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What is Scoliosis? 

Scoliosis is when a person’s spine twists and curves to the side. Most people do have a curved spine, but if the curve is more than 10 degrees, then the person is likely to be diagnosed with scoliosis.

Scoliosis is thought to affect around 4% of the UK population. When left untreated, severe cases of the condition can lead to many other health problems, such as:

  • Back pain
  • Balance and coordination issues
  • Trouble breathing
  • Visible changes and unevenness in the body
  • Cardiovascular problems

Scoliosis affects more women than men. It can affect people of any age, from babies to adults, but most often starts in children aged 10 to 15. 

Causes of Scoliosis

There are a variety of causes of scoliosis, including conditions such as cerebral palsy, Marfan syndrome, spinal injuries, infection or inflammation, differences in leg lengths and muscular dystrophy. Scoliosis can sometimes run in families. It is often difficult to pinpoint the cause of scoliosis in children. 

Healthcare professional examining a child’s back

Scoliosis Symptoms

Signs of scoliosis in children include:

  • A visibly curved spine
  • Leaning to one side
  • Uneven shoulders
  • One shoulder or hip sticking out
  • The ribs sticking out on one side
  • Clothes not fitting well
  • Pain in the lower back

Scoliosis Treatment

Scoliosis doesn’t normally improve without treatment, although for some very young children, it is possible for the spine to straighten as they grow. If the condition is mild, treatment of childhood scoliosis may not be needed, instead, monitoring may be suggested to check that the condition isn’t getting worse over time. 

For severe cases of scoliosis, there are some treatment options available. 

Doctor measuring the curvature of a spine on an X-ray

Treatment Options Include:

  • Wearing a cast (typically used in babies and toddlers)
  • Bracing (a rigid plastic shell is worn to prevent the curve from progressing further)
  • Spinal fusion (surgery involving metal rods to fix the spine in place)

Surgery is only recommended if the patient’s curve has progressed to an angle of 40 degrees or more. Often, children who have surgery under the age of 10 will have their rods removed when they stop growing. Children usually need to wear a back brace following surgery to protect their back.

The Scoliosis SOS Clinic provide the UK’s only non-surgical treatment clinic for scoliosis sufferers (as well as those with hyperkyphosis and other spinal conditions), using physiotherapy techniques to combat the effects of this condition. To find out more and to enquire about your child’s non-surgical scoliosis treatment, follow the link to their website:

How Tree of Hope Helps

We provide a fundraising platform for families wishing to raise funds for medical treatments that cannot be provided by the UK health service, including that for scoliosis.  By choosing to fundraise through Tree of Hope, you will gain access to Gift Aid, potential grants from Trusts and corporate donations. To find out more about how we can help your child, contact us today.

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