5 Interesting Facts About Scoliosis

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine that is usually seen in children between 10-15 years of age during the growth spurt just prior to the onset of puberty. About 2-4% of people in the US are affected by this condition. Scoliosis Awareness Month is celebrated in the month of June to help raise awareness regarding the diagnosis and treatment of scoliosis.

Here are 5 interesting facts about scoliosis:

  • Scoliosis is not caused due to bad posture. The most common type of scoliosis is idiopathic scoliosis, which means scoliosis due to unknown causes. Although the exact cause of scoliosis is unclear, it may be caused due to a combination of genetic factors and environmental triggers such as trauma, malnutrition, infection, or hormone changes.
  • There is a 30% chance that you might have scoliosis if someone in your family has it. In the early stages of the disease, symptoms may be mild and difficult to identify. You should pay close attention to visual cues such as uneven posture, a shoulder blade sticking out, one hip being more pronounced, or clothes hanging unevenly on the body.
  • Girls are more at risk for developing scoliosis. According to research studies, scoliosis occurs 10 times more often in girls than boys above the age of 10. The chances of the spinal curvature worsening are also 8 times more likely in girls.
  • Most types of scoliosis are mild and do not require treatment with braces or surgery. Your doctor will usually recommend checkups every 4-5 months to monitor the condition if scoliosis is mild. Early intervention with a program of exercises is one of the most exciting advances in effective scoliosis management.
  • Early detection is the key. Currently, less than half the states in the US require scoliosis screening in schools. If scoliosis is left undetected, it can lead to chronic back pain and interfere with heart and lung function. It is vital for parents, teachers, and healthcare professionals to be taught to identify early signs of scoliosis.

Visit your Scoliosis & Spine Correction Clinic if you notice signs of scoliosis in your child. The sooner the condition is diagnosed, the better are the chances of effective treatment.

11 Subtle Signs Of Scoliosis To Watch Out For

You’d think back pain would be the most obvious sign of scoliosis, but there are plenty more subtle, seemingly unrelated symptoms to watch out for, too. Most of them don’t seem like a big deal, on paper. But since a curvature of your spine can impact the rest of your health by throwing your whole body out of alignment, experts say paying attention these potential signs is important.

“Scoliosis is … a term used to describe a spinal deformity, which presents as a sideways curve in the spine,” Dr Kevin Lau, chiropractic doctor and director of Scoliosis & Spine Correction Center. “A typical spine is perfectly vertical, as if a line was drawn with a ruler on a piece of paper. But when scoliosis occurs, the spine can curve both ways, creating an S shape.”

Some people with scoliosis have a mild case, and thus don’t notice a curve, or any resulting symptoms. But if your curve is more severe, it can lead to pain, discomfort, walking issues, and even breathing issues. If you notice any of the subtle symptoms below, talk with your doctor. They will do an X-ray to determine if you do, in fact, have scoliosis, and prescribe some helpful treatment options from there.

1. One Of Your Shoulders Is Higher Than The Other

An easy way to spot scoliosis is by simply looking in the mirror, standing up straight, and checking to see if one of your shoulders appears to be higher than the other. “The appearance of uneven shoulders is a common symptom of … scoliosis sufferers,” says Anand. It often begins in childhood during a growth spurt, where the curvature of the spine shifts the natural alignment of the shoulders. “As a result, one shoulder blade appears more prominent than the other,” he says. Or, one shoulder may be higher.

2. Your Rib Cage Pops Out More On One Side

Along with uneven shoulders, you might notice that your rib cage pops out more on one side, causing an “uneven” look to your body. “This is due to the abnormal curve of the spine,” Dr Kevin Lau, chiropractic doctor and director of Scoliosis & Spine Correction Center. “When a scoliosis is present, the spinal curve shifts laterally, or to the side. This creates a change in the associated structures, such as the pelvis and the ribcage, giving the uneven appearance.”

