders, in which the vertebrae rotate, causing an abnormal curve of the spine. Curves are often S-shaped or C-shaped. The most common type is idiopathic scoliosis, which means “cause is unknown,” but is thought to be genetic. Scoliosis can occur in otherwise perfectly healthy children.

How do you screen for scoliosis?

Scoliosis may appear at any time during the growing years. It is essential that the spine be checked regularly until growth is complete. Curvature may progress considerably during the rapid teenage growth spurts.

Scoliosis will often present with the following symptoms:

  • One shoulder blade higher than the other
  • The appearance that the head is not centered with the rest of the body
  • Uneven hips or one hip sticking out more than the other
  • Pushed out ribs
  • Difficulty breathing due to a reduced available area for lung expansion
  • Back pain and discomfort
  • When bending forward, the appearance that the two sides of the back are different heights

The Spokane Shriners Hospital staff understands that every patient is unique, and the pediatric spine team is ready to provide an individualized treatment plan at every level of progression.

Parents can also perform preliminary screenings at home by using an easy to use phone based tool. Developed by the orthopaedic specialists at Shriners Hospitals for Children, SpineScreen gives parents a quick, informal way to regularly monitor their child’s spine. Simply move the smartphone along the child’s spine and SpineScreen helps detect any abnormal curves. If an abnormality is noticed, the app will provide instructions on how to contact your nearest Shriners Hospitals for Children location.

Make home scoliosis screenings a regular occurrence and check for scoliosis throughout the year by downloading the app through Google Play or the App Store.

How can scoliosis be treated?

There are currently no medications to treat scoliosis, nor can its onset be prevented. The treatment prescribed for scoliosis varies with the individual patient. Treatment for scoliosis is based on the patient’s age, future growth potential, and the severity and location of the curve.

At Shriners Hospitals for Children — Spokane, we have a certified scoliosis-specific exercise program practitioner on our rehabilitation staff.

The scoliosis-specific exercise program is an exercise plan intended to elongate the trunk and correct imbalances of the spine. The goal is to develop the inner muscles of the rib cage in order to change the shape of the upper trunk and to correct any spinal abnormalities. The physical therapist will instruct the patient in specific exercises to straighten, centralize and de-rotate the spine.

The primary goal is to slow the progression of the spinal curve. The scoliosis-specific exercise program approach is used to treat scoliosis patients 10 and older, and can be utilized in all stages of scoliosis, including after surgery. Learn more about scoliosis treatment methods.

June is the time to spread awareness on scoliosis, but at the Spokane Shriners Hospital, scoliosis education never comes to an end. The Spokane Shriners Hospital has the region’s only fellowship-trained pediatric orthopaedic surgeons. If you have concerns or believe your child may have scoliosis, please see your physician and ask them about Shriners Hospitals for Children — Spokane. If you would like more information about how to request an appointment, call 1-888-895-5951, or see our Appointments and Admissions page.