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How Can You Help Your Child With Scoliosis? 

 December 6, 2022

By  Linda Rook

The lumber spine diagram

Introduction.

The spine has three natural curves: the cervical or neck, thoracic middle and upper, or the lumbar lower region.  

Scoliosis and osteoporosis attack the spine, but their connection is still being studied.

Scoliosis is the curvature of the spine that is mainly in young children. Whilst osteoporosis is a deterioration of the bone affecting mainly the elderly, and it can even lead to scoliosis. So both osteoporosis and scoliosis could be seen in one person simultaneously.

Scoliosis.

People’s spine has a natural curve, but if you develop scoliosis, the spine has an irregular curvature that is so extreme that it resembles a letter C or S. that can lead to excruciating back pain. Scoliosis is dominant in young adults but can be in adults as well.

In around eight out of every ten cases is not found when this happens; it’s known as idiopathic scoliosis.

Scoliosis in children
The Spine

Symptoms.

The first symptoms that you may notice could be a change in your back, such as:

  • A visibly curved spine.
  • One of your shoulders could be higher than the other; also, it’s more prominent.
  • One hip may also be more prominent than the other.
  • Your clothes may not hang properly.
  • Your legs will have different lengths.
  • And a prominent ribcage.

Causes.

Some people have scoliosis that could be caused by other medical conditions, for example:

  • Cerebral palsy: which is brain damage.
  • Muscular dystrophy: muscle weakness.
  • Marfan syndrome: this is associated with connective tissues.
  • Age-related: your discs and joints of the spine change, and a reduction in bone density.
  • Family history: studies have found that genetic links could cause the condition in some idiopathic scoliosis.
  • weight - Your weight could have a big risk as you are putting more weight on the already unhealthy spine.
The lumber spine diagram

Treatment.

The treatment depends on age, severity, and whether it will worsen in time.

When your child develops scoliosis, they may not need treatment as the spine curve may improve naturally as they grow. But if treatment is necessary, they may have bracing or casting to stop the curve from progressing.

When the curve continues to progress in infants, and younger children and the braces and casts are not working, they may need an operation. The operation could include a metal rod in the back to stabilise the spine. The rod is then lengthened at regular intervals as the child grows.

The elderly children may wear a back brace until they stop growing. Or surgery to correct the curve.  The operation is done by a rod attached to the spine with screws and wires.

Children and teenagers have a problem with their self-esteem and overall quality of life.  When scoliosis is severe, it can increase pressure on the heart and lungs.

Osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a condition which makes the bones weak and easily fractures. The bones can become so brittle that a fall, movement, or cough could lead to rupture. Osteoporosis commonly attacks the hips, wrists or spine.

A healthy bone is a living tissue that gets broken down and replenished. But osteoporosis, the ability of the bone to replace the tissue becomes impaired; this means that the loss of old bone does not get replaced by new bone.

Osteoporosis can affect men and women; it’s most common, though, in a post-menopausal woman due to the hormonal changes which alter bone density.

mum reassuring child.

Symptoms.

The first stages have no noticeable symptoms as it gradually appears. Only until the bones are weakening to a certain level. Then the symptoms can include:

  • Due to the collapse of the vertebra or fracture, you will have pain in the back.
  • Your posture will be stooped; you will not be able to stand up straight.
  • Your height will gradually decrease.
  • The bones will be brittle and fracture easily.

Causes.

New bones are made quicker in a young body, increasing bone mass. But in older bones, the replenishment process slows down, which means that when we get older, we lose the bone mass faster than it is made. Therefore, bones will break easier in the elderly.

The chances of osteoporosis developing in older age don’t mean that every older person will develop this.

It depends on some factors, such as:

  • If the bone mass was reached whilst a child.
  • A woman is more likely to develop osteoporosis.
  • When you become elderly, the bone mass decreases with age.
  • People that are Asian descent are at high risk.
  • You may be at high risk if your parent or sibling has osteoporosis.
  • If you have a small bone structure, you tend to have a lower peak bone mass level.
  • If you don’t eat much calcium, then this may lead to lesser bone density and early bone loss.
  • Another weakening of the bones could be unhealthy weight.
  • Gastrointestinal surgery is known to lessen the patient’s ability to absorb nutrients like calcium, therefore lowering bone mass.
  • Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis - child crying
  • Specific medications like steroids used over time can impair the production of new bones.
  • Other medical conditions such as celiac disease, kidney or liver disease, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are all high risks of developing osteoporosis.
  • Also, living a bad lifestyle can increase the risk, such as drinking too much alcohol or smoking can weaken bones over time.
  • Treatment.

    When you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it will help if you speak to your scoliosis doctor about the safe exercise method. It would be best if you avoided high-impact exercises affecting bones and joints.

    You may be taken for an x-ray which shows wedges or compression fractures. The doctor can also rule out other conditions like metabolic bone diseases, infections, or benign bone tumours.

    Conclusion.

    While there is a low bone mass in children with scoliosis, there are suggestions that a link between osteoporosis and scoliosis, and the connection could be either direct or indirect has not been determined.

    The degeneration of scoliosis in adults can have a risk of causing osteoporosis, as the symptom has a potentially adverse effect, on the overall health and movements of the spine by weakening the bones, resulting in prone to injury and misalignment.

    I hope this article has helped you. Please subscribe to my website, and I will keep you updated on new blogs. Also, if you need to know anything about arthritis, please go to my contact page and leave a message, and I will get back to you.

    In the meantime, if this post is informative, I’d be very grateful if you’d help your friends or family if they have a similar condition to tell them. So please share it on Twitter or Facebook or send them an email.

    I am not a medical professional, and this blog is for information only. If you have any worries you should consult your doctor.

    I hope this blog has helped.

    Linda Rook

    Linda is now retired and has suffered from Osteoarthritis for about 40+ years.  She struggled with her weight until she found the correct one that also helped with her arthritic pain.  Linda was in terrible pain until the physician thought her right hip needed replacement. 


    Now Linda has an artificial right hip, which has left her with the left leg shorter than the right.  Therefore, her spine is now wonky, and has arthritis of the lower back, also it seems to be going all over the body, her pain is now in the knees, elbow, wrist, fingers and both hips.


    Linda now spends her days writing information to help others with the same conditions, so they do not suffer like Linda.


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