3. One Of Your Legs Seems Shorter Than The Other

If your spine is curved, it may “cinch” up one side of your body, causing one leg to appear shorter than the other. As Dr Lau says, you might notice that your pant legs always seem to be uneven, or that one hem trails on the floor, while the other doesn’t. This is, again, may be due to the shift in your spine, and the resulting unevenness in your body.

4. Your Shirts Are Always Wrinkly On One Side

Of course, clothing wrinkles don’t automatically mean scoliosis, but if you catch yourself constantly smoothing the back of your shirts, it could be a very subtle sign of scoliosis. For example, you’ll see a lot of wrinkles … on the low back on the right side, then some bunching up higher up on the back on the left side.
This could be due, in part, to the fact scoliosis may cause a “hump” in your back, where one side sticks out further than the other. If that hump is causing your shirt to rub on on your chair all day, but only on one side, you’ll likely notice more wrinkles in that area.

5. One Sleeve Is Always Longer Than The Other

If you haven’t noticed much of a difference in your pant legs, you might notice that one shirt sleeve is always longer than the other, regardless of the size you buy.
“This could be due to a number or reasons,” Dr Lau says. “First off, depending on the location of the curve, your shoulders may be uneven with one being higher or lower than the other. The location of the curve may also cause winging of the scapula or shoulder blade. Winging occurs when the scapula does not lay flat along the rib cage and sticks out slightly. These postural changes may cause the appearance that one sleeve is shorter than the other, or in the case of winging that the shirt appears tighter one one side compared to the other.”

If you feel like you’re constantly tugging on one sleeve, a trip to the doctor (and an X-ray) can help you figure out if it’s all due to scoliosis, which then can be treated right away.

6. Your Shoes Wear More On One Side Than The Other

Since a curved spine shifts your pelvis, it can throw your whole gait out of alignment, causing you to walk unevenly. “This change in the hips can … effect the wear on a patient’s shoes,” says Dr Lau. “Because of the change in length of the leg, the stride associated with their gait may either lengthen or shorten, causing increased wear and tear on the shoe itself. Look for scuffs on the toes or excessive wearing at the back of the heel.”

7. It Feels Awkward To Carry A Purse Or Backpack

If your back is curved, and one side of your body is lower than the other, it can cause subtle changes in how your clothes hang, as well as how you carry a purse or backpack. For instance, instead of noting that one shoulder is higher than the other … it may be noted that a purse or backpack strap continually slides off one shoulder and not off the other due to a shoulder imbalance.

So take note if you have a preference for holding a bag on one side and not the other, or are constantly readjusting your bag as you walk. And if you think scoliosis is to blame, speak with your doctor to find out more.

8. Sometimes You Feel “Off” When You Walk

Again, due to the gait issues associated with scoliosis, you might notice that you feel “off” while walking or running. Or, you (or a friend, or a doctor) might also notice that you don’t swing your arms in a common way.

When walking, a person with scoliosis will not swing their arms equally. Often in scoliosis because of both the rotation and the decreased arm-to-waist space on the convex side or the side that curves outward, it can affect arm swing with gait and running tasks.

If anything of this rings true, be sure to speak with a doctor, who can better confirm your suspicions and give you a diagnosis.

9. You Have Chronic Muscle Pain

If your body is even slightly out of alignment, it can lead to some unpleasant aches and pains — and possibly ones that have yet to be treatable.

Over time, scoliosis can cause muscular imbalances around the spine that can create chronically tight or weak muscles. Oftentimes, these muscles are not as responsive to treatment. So if you’ve tried everything to feel better, and can’t quite get to the bottom of things, have your doctor check for scoliosis. It may be why you’ve been feeling so bad.

10. You Always Lean To One Side While You Stand

While it’s comfortable to bend your knee and lean a bit while you stand, take note if you’re constantly putting more weight on one leg than the other. “Scoliosis creates pelvic imbalances which often facilitate asymmetrical standing with more weight on one foot, or always standing with one foot behind the other,” says Dr Kevin Lau. ‘To be consistent with scoliosis, it must always be the same leg that you have increased weight bearing through.”

