New York Spine Institute Spine Services

What Causes Scoliosis in Children?  

What Causes Scoliosis in Children?  
Alexa Forman DNP, FNP-BC

What Causes Scoliosis in Children?  

By: Alexa Forman DNP, FNP-BC

As Co-Director, Alexa works closely with Center Director Dr. Peter Passias, a world-renowned spinal surgeon. Alexa works closely with every family and patient. Patients are always informed and treated with respect and dignity. Patients have access to doctors and staff any time before, during and after procedures. For all patients, especially those with severe or chronic conditions, the Center’s staff is committed to lifetime support and care.

Scoliosis is a spine condition caused by a side-to-side curve along the vertebrae. As kids grow, scoliosis may develop as a slight S- or C-shaped curvature in their spines. Though it’s most likely to occur in patients ages 10-18, scoliosis is a condition that parents and pediatric doctors should have their eye on throughout childhood.

Though there’s no singular cause of scoliosis, there are a few warning signs to pay attention to throughout your child’s growth. Understanding the symptoms of scoliosis in kids is key to preventing a worsening condition.

Most Cases of Scoliosis in Children Have No Known Cause

Children with scoliosis may experience their first symptoms before, during or after their growth spurt. In about 85% of child scoliosis cases, there is no known cause. Your child’s spine specialist may point to any of the following causes:

  • Genetic conditions
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Past injury
  • Infection
  • Tumors
  • Different leg lengths

Due to the range of potential causes, there are no distinct prevention methods. However, once a child is diagnosed with scoliosis, there is a wide range of treatment possibilities.

Treating Scoliosis in Children

When diagnosed early, scoliosis is a manageable and treatable condition. Depending on your child’s age, general health and severity of symptoms, we may recommend any of the following treatments:

  • Monitoring symptoms: Most children with mild cases of scoliosis can prevent worsening conditions by going to frequent checkups with their specialists. As we observe your child’s growth, we can make decisions based on their developing symptoms.
  • Back brace: Back braces assist growing children with any painful scoliosis symptoms. These devices also help prevent any further degrees of curvature in the spine.
  • Surgery: Some severe cases of child scoliosis may require spine surgery if the curve is greater than 45 degrees. 

Early Signs of Scoliosis

It’s crucial to keep an eye out for early signs and symptoms to prevent severe cases of scoliosis in kids. Take note of any comments your child makes about back pain, and visit a specialist if you notice any of the following signs:

  • Shoulder or shoulder blade height differences
  • Child’s head is not centered on body
  • Hip positioning differences
  • Arms hanging unevenly at child’s sides
  • Difference in height of sides of back when bending forward

Do You Think Your Child Might Have Scoliosis?

If you suspect any symptoms of child scoliosis, the best thing you can do is schedule a screening. At New York Spine Institute, we treat children and adults across the tri-state area with appropriate spinal care. To learn more about your child’s risk of scoliosis, request an appointment at any of our treatment centers in your area!