How Much Do You Know About Scoliosis?

  • By Premier Family Medical
  • 28 Jun, 2017

It’s estimated that two to three percent of Americans have scoliosis by age 16. Scoliosis, in simple terms, is an abnormal curvature of the spine from right to left. Instead of the spine running straight down the back as it should, it curves into an “S” shape, typically bending more to one side than the other.

Scoliosis is common among growing children, and there’s  no shortage of myths  circulating about what causes it. Whether you have a child with scoliosis or not, it’s good to be educated based on accurate information. Why not test your current knowledge — and maybe even learn something new — with a game of true or false?

True or false? Bad posture can cause scoliosis.

False. For sure, slacking and slumping aren’t good. They put added strain on muscles and joints, eventually causing discomfort and pain. Yet, good or bad posture has no bearing on whether or not a child will develop this condition.

True or false? Inability to stand up straight can indicate scoliosis.

True . If a child can’t stand upright and consistently leans to one side, it’s possible that scoliosis could be causing it, and it would be wise to visit a doctor. Usually with an examination and some x-rays, your doctor can find out if there is scoliosis, and what, if any needs to be done to treat it.

True or false? The weight of school books and backpacks can permanently damage the spine, leading to scoliosis.

False . While this weight can put strain on the back, shoulders and neck, a backpack full of schoolbooks isn’t a cause of scoliosis. In reality, if it were, a lot more children would suffer from it.


That being said, carrying too much weight around can lead to pain and muscle tension. So, it would still be good to scale down what they carry as much as possible.

True or false? Certain sports injuries can cause scoliosis.

False . Many believe that sports-related back injuries such as a hard tackle in football can cause curvature of the spine. While damage to the spine can occur, this wouldn’t be considered scoliosis.

True or false? The spine can simply appear curved but work normally.

True . When the spine only appears to be curved, it’s referred to as nonstructural scoliosis. It may look this way because of one leg being slightly shorter than the other, muscle spasms on one side of the body or even forms of inflammation such as appendicitis.

The opposite of the nonstructural type is structural scoliosis. This is when the curvature of the spine is rigid. This form is unlike the other in that it cannot be reversed.

True or false? