Scoliosis is a spinal condition that causes a sideways curvature of the spine. The type of scoliosis the general public is most familiar with is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. It is the most common type, affecting an estimated 2-3% of all adolescents. Luckily, many of these cases are considered mild scoliosis and require little to no treatment.
Treatment is based on the severity and progression of the curve, and evaluated in terms of degrees of spine curvature:
- 25° or less: no treatment required
- 26°-45°: often treated with a back brace
- 45° or greater: surgery typically required
However, your child’s doctor may take other factors into consideration when determining treatment. They may estimate how much more your child might grow and the odds of the curve becoming more severe.
Keep reading to discover treatment options for mild scoliosis.
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Typically, observation is recommended for children with a spine curvature of 25° or less. Regular observation will mean meeting with your child’s doctor at least once every six months to have the curve in their spine measured.
Wearing a Brace
Bracing is a common treatment option for mild scoliosis. The main goal of bracing is to keep the curvature from worsening. Because this method works best on developing spines, it isn’t effective for adolescents who are at or near full skeletal maturity. Generally, doctors recommend bracing if your child’s spine curvature is greater than 25° or has progressed more than 5° in six months.
While there are different types of braces available, hard braces are commonly prescribed to be worn full-time, or more than 16 hours per day. Wearing a brace can be both inconvenient and uncomfortable in the beginning. It’s a good idea to listen to your child’s concerns about their brace and bring those concerns when meeting with your child’s doctor.
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