As a parent, your child’s health and well-being are always a top priority. So when you hear the term “scoliosis” for the first time, it can be concerning. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you understand what scoliosis is and the best treatment options available for kids. In this blog, we will start by explaining what scoliosis is and how it affects children. We’ll also discuss the common signs and symptoms to look out for so you can catch it early. Next, we’ll dive into diagnosing a spinal curvature in children, including the different types that exist. But the real question on your mind is probably about treatment options. We’ve got you covered there too. We’ll explore both non-surgical treatments, such as Scoliosis Boot Camp, physical therapy, and spinal bracing, as well as surgical options for severe cases. Of course, we know you may have concerns about potential risks and complications. That’s why we’ll address those too, covering both non-surgical treatment risks and potential complications of spinal fusion surgery. Lastly, we’ll talk about the important role family plays in supporting a child during treatment and how parents can provide the necessary support. By the end of this blog, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of scoliosis in kids and be equipped with knowledge to make informed decisions about their treatment.


Understanding Scoliosis in Kids

This condition that affects children, causing an abnormal curvature of the spine. It is important to understand the different types of treatment options available for kids. Each treatment option has its benefits and potential risks. Choosing the best treatment option for your child should be based on their individual needs and circumstances. Early detection and intervention are crucial for successful treatment in children. By taking proactive measures, such as regular physical exams and X-rays, you can ensure that your child receives the appropriate treatment at the right time.

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition where the spine has an abnormal curvature, which can lead to a deformity. It commonly develops in children and adolescents during growth spurts. Signs of scoliosis include uneven shoulders, a tilted waist, or one hip higher than the other. In severe cases, the curvature can affect the rib cage and cause breathing difficulties. The pelvis is also often affected by scoliosis, which can cause further complications.

Common Signs and Symptoms

Common signs and symptom in kids during adolescence include uneven shoulders or hips, back pain or discomfort, visible curvature of the spine, limited range of motion or difficulty with certain movements, and clothing not fitting properly or appearing uneven on the body. These indicators may vary in severity and can affect a child’s posture and overall quality of life. It is important to pay attention to these signs and seek appropriate scoliosis treatment options, such as physical therapy or bracing, to prevent further curve progression and improve the child’s well-being.

Diagnosing Scoliosis in Children

Understanding the signs and symptoms in children is essential for early detection of mild scoliosis and diagnosis. Physical examination and observation of the child’s posture are crucial diagnostic tools. Additional diagnostic tests, such as X-rays and measuring the spinal curve using the Cobb angle, help confirm scoliosis and determine its severity. Physical therapy and exercise play a significant role in managing spinal curves in kids by improving posture, increasing strength, and reducing pain. Treatment with any approach is important it be diagnosed and treated early, as untreated spine curves can lead to long-term effects and complications that affect a child’s quality of life.


Different Types of Scoliosis

Different types of scoliosis can affect children, each with its own causes and characteristics. The most common type is idiopathic scoliosis, which is believed to be caused by genetic factors. Congenital scoliosis is present at birth due to abnormal spine development. Neuromuscular scoliosis is linked to conditions like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. Syndromic scoliosis occurs as a symptom of an underlying syndrome or disorder. Early diagnosis and understanding the specific type of scoliosis, including bone maturity, are crucial for effective treatment and management, especially during puberty.

How Effective are Current Scoliosis Treatments for Kids?

Current treatments for kids can effectively prevent further progression of the spinal curvature. Non-surgical options like bracing and Scoliosis Boot Camp help manage the condition and improve posture, providing conservative treatment. Surgery may be necessary in severe cases to fuse the spinal curvature and prevent complications. Monitoring and early intervention are crucial for successful outcomes.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

Non-surgical treatment options offer a comprehensive approach to manage the condition and improve quality of life. Scoliosis Boot Camp is a holistic program that combines exercises, supplements, and chiropractic adjustments. Physical therapy focuses on general exercises and stretches to strengthen muscles and improve posture, including Schroth exercises. Bracing is another option that hopes to manage the condition and prevent curve progression. Yoga and Pilates can enhance flexibility, posture, and overall spinal health. Massage therapy, such as deep tissue massage, can provide relief from pain and tension in the muscles surrounding the spine.

Scoliosis Boot Camp

Scoliosis Boot Camp provides a comprehensive approach to non-surgical treatment for children with a curvature of the spine. The program incorporates exercises, stretches, and nutrient therapies to improve spinal curvature and strengthen back muscles. It is designed to be fun and engaging, making it easier for kids to adhere to the treatment plan. Regular participation in boot camp can help prevent or reduce the need for surgery. The effectiveness of the boot camp depends on curve flexibility and consistent participation.  It is more current than Schroth method, and is a specialized exercise program for scoliosis treatment.


