Scoliosis is a progressive condition that does not have a cure, meaning it does not simply disappear over time. However, with early detection and a proactive treatment plan, scoliosis can be effectively managed. In children, scoliosis poses the risk of rapid progression, underscoring the importance of timely intervention.

While scoliosis primarily affects children, it can also impact adults. The most prevalent form of childhood scoliosis is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), which necessitates consistent treatment to prevent further advancement of the condition.

Given the diverse nature of this childhood condition, understanding the various types is crucial for tailored treatment approaches. Each type may require different management strategies to address its specific characteristics and progression patterns. By distinguishing between the different forms of childhood scoliosis, healthcare professionals can develop personalized treatment plans that aim to mitigate the condition’s effects and promote spinal health in affected individuals.

childhood scoliosis is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

Scoliosis By Age

Scoliosis is a spinal condition that can impact individuals of all ages, from infants to the elderly. It is characterized by an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine, often accompanied by rotation. When diagnosing it, healthcare professionals further classify the condition based on various important variables. These classifications play a crucial role in tailoring treatment plans to suit each patient’s specific needs.

One key variable in classifying scoliosis is the age of the patient. Age is particularly significant when considering the progression of the condition and the level of pain experienced. For instance, in children and adolescents it may require different treatment approaches compared to cases in adults due to factors such as bone growth and development.

Another essential classification aspect is the degree of curvature present in the spine. The severity of the curve, as measured in degrees, helps determine the type of treatment required. Mild cases may only necessitate monitoring over time, while more severe curves may call for spinal bracing or scoliosis surgery to prevent further progression and alleviate symptoms.

Furthermore, identifying the underlying cause of scoliosis is crucial for effective management. While most cases are classified as idiopathic (without a known cause), it can also be caused by conditions such as congenital disabilities, neuromuscular disorders, or degenerative diseases. Understanding the root cause aids in developing targeted treatment strategies that address both the curvature of the spine and any underlying issues contributing to the problem.

In conclusion, proper classification is based on variables like age, degree of curvature, and underlying causes is essential for creating personalized treatment plans that optimize outcomes and improve quality of life for individuals affected by this condition.

As a progressive condition, it in its nature to get worse over time, and while we don’t always know what triggers the initial onset in children, we do know what triggers its progression: growth.

Growth and development is what makes scoliosis get worse, so young patients who have not yet reached skeletal maturity are facing the constant trigger of growth.

So in childhood cases, we know a focus of treatment is counteracting the condition’s progressive nature.

Patient age is also important in terms of pain because it doesn’t become a compressive condition until skeletal maturity has been reached, and it’s compression of the spine and its surrounding muscles and nerves that causes the majority of condition-related pain.

So patient age also tells me whether or not pain management is likely to be needed as a focus of treatment, and whether or not rapid-phase progression is a risk.

In children, the main effect of scoliosis is postural deviation, and in adults, it’s pain: back pain and pain that radiates into the extremities due to nerve compression.

Let’s now explore some characteristics of the different types of childhood scoliosis.

Congenital Scoliosis

Congenital scoliosis cases are uncommon, occurring in approximately 1 out of 1,000 births, with babies being born with the condition due to a malformed spine developing in the womb. This can result in misshapen vertebrae or fused vertebral bodies. Infants with this condition require thorough evaluation and monitoring for other bodily malformations. The condition typically deteriorates as the child grows, necessitating tailored treatment plans to manage the unique challenges presented by young patients. Treatment may involve a mix of physical therapy, casting, or in some cases, surgical intervention.

Congenital Scoliosis

Infantile Scoliosis

Infantile scoliosis typically occurs in children aged 6 months to 3 years and is often of unknown cause. While some cases may resolve spontaneously, predicting the outcome is uncertain. Taking a proactive approach to treatment can be advantageous as the condition may worsen as the child grows. Treatment options may include gentle chiropractic care, physical therapy, and corrective bracing.

Early-Onset Juvenile Scoliosis

Early-onset juvenile scoliosis typically occurs in children aged between 3 and 10 years, emphasizing the critical role of timely treatment in this age range. Early intervention before the first major growth spurt can significantly impact the condition’s progression. Treatment approaches may involve chiropractic care, physical therapy, bracing, and rehabilitation. Initiating treatment during the mild stages, before substantial progression, can be advantageous, although successful outcomes are not guaranteed.

