Wednesday, May 31, 2006

If your child has been screened for scoliosis and it has been recommended they have a followup, you should know how important it is that you don't ignore it. While it's true that sometimes a school will refer students with a very slight curve, it's better to be safe than sorry. If the curve is below 50%, it may never require treatment, but it's best to continue with a yearly checkup. If the curve is 50% or above, it should be treated. Once the curvature reaches that point it has a tendency to continue getting worse. Depending on the location, the twisting of the spine that occurs by the time the curve reaches over 70 degrees is likely to cause the ribs to press against the lungs, restrict breathing, and reduce oxygen levels. One study concluded that almost two-thirds of patients with curves of 90 degrees and under had less than 80% of normal lung capacity. The distortions can also affect the heart and cause dangerous changes. My parents had a neighbor with extreme severe scoliosis who developed both severe breathing difficulty and congestive heart failure as a result. She lived into her 80s but she was in terrible pain and her suffering was almost unbearable to watch. Mortality rate is seldom affected by scoliosis unless the curve is over 100%. But you do not want your loved one to suffer like this. As parents you should know that your adolescent with scoliosis is probably already feeling "different" from his peers and suffering a poor body image. This in itself is a good reason to seek treatment. This feeling of course can continue through treatment as there may be a brace or even surgery needed. LOL. . .I feel like a weird robot half the time myself, kind of like the Eiffel Tower or the Tingler has been attached back there. ..but at least I'm a grownup and I know how to seek out other people with this going on. Make sure your child has others to relate to who are going through the same thing. Don't yell at him to stand up straight, let a professional help him with his posture. Use the Internet! There are a lot of kids contributing at:

Over and out for now, my lecture is over!