Crawl Walk Jump Run Blog


Scoliosis is defined by a deformity of the spine. The spine will present with a side to side curvature and can either be S-shaped or C-shaped. A child with scoliosis may appear to be leaning to one side.

Read more to find out more about scoliosis in children and some of the ways in which it can be treated!

What causes scoliosis?

With most cases of scoliosis, the cause is unknown. However, a child may be born with it or he or she could develop it later on in life. Below are some possible causes of scoliosis:

  • Nervous system disorders like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy 
  • Inherited conditions that tend to run in families
  • Differences in leg lengths
  • Injury
  • Infection
  • Tumors

Neuromuscular scoliosis is most common here at Crawl Walk Jump Run. This type of scoliosis generally progresses more rapidly than idiopathic scoliosis and often requires surgical treatment. 

What are the symptoms of scoliosis in a child?

These are the most common symptoms of scoliosis:

  • Difference in shoulder height
  • The head not centered with the rest of the body
  • Difference in hip height or position
  • Difference in shoulder blade height or position
  • Difference in the way the arms hang beside the body when the child stands straight
  • Difference in the height of the sides of the back when the child bends forward

How is scoliosis diagnosed in a child?

Your child’s healthcare provider can diagnose scoliosis with a complete health history of your child and a physical exam. Your child may also need these tests:

  • X-rays. This test makes images of internal tissues, bones, and organs. It’s the main tool for diagnosing scoliosis. It measures the degree of spinal curvature.
  • MRI. This test uses a combination of large magnets and a computer to make detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
  • CT scan. This test uses X-rays and a computer to make detailed images of the body.

How is scoliosis treated in a child?

Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

The goal of treatment is to stop the curve from getting worse and prevent deformity. Treatment may include:

  • Observation and repeated exams. Your child will need to see his or her healthcare provider often to check on the curve of his or her spine. Whether the curve gets worse depends on the amount of skeletal growth, or how skeletally mature your child is. Curving of the spine often slows down or stops after a child reaches puberty.
  • Bracing. If your child is still growing, he or she may need a brace for some time.
  • Surgery. Your child may need surgery when the curve measures 45 degrees or more on an X-ray and bracing has not slowed down the progression of the curve.
  • Physical Therapy. If your child is in therapy, some main goals of therapy would be to prevent progression of the curve, increase muscle tissue length, strengthen surrounding musculature as well as educate the patient on posture.

If you or a loved one is in need of physical, occupational, or speech therapy call our front office today at 586-323-2957 to schedule your FREE 30 minute screening.

Written by: Brie Glombowski, PTA

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