Scoliosis is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. It is most often diagnosed in childhood or early adolescence.
“I have learned that early detection is the key to a good outcome,” says Amanda Wallace Street, Certified Prosthetist and Orthotist for CarePartners Orthotics & Prosthetics. “The key is to diagnose the scoliosis early, while the curve is still small and flexible. A brace can be used to promote improved balance and alignment.”
What are the signs and symptoms of scoliosis?
- Uneven shoulders, one or both shoulder blades may stick out
- Head is not centered directly above the pelvis
- One or both hips are raised or unusually high
- Rib cages are at different heights
- Waist is uneven
- Appearance or texture of the skin overlying the spine changes (dimples, hairy patches, color abnormalities)
- The entire body leans to one side
What causes scoliosis?
- Idiopathic, meaning no known cause
- Neuromuscular, can be due to muscle imbalances when high/low muscle tone in the trunk are an issue
- Congenital, due to birth malformations and abnormalities
How is scoliosis diagnosed?
“Typically, children are screened by their primary care doctor and are referred to an orthopedist, if a curve is detected. The primary age of onset for scoliosis is 10 – 15 years old,” says Amanda Street. “If parents notice any of the signs and symptoms mentioned, it is important that they contact their primary care physician and request a referral to an orthopedist, like Mission Pediatric Orthopedics.”
How is scoliosis treated?
In general, an orthosis is designed to straighten the spinal curve, while the patient is wearing the brace. For scoliosis, the brace is usually made of relatively thin plastic which is formed over a corrected model of the patient’s torso. Every brace is unique, as is every curve.
“CarePartners Orthotics & Prosthetics has an onsite lab where our fabrication technicians create and
adjust highly customized devices,” says Amanda Street. “Together we work as a team to monitor these cases and prevent the progression.”
CarePartners has decades of experience developing and fitting custom orthotic and prosthetic devices for patients. Using the latest technology, materials and research, CarePartners team of experts will work to help find a solution that is comfortable, easy to use and fits the lifestyle of each patient.
“While youngsters with this diagnosis may not be 100 percent stoked to get a brace, they usually do find hope in the fact that a 1/8” plastic shell on their torso, used for 2 – 4 years, can prevent a major surgery,” says Amanda Street. “Plus, I have fun getting to know these kids and watching them grow.”