My school nurse checked my back and said I might have scoliosis! What does that mean and how did I get it?
If your nurse or doctor suspects scoliosis, don’t panic, writes Dr. Suken Shah of the Spine and Scoliosis Center at the Nemours/Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Chilren. Scoliosis is a very common condition, particularly in girls, . Scoliosis occurs when the spine unexpectedly twists and develops an S- or C-shaped sideways curve. Scoliosis sometimes runs in families, but there is no specific cause. Doctors do know that it’s not caused by your diet, your posture or anything you did, like carrying a heavy backpack.
If your doctor thinks you might have scoliosis, she’ll take an X-ray to look more closely. Then, she might recommend that you take a validated genetic test called ScoliScore, which can predict if your spinal curve will get worse as you grow. You just spit into a test tube and then a lab looks at your DNA. A low score means your curve likely won’t get worse, but a high score means it could. Depending on your results, your doctor might recommend treatment, such as bracing or strengthening exercises, which are meant to keep the curve from progressing.
The good news is that most kids do not need any treatment at all for scoliosis. Plus, scoliosis – whether mild or severe (and in need of treatment) – won’t stop you from pursuing any activity you enjoy, whether it’s tumbling, volleyball, soccer or playing an instrument.