Online consultation scheduling is available!

Now it’s even easier to connect with 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!

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy plays a crucial role in the treatment in children with early-onset scoliosis. By improving mobility, strength, and posture, physical therapy can help correct spinal alignment and alleviate lower back pain. Tailored to suit individual needs, physical therapy sessions are essential for long-term management of activities of daily living. Physical therapists prescribe exercises and stretching that target specific muscles and areas affected. Regular sessions can make a significant difference in a child’s quality of life, allowing them to maintain an active lifestyle and prevent further curve progression.


Bracing is a commonly used non-surgical treatment for children with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. It hopes prevent the progression of moderate scoliosis and promotes better alignment. The type and duration of bracing depend on the severity of the curvature and the child’s growth stage. It is most effective when started early and worn consistently as prescribed by the orthotist. Regular check-ups and adjustments are necessary to ensure the brace fits properly and provides optimal support. By following these recommendations, bracing can help manage the condition and improve the quality of life for children with lumbar spine issues.

Surgical Treatment for Severe Cases

Surgery is often recommended when other non-surgical options haven’t been effective or when the curvature of the spine is severe and likely to worsen, such as in cases of severe scoliosis. There are different types of surgical procedures available, including spinal fusion and vertebral body tethering. While surgery can be effective in correcting the degree of curvature, there are potential risks and complications to consider, particularly those related to the thorax. The recovery process after surgery can vary, but it usually involves a hospital stay and a period of rehabilitation. Success rates of surgical treatment for severe curve cases in children are generally high, with many patients experiencing significant improvement in their quality of life.

When is Surgery Necessary?

Surgery may become necessary when the spine’s curvature reaches 50 degrees or more. It may also be recommended if the curve continues to progress despite other treatments. Factors like age, overall health, and potential complications are considered. Consult a pediatric orthopedic specialist for your child’s specific case.


What Does Scoliosis Surgery Involve?

Fusion surgery in the United States involves the use of metal rods, screws, and hooks to correct the curvature of the spine. During the procedure, incisions are made in the back to access the spine, and the rods are attached to straighten it. Bone grafts may also be used for stability and fusion of the vertebrae. The surgery is typically performed in the coronal plane, which is the vertical plane that divides the body into front and back sections.

Potential Risks and Complications of Scoliosis Treatment

While treatments can be effective in managing and reducing spinal curvature, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and complications that may arise. Surgical intervention carries certain risks, including infection, bleeding, nerve damage, and spinal cord injury. Wearing a brace can be uncomfortable and may cause skin irritation or pressure sores. Compliance with wearing the brace for the recommended number of hours per day can also be challenging for some children. Treatment, including manual therapy, can have a psychological impact on children, as they may feel self-conscious about wearing a brace or undergoing surgery. Regular monitoring and follow-up care are essential to address any long-term effects, such as limited spinal flexibility or reduced lung capacity. It’s crucial to provide emotional support throughout the treatment process to ensure the best possible outcome for children.

Risks Associated with Non-Surgical Treatments

Non-surgical treatments come with a low risk of complications. However, there are some risks associated with these treatments. Some patients may experience discomfort or pain during the treatment process. For example, non-surgical treatments like bracing can cause skin irritation or muscle atrophy. In rare cases, non-surgical treatments may not effectively correct the curvature of the spine, requiring further intervention. It’s essential to discuss these potential risks and complications with a healthcare professional before beginning any treatment.

Potential Complications of Scoliosis Surgery

Surgery, although a treatment option for severe cases, does come with potential complications. These complications can include infection, blood clots, nerve damage, and implant failure according to the Scoliosis Research Society. It is crucial for patients undergoing spinal surgery to be closely monitored during and after the procedure for any signs of complications. The risk of these complications varies depending on factors such as the type of surgery and the individual patient. Before making a decision about surgery, it is important for patients and their families to discuss the potential risks and complications with their healthcare provider. In some cases, non-surgical options may be recommended to minimize the risk of complications associated with surgery.


The Role of Family in Scoliosis Treatment

Family plays a crucial role in a child’s treatment journey. Emotional support from parents and siblings can significantly impact the child’s well-being. Family members can also actively participate in physical therapy exercises and home care, helping the child maintain posture and adhere to treatment protocols. Moreover, family dynamics influence the child’s motivation and commitment to treatment. Parents have a critical role in advocating for their child’s needs and communicating with healthcare professionals, ensuring the best possible outcomes. By fostering a supportive and encouraging environment, families contribute immensely to the success of treatment.