June is National Scoliosis Awareness Month. During this month, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, in partnership with the Scoliosis Research Society, will highlight the growing need for education, early detection and awareness about scoliosis and its prevalence within the community.
Stacy Lewis, a University of Arkansas alumna who is currently ranked No. 1 in the LPGA, is spokesperson for the awareness campaign. She has worked hard to overcome the challenges she faced with scoliosis as a teen. Her story illustrates what’s possible for young people with scoliosis.
Scoliosis is a condition that affects children, adolescents and adults of all ages, both male and female. Simply defined, scoliosis is a rotational deformity of the backbone also called the spine. Instead of a straight line down the middle of the back, a spine with scoliosis curves, sometimes looking like a letter “C” or “S,” and has an asymmetric prominence when the child bends forward.
Most people with childhood scoliosis go on to live normal, active lives. Occasionally, children will experience some lower back pain depending on the curve type and severity.
Some of the visible indicators for which parents should watch include an uneven waistline, shoulders that are not level, a prominent scapula (wing bone), or the body being shifted off-center when looked at from behind.
Usually, spinal curvature is picked up by a scoliosis screening at school, during a routine physical examination at the doctor’s office, or when summer comes around and bathing suits are regularly worn.
If you suspect your child may have scoliosis, it may be easiest to have your family physician, pediatrician or orthopaedist evaluate the child first. Once the child is examined, an x-ray may be obtained, which will confirm the presence of a curvature. From there, the child usually is referred to a scoliosis specialist.