11. It’s Been Slightly Difficult For You To Breathe

If you feel a little bit uncomfortable when you take a deep breath, or sometimes feel a bit “smothered,” it could be due to an uneven spine. “You might struggle to take a deep breath as the scoliosis might limit your rib cage expansion,” If that’s the case for you, reach out to a doctor.

There are plenty of ways to manage scoliosis, and plenty of ways to feel better. “Most mild scoliotic curves can be conservatively managed with chiropractic care, physical therapy, or postural braces, or a combination of all of the above,” Dr Lau says. “Manual chiropractic adjustments, stretches, and strengthening exercises in conjunction with a supportive brace can help to reduce the effects of the curvature in adults and can help minimize the advance of the curve in adolescents.”
And the earlier you can catch these signs, and begin treatment, the better. “Since the skeletal system stops growing between 25 to 30 years of age, it is important to prescribe exercises that can help reduce pressure on the muscles and bones associated with the spinal column.” Speak with your doctor if you are experiencing any of these signs consistently, and they will help you manage your symptoms.

Effective therapeutic control of curve progression using calcium and vitamin D supplementation for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis - a randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled trial

Bone Abstracts (2017) 6 OC8 | DOI: 10.1530/boneabs.6.OC8
Objectives: Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) is associated with low bone mass. This study aimed at evaluating the therapeutic effect and its determinants of Ca+Vit-D supplementation in improving bone strength and preventing curve progression in AIS.

Methods: This was a randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled trial recruiting AIS girls (11–14 years old, Tanner stage50 nmol/l (N=29), no difference on curve progression was noted. For those with baseline dietary calcium intake ≤1000 mg/day (N=109), 19.0% progressed in Group 3 as compared with 54.3% in Group 1 (P=0.001). For those with calcium intake>1000 mg/day (N=23), no difference on curve progression was noted.

Table 1 Mean changes on serum 25(OH)Vit-D level and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) parameters at 2-year for Group 1, 2 and 3.

Conclusion: The results of this study provide strong evidences that calcium+Vit-D supplementation can improve bone strength in AIS. Its therapeutic effect on preventing curve progression is correlated with increase in FEA parameters, low baseline 25(OH)Vit-D level and low baseline dietary calcium intake.

Funding Source Pfizer Inc (IIRGrant:WI174540). (ClinicalTrials.gov-Identifier: NCT01103115).

Disclosure: The authors declared no competing interests.

Parents’ Roles in Helping Their Children with Scoliosis

Parents can find it overwhelming if their child is diagnosed with scoliosis. Both Mom and Dad may experience stress. And, they may have a hard time coping with emotional and financial problems. If you have a child with scoliosis, it is important to handle the situation with care.

What Is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine. It often occurs during the growth spurt during the puberty period. In some cases, severe scoliosis can reduce the amount of space in one’s chest. As a result, the lungs don’t have enough space to function properly. Causes of scoliosis can be hereditary factors, birth defects, injuries of the spine or muscular dystrophy.

What Can Parents Do?

  • Research the Subject
  • If your adolescent or child has scoliosis, you need to be completely supportive. You should do your research. You can start to familiarize yourself with the symptoms, treatments, severity, and side-effects of the disorder. Even if you have feelings of uncertainty, don’t be afraid to ask the professionals for advice.

  • Understand your Child’s Emotional State and Situation
  • After initial feelings of shock, children might feel fear. When they learn that they have scoliosis, they might worry about how the disease will affect their social life. It might be scary for children to receive a different treatment because of scoliosis. As a parent, it is important to make them feel loved.

    Always remind your child that they are not different from other people. Make sure that you don’t let them feel isolated. Bring their closest friends to your house. You can also organize a family gathering. Encourage your child to interact with his or her cousins, uncles, aunts and other members of the family.

    If your child has a prominent spinal curve, he might worry about being seen in public. It is your duty as a parent to make your child comfortable in his own skin.

  • Be Decisive and Start Treatment as Early as Possible
  • Scoliosis needs treatment as soon as possible. About 70% of scoliosis progression occurs during the 3 years of puberty growth spurt. Doctors do not recommend watching and waiting when your child has scoliosis. A small curve can grow into a more chronic and bigger curve in a in less than 3 weeks! Look for early signs and symptoms of scoliosis. Make arrangements to see your doctor right away.

    If you suspect that your child has scoliosis, look for imbalances in the eyes, hips, or shoulders. It is very important to detect scoliosis early, especially if the disease runs as a hereditary factor in your family.

  • Look for Alternative Treatments
  • If you want safer and more effective treatment, don’t be afraid to look into alternative medicine. Many hospitals and medical practitioners apply invasive surgeries that are risky and once done your affected lifelong. You might want to look for better answers and make sure that your child receives the best non-invasive treatments first.

    What Makes Dr. Lau Different?
    Doctor Lau has known that he would dedicate his life to studying scoliosis since his brother was diagnosed with it and he saw how much pain he suffered. After receiving his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, he received a Master of Science Degree in Holistic Nutrition from the Clayton College of Natural Health in Birmingham, Alabama, and his thesis connected the importance of diet to the healing process of scoliosis. He practiced as a chiropractor and nutritionist in Singapore for many years before becoming the Clinic Director, Chiropractor and Nutritionist at the Scoliosis & Spine Correction Clinic in Singapore. He is a worldwide expert and has patients who come to him from all over the world. To date, he has treated millions of patients who are suffering from scoliosis as of this date.

    Dr. Lau has studied the causes of scoliosis around the world. He also studied the treatments administered to patients with the disease including:

    1. The scoliosis protocol, which does not involve drugs, injections, use of a brace, surgery or maneuvers that twist or turn the patient’s head. It includes specific physical therapy exercises, specialized chiropractic adjustments and balance training exercises. Radiographic measurements are taken, and the patient undergoes a detailed, scoliosis-specific physical exam.

    2. Pilates, a method of exercise that consists of low-impact flexibility and muscular strength and endurance movements and emphasizes proper posture alignment, core strength and muscle balance.

    3. Yoga, a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines to develop a non-surgical approach to scoliosis.

    4. The Schroth method, which is a treatment using conservative scoliosis exercise in a three-dimensional approach to elongate the trunk and correct imbalances of the spine.

    5. Bracing, using the Gensingen Brace, which is the only brace in the world that allows for the maximum amount of in-brace correction and works by addressing the problem area from three dimensions.

    6. Nutrition and diet to address the root causes of growth factors which could contribute to scoliosis.

    The ScolioLife System
    Doctor Kevin Lau can help you combat scoliosis through his holistic approach. Most doctors generally wait and see when it comes to the development of scoliosis. Dr. Lau is different. He believes that parents and children should be proactive when it comes to the treatment of this disease. Dr. Lau involves both parents and child in the decision of doing interventions and treatments to decrease the spine curves and significantly reduce the physical symptoms of scoliosis. This empowers the child and his parents and can make a big impact on the child’s life.

    Dr. Lau incorporates the best of the ideas he has studied and used into one program that he calls the ScolioLife System. The focus of his program is not only on the spine curve. The program encompasses the whole spine as well as the child’s entire nervous system, as well as bracing, nutrition and diet. ScolioLife fixes the root cause of the diseases directly. This can bring long-lasting results as well as less pain.

    You may expect setbacks and difficulties along the way, but his approach will produce results in the long run.

    Conclusion
    No one wishes to have a diagnosis of scoliosis, or any diseases, for that matter. But, if your child is diagnosed with it, do your research, read the studies, and seek a consult with professional specialized in scoliosis. Talk to your doctor and don’t be afraid to seek alternative treatments apart from a conventional brace or surgery. With your support and love, this diagnosis should not prevent your child from being the best person that he or she can be.

5 Surprising Facts About Adult Scoliosis

You may have more options and control than you think
You may have more power over adult scoliosis than you think. Doctors can offer you various treatment options, and there are things you can do to help yourself. Here are five things you might be surprised to hear about adult scoliosis.

Surprise #1: If you are diagnosed with scoliosis, you probably won’t need surgery

When diagnosed with scoliosis, many people fear the only course of action will be major surgery.

“Only a small portion of people with scoliosis require major reconstructive surgery,” says chiropractor, Dr. Kevin Lau. “Many people with scoliosis can manage their scoliosis and symptoms just fine without any type of surgery.”

In many cases, treatment for scoliosis is aimed at relieving symptoms rather than fixing the curve in the spine.

“Adult scoliosis patients are initially treated as we would treat a patient with a straight spine who has back pain,” Dr. Lau says. Treatment might include physical therapy or spinal decompression to strengthen and stabilize the spine. It might also include using a newer scoliosis brace called a Gensingen Brace which can help with the aesthetic or look of the deformity.

People who can’t get pain relief from medications or physical therapy might need spinal decompression surgery.

Surprise #2: The size or the location of your spine’s curve doesn’t predict whether or not you will have symptoms

As you age, your spine begins to deteriorate. As it weakens, it may also begin to curve. Some people may never have any symptoms. Others might experience leg pain, numbness or tingling when walking and/or back pain.

“If you look at a person from the side, you can see that the spine has three natural curves; one in the lower back, one in the middle of the back, and one at the neck. We tend to lose the curve in the lower back as we age. That’s what creates problems and causes symptoms,” says Dr. Lau.

Surprise #3: Adults can have one of two types of scoliosis
Doctors see two types of scoliosis in adults. One is the type of scoliosis doctors also see in teenagers. This is called idiopathic scoliosis. In some cases, the curve progresses and begins to cause symptoms in adulthood. In other cases, it is not diagnosed until adulthood.

The second common type of scoliosis seen in adults is degenerative scoliosis. In this type, the normal wear and tear on the lower back during the aging process leads to the development of a curve in the spine.

Surprise #4: Smoking causes back and neck problems

In addition to seeking treatment for scoliosis, there are things you can do at home to reduce your symptoms. “The most important thing you can do is not smoke,” says Dr. Lau. “Smoking is the leading preventable cause of back and neck problems.”

Surprise #5: You can still exercise with scoliosis

Although many people who have scoliosis have been told to limit their activities, Dr. Lau disagrees. “The more physically active people with scoliosis are, the less likely they are to be symptomatic,” he says. If you are overweight, weight loss can also help to reduce scoliosis symptoms. It’s also important to monitor your bone density and seek treatment if you have osteoporosis.

Choosing the Right Exercises for Scoliosis

Carefully tailored exercise program can improve strength, function, and endurance.

I work with many clients and some of them are suffering from scoliosis which is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. If you look at the back of a person having scoliosis, you’ll notice that their spine curves to one side. The angle of the curve can be either be barely noticeable or otherwise, it could be quite pronounced. Typically, the shape of the curve will look either like a “C” or an “S.” If scoliosis is suspected upon examination, further investigation (including X-rays or other diagnostic imaging) will be ordered by a medical professional to confirm the diagnosis.

Once a person has been diagnosed with scoliosis, he is presented with options on how to best manage his condition and the symptoms that come with it. Typically, these will include uneven musculature and strength, difficulty in breathing and mild to moderate back pain. Exercise is usually included as a treatment option and, from my perspective, a client with scoliosis who has been cleared to work out should be the most concerned with improving his/her level of function and building strength and endurance in a way that isn’t causing more pain or dysfunction. It is also important to recognize that while strength and conditioning exercises can help to improve daily life and overall fitness, it is not intended to be a cure for the condition.

I approach designing a functional fitness program for someone with scoliosis as I would any other client. I choose exercises based on the different types of human movement — upper body pushing and pulling, lower body “level changes,” core rotation and locomotion (movement from one point to another). Rather than following the bodybuilding model of working on isolated muscles, I would rather have the clients engage in movements that involve many muscles and also move them in ways that mimic what they would do in everyday life. Think of the way you move when you shovel snow, carry groceries or even place a baby in a car seat and you’ll have an idea of the kinds of movements I am referring to.

The point is that physical activity should not be avoided; it should be planned in a thoughtful, meaningful way. Some types of exercise and some movements should be avoided, some should be emphasized, and some should be considered as “proceed with caution” after some trial and error.

“Scoliosis specific” exercises are corrective movements designed specifically to reduce or stabilize scoliosis curvatures. They should only be done when prescribed and supervised by a qualified rehabilitation specialist such as a physiotherapist or chiropractor. Fitness trainers and medical exercise specialists are not qualified to administer these corrective exercises.
There are a few rules I would apply to the workout program for a client with scoliosis who has been cleared to exercise:

• avoid loading the spine with a weighted bar across the shoulders, as in barbell squats;
• avoid backward bending movements like you would do in yoga lying on your stomach;
• avoid extreme twisting or rotating at the waist.

Here are the movements I would add to a program for someone with scoliosis:

• body balancing stretches to maintain flexibility in the spine
• core stabilization moves like planking;
• body alignment exercises to ensure equal strength building on both sides of the body;

To customize your own exercise program and learn over 50 scoliosis specific exercises then read my book: “Your plan for natural scoliosis prevention and correction” or DVD, “Scoliosis Exercises for Prevention and Correction”.

Scientists Identify First Gene Linked to Scoliosis

Physicians have recognized scoliosis, the abnormal curvature of the spine, since the time of Hippocrates, but its causes have remained a mystery — until now. For the first time, researchers have discovered a gene that underlies the condition, which affects about 3 percent of all children.

The new finding lays the groundwork for determining how a defect in the gene — known as CHD7 — leads to the C- and S-shaped curves that characterize scoliosis. The gene’s link to scoliosis was identified by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, working in collaboration with investigators at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, both in Dallas, Rutgers State University of New Jersey and the University of Iowa. The group published its results in May in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

“Hopefully, we can now begin to understand the steps by which the gene affects spinal development,” says Anne Bowcock, Ph.D., professor of genetics, of medicine and of pediatrics. “If we understand the genetic basis of the condition, we can theoretically predict who is going to develop scoliosis and develop treatments to intervene before the deformity sets in. It may take many years to accomplish these goals, but I think it will eventually happen.”

The researchers have traced a defect in CHD7 to idiopathic scoliosis, the form of the condition for which there is no apparent cause. It is the most common type of scoliosis, occurs in otherwise healthy children and is typically detected during the growth spurt that accompanies adolescence.

Although scientists have known for years that scoliosis runs in families, its pattern of inheritance has remained unclear. That’s because the condition is likely caused by several different genes that work in concert with one another — and the environment — to cause scoliosis. Bowcock predicts that scientists will soon find other genes involved in the disease.

The CHD7 gene is thought to play a critical role in many basic functions in the cell. The researchers zeroed in on the gene after finding that it is missing or profoundly disrupted in a rare syndrome called CHARGE. Babies born with the syndrome often die in infancy. Those that survive have heart defects, mental retardation, genital and urinary problems, ear abnormalities and deafness, among other problems. They also develop late-onset scoliosis.

“This led us to consider that milder variations of CHD7 may be involved in other types of scoliosis,” Bowcock said.
The researchers, led by Carol Wise, Ph.D., at Scottish Rite Hospital, collected data on 52 families with a history of scoliosis in at least two members — the one who sought treatment and another from earlier generation. The patients had an average spinal curvature of 40 degrees and did not have any illnesses, such as Marfan syndrome or cerebral palsy, which can also involve scoliosis. The researchers performed genome-wide scans that spelled out the 6 billion letters of genetic code in the affected family members and analyzed the data.