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), typically diagnosed between 10 and 18 years old, is the most common form of the condition. This age group faces a higher risk of rapid progression due to the unpredictable growth spurts during puberty, which introduce uneven forces to the body, disrupting symmetry and leading to postural changes. Early signs in adolescents often manifest as uneven shoulders and hips, alongside other changes such as shoulder blade asymmetry, rib arch development, an uneven waistline, and apparent differences in the length of arms and legs. Watch out for alterations in balance, coordination, gait, and clothing fit as potential indicators of related postural changes.

Scoliosis won’t simply go away on its own and kids won’t “outgrow” it. Especially not when rapid-phase progression is a risk; the goal of treatment is to achieve a significant curvature reduction and hold it there, despite the constant trigger of growth.

As this is the condition’s most-prevalent type, let’s focus on the topic of AIS treatment.

Get Smart. Start ScoliSMART

Schedule your no-cost, no-obligation phone or Zoom consultation online with a ScoliSMART physician. Visit the ScoliSMART BootCamp page and click the “Schedule Online” button at the top of the page. Then select the best date and time to connect with a physician. Schedule your consultation right here!

Treating Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

When it comes to dealing with scoliosis, it is important to note that while the condition cannot be cured due to its progressive nature, it can be effectively managed. Detecting it early does not guarantee successful treatment, but it does enhance the chances of a positive outcome. Scoliosis becomes more challenging to treat as it advances, underscoring the importance of proactive treatment. Monitoring the progression of the curvature and observing how the spine reacts to growth and treatment is crucial. Adjusting treatment plans based on X-ray results is part of the process. At ScoliSMART Clinics, patients benefit from a proactive conservative treatment approach. Initiating treatment soon after diagnosis is optimal as the curvature is easiest to manage during its early stages. Treating small curves is simpler than large curves, and as the curve worsens, the curve size and its effects also increase.

Progression can lead to increased rigidity in the spine, making it less responsive to treatment and challenging for some patients to perform specific therapeutic exercises. Addressing the curvature primarily involves structural methods, such as reducing curvature through condition-specific exercise programs. Techniques and manual adjustments aim to realign the most-tilted vertebrae of the curve with the rest of the spine. Once structural improvements are observed, the focus can shift to enhancing core strength to strengthen the surrounding muscles and provide better spine support. Additionally, physical therapy and specific exercises can target muscle imbalances, enhance posture, and promote improved brain-body communication.

The ScoliSMART Activity Suit is a specialized treatment option that has shown particular effectiveness on growing spines, making it a common feature in the treatment of childhood curves. In addition to the Activity Suit, further stabilization and healing of the spine often require ongoing back exercises. Home rehabilitation can help maintain spinal alignment and mobility, supporting the overall health of the spine.

Moreover, a series of custom-prescribed home exercises are typically recommended to complement in-office treatments and promote spinal rehabilitation from the comfort of one’s home. These exercises are tailored to address specific issues related to scoliosis and aim to strengthen supportive muscles, improve flexibility, and prevent further curvature progression.

Combining the use of the ScoliSMART Activity Suit, regular chiropractic care, and dedicated home exercise routines can form a comprehensive approach to managing the problem in children. This multi-faceted strategy not only targets the existing curvature but also focuses on preventing future complications and promoting overall spinal health into adulthood.

ScoliSMART Activity Suit


So can kids outgrow scoliosis? The complexity of the answer lies in the rarity of it resolving on its own, especially in infants. Each case is unique. During adolescence, it’s diagnosed in childhood is likely to progress due to the unpredictable growth spurts of puberty. It is challenging to predict which cases will resolve spontaneously and which will worsen over time, making proactive treatment crucial. Childhood scoliosis can be a progressive condition that tends to deteriorate eventually. The initial severity of the curvature at diagnosis may determine its future progression; proactive treatment is essential to counter its progressive nature. Mild childhood curvatures should be taken seriously, as it can advance to moderate or severe levels.

Taking proactive measures is key to minimizing its effects. At ScoliSMART clinics, we focus on providing proactive treatment responses that aim to preserve long-term spinal strength and function for our patients. By addressing scoliosis early on and implementing effective treatment plans, we strive to enhance the quality of life for individuals dealing with this condition. Our approach not only targets symptom management but also emphasizes the importance of maintaining overall spinal health for the future. Through personalized care and specialized interventions, we work towards optimizing outcomes and promoting the well-being of those affected by scoliosis.