August 12, 2022

Adolescent Scoliosis – Early Detection is Important and Treatment Options Exist

Some may also remember when children diagnosed with scoliosis wore heavy metal braces. This full-body brace, which extends from the pelvis to the base of the skull, was designed by doctors in the Milwaukee area. Commonly referred to as the Milwaukee Brace, this has been the most popular scoliosis brace for decades.

Screening and treatment approaches are diverse today.

Currently, in-school screenings are optional in more than 25 states. However, many organizations recognize the benefits of screening programs, including the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), the Scoliosis Research Society, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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Most doctors perform an examination during their annual check-ups. However, there are challenges, as many teens don't make regular spa visits.

The test lasts only 30 seconds and is usually given to children between the ages of 10 and 15. A trained medical professional examines the spine in an upright and flexed position. Children with suspicious findings should see a doctor, who often prescribes X-rays. Parents may also want their child evaluated by a physical therapist (PT) to discuss an exercise-based treatment approach.

Most children with scoliosis have little curvature and do not require aggressive treatment. If a curve is suspected or confirmed, follow-up screening is essential, especially during the adolescent's rapid growth spurt. Follow-up visits can provide the doctor with information about the course of the curve. This helps determine the best treatment approach.

Several medical organizations have published guidelines for treating scoliosis. The decision to treat scoliosis is based on many factors, including age, maturity, gender, family history, size of the curve, and the child's likely growth.