Frequently Asked Questions
My child has been diagnosed with scoliosis, but the doctor says not to worry, he will monitor her curve with a follow-up every 6 months. I’m still worried, what should I do ?
Usually there will be a “wait and observe” recommendation from doctors for mild curves. However, most often we find that if we have waited, the curve increases sometimes drastically to the point requiring surgery. Depending on your child’s age and the Risser level, curves can increase 15 to 30 degrees within a few months. Thus, it is best to address these curves while they are still small. Additional treatments such as physiotherapy and neuromuscular strengthening exercises could be done to relieve pain and improve posture. Do consult for a second opinion by contacting us or submitting the E-Consult Form online.
Will chiropractic treatment and/or exercises help my scoliosis?
Chiropractic treatment and exercises such as yoga or pilates alone may not help your scoliosis especially if you have a curve that is progressing. These treatments may be prescribed according to age of the patient, curve classification and severity of curvature to primarily strengthen the muscles and stabilize the curve from progressing.
What happens if no treatment is done? Will the curve get worse?
All scoliosis curves are at risk of increasing in a growing spine, but there are 2 risk factors that can strongly predict whether a scoliosis curve will get worst. These are young age and a larger curve at the time of diagnosis. Children younger than 10 years old with curves greater than approximately 35 degrees are more likely to worsen without treatment. Once the child has reached skeletal maturity, the spine stops growing hence it is rare in such case for a curve to progress rapidly.
My scoliosis was pain free when I was young, but I am suffering from back pain now.
If you are in pain or suspect that the pain could be due to a progressive curvature, please seek medical opinion or submit the E-Consult Form and we will contact and refer you for a consultation with a specialist.
Will scoliosis affect my ability to have children / from becoming pregnant? Will my children be at risk if I have scoliosis?
In several studies conducted, scoliosis has no adverse effects on the pregnancy nor the ability to have children. One major concern is the increased risk of progression of scoliosis during or for a period of time after pregnancy. Back pain and breathing problems can be significant in those with severe scoliosis. Doctors would recommend women who have undergone surgery for scoliosis to wait at least 6 months after surgery to become pregnant. Scoliosis may run in families as 30% of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients have a family history of scoliosis. Your children may be at risk. Start home screening with the Adam’s Forward Bend Test on them early from the age of 10 onwards. Consult your doctor or a spine specialist if you have noticed any abnormalities that requires a proper and accurate diagnosis through imaging tests such as X-rays.
My orthopaedic surgeon says my child needs surgery. Why and what type of surgery is performed?
Unfortunately approximately 6% of all scoliosis cases are likely to require surgery regardless of treatments used. Surgery should be the last treatment option for scoliosis cases with alternative methods such as soft or hard bracing having been done with the aim of stabilizing the curve or delaying surgery until the requirements of surgery are met. Surgery is recommended when the scoliosis is severe (increasingly large curves) and progressing rapidly and/or with a prominent trunk deformity.
The purpose of surgery to treat scoliosis is to stop the curve progression, reduce deformity and to avoid severe consequences on respiratory and heart functions which could develop in the future in severe cases. A spinal fusion surgery is usually performed by attaching metal rods, hooks or screws to the curved spine and a vertebral fusion is done to stop growth in the abnormal segment and straighten the spine. The region of the spine that has been operated on or fused becomes rigid; this usually has no major consequences to the patient’s daily life but inevitably there is some restriction of movement due to the lack of flexibility in the spine.
Does bad posture and carrying heavy books and bags cause scoliosis?
Bad posture and heavy bags do not cause scoliosis. Scoliosis may be the reason that your child is having bad posture especially leaning on one side. Heavy bags will however cause back pain if your child is carrying too much weight and the bag is not carried in a proper position.