They found that patients with scoliosis very often had a defect in the gene’s non-coding region, meaning that the error did not disrupt production of the CHD7 protein. The researchers speculate that this particular mutation alters the binding of a molecule that controls whether the gene is turned on. In this case, they think the gene is turned off more often than it should be, which reduces the amount of CHD7 protein produced.

“The change in the amount of the protein produced is subtle, which correlates with the onset of scoliosis, which typically happens very gradually,” explains Michael Lovett, Ph.D., professor of genetics and pediatrics. “This particular defect was so highly associated with scoliosis that it is either the real McCoy or is very closely linked to the defect that causes the condition.”

The researchers will continue to look for genetic variations involved in scoliosis by studying additional families with the condition.

Severe scoliosis is typically treated by surgery or by wearing an orthopedic brace, which straightens the curvature over time. Most minor spinal curves can be monitored by a doctor and do not progress to the point where treatment is necessary.

Learn More About Thoracic Hyperkyphosis

Thoracic hyperkyphosis or hunchback is a condition that makes the upper or the thoracic spine of a person to curve forward. It causes the patient to slouch unusually and it may affect people of all ages. The reasons for thoracic hyperkyphosis however may vary from person to person.

hyperkyphosis

We all have some curvature in our upper spine. But when this curve exceeds 45 degrees the person is said to have hyperkyphosis.

Thoracic hyperkyphosis symptoms:
• Stiffness
• Back pain
• Upper section of the back looks hunched or curved

Though cannot be generalised, some patients of thoracic hyperkyphosis complain of fatigue because of their condition. The unusual hunchback causes the patients to suffer from low self-esteem that gets intensified with emotional and social stresses.

Causes of Thoracic Hyperkyphosis

The most common causes of thoracic hyperkyphosis are:

• Wrong posture – A person who fails to sit straight on a chair and often slouch may develop hyperkyphosis after some years.
• Scheuermann’s disease – It is a condition that mostly affects young people when their vertebrae do not grow properly. This results in a curved hyperkyphotic spine.
• Congenital issues – This happens when the spine of a baby does not develop properly in the womb. It may cause hyperkyphosis in the newly born child and the condition worsens as the child grows up.

Vertebral trauma, nutritional deficiencies and some other factors can also cause thoracic hyperkyphosis.

Treatment of Thoracic Hyperkyphosis

The treatment of thoracic hyperkyphosis varies depending on the cause of the condition. Some of the most common methods are:

• Physical therapy
• Brace
• Spinal surgery

We at Scoliosis & Spine Correction Clinic treat our patients suffering from thoracic hyperkyphosis with abovementioned methods. The treatment can reduce the angle and improve the visual appearance of the spine. The treatment also reduces their suffering from pain and stiffness. We also have customized exercise-based treatments that help our patients avoid surgical intervention and correct their spinal curvature to a great extent.

To know more about Dr Kevin Lau’s therapy call us today and schedule an appointment at Scoliosis & Spine Correction Clinic.

Diagnosis of Scoliosis in Children

Scoliosis, which is a common spinal deformity, generally affects the normal spinal development in a child. Every year, nearly 3 million new cases of Scoliosis are diagnosed. This biomechanical deformity is usually observed in children when they are 10 to 15 years old. Most have unknown causes, involving hereditary factors. Other triggers include birth defects, spinal injury or infection and neuromuscular conditions.

According to Dr Kevin Lau of Scoliosis & Spine Correction Clinic in Singapore, the curvature of the spine becomes a ‘C’ or ‘S’ shape bending sideways from the middle and not as it should be, which is a straight line down the middle. Usually, it does not cause a long-term problem. However, an early diagnosis ensures a timely corrective therapy, while the spine is still in its growth period.

Unless the cases are severe, scoliosis does not require a surgery. Bracing has been proven effective in controlling the angle of the curve and preventing it from increasing over a period of time.

Detection of scoliosis
While a mild curve does not interfere with normal routine, left unchecked it may cause severe breathing problem. A slight bend in the curve is likely to be noticed at school or by friends, during physical activities. So, observation is the only way to detect scoliosis at early stages.

The curve increases with age and worsens more in girls than in boys. In case doctors do not find this abnormality at birth, if present, it will definitely show itself during teen years. After visual detection, a thorough physical check up and spinal X-Ray is required to determine the extent of the deformity. The angle of the curve will be 10 degrees or above, depending on the severity of the deformity.

As Dr Lau points out that the child (10 to 15 years old) should be screened several times by either a doctor or a nurse in order to keep an observant eye over the development of scoliosis. This, of course, aids in treatment and rehabilitation.

Scoliosis – Types and Causes
Idiopathic scoliosis: Under this category we have cases of unknown origin. Doctors are unsure about the exact cause of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, seen commonly in children between 10 to 15 years old. However, it is believed to be partially genetic and accounts for around 80 per cent of the cases diagnosed. According to a report published by the Scoliosis Research Society, if one or both the parents have this deformity, then 1 in 3 children will inherit this condition.

Congenital scoliosis: A subcategory of idiopathic scoliosis is congenital scoliosis in which a baby is born with the condition. It affects the spinal development of the unborn child when it is still in the uterus.

Neuromuscular scoliosis: Also known as secondary scoliosis, this condition is caused by spinal cord trauma or any neuromuscular condition which results in loss of support to the spinal cord. Common causes are cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. Children during growth spurts, till they reach puberty, are most likely to develop this type of scoliosis.

Other factors: Health issues like heart and kidney diseases, tumours in nervous system, environmental factors and inequality in the length of limbs are also believed to trigger scoliosis in children. Unless they are born with this condition, only proper diagnosis can ascertain the cause of scoliosis in a particular child.

Is your child at risk?
What can be identified as a risk factor is for children with a possibility for inheriting the idiopathic scoliosis. Dr. Lau dismisses certain misconceptions about risks of getting affected with this spinal abnormality like lack of calcium or incorrect posture or heavy backpacks, or physical activities. Children with no family history of scoliosis can also inherit this condition due to other factors, as discussed above.

A Common scoliosis test for school children
It’s called the Adam’s Forward Bend test. In this, a child is asked to bend forward after standing straight. The waist should be completely stretched downwards, with arms down straight. Both elbows and knees should be straight. The child will take a diving posture.

If a child has any spinal deformity, the rib cage will appear higher in one side.

The usefulness of this test is that it helps in detection of scoliosis in upper and mid-spine curves, the most common location for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis.

Some common signs
Visually recognizable signs of a child having scoliosis include:

• Body tilting on one side
• Unequal or asymmetrical legs
• Head does not appear to be centred on the pelvis
• One shoulder/shoulder blade/hip bone is higher than the other
• The waist has an uneven curve in it

Thus we can see that recognizing the symptoms at an early stage, before the body reaches skeletal maturity, can give doctors the time to treat scoliosis without using surgical methods.

Scoliosis and What to Look for In Your Child

Scoliosis, a condition you don’t often hear about is the reason behind your child’s doctor is checking their back.

Scoliosis and What You Need to Know

• Scoliosis is a spinal deformity, a sideways curvature that can occur in both males and females. The curve may be an S curve or a C curve.
• This curvature may be mild, but in severe cases can be disabling and can reduce the amount of space in the chest, making it difficult to breathe.
• It typically begins to appear between ages 10 and 15, during the growth spurt just before puberty. However, it can appear in people younger and older.
• In most cases, there is no known cause.
• Some schools perform tests, but many do not, which is why your doctor should examine your child’s back during regular visits.
• What to watch for: uneven shoulders, one shoulder blade that appears more prominent than the other, an uneven waist, or one hip higher than the other.
• Treatments include braces or surgery typically however Dr Kevin Lau offers non-surgical solutions to treat scoliosis. These all depend on the severity and type of scoliosis. Treatments are more effective the sooner they begin.

If you believe your child may have this curvature, contact us right away for a checkup with Dr. Kevin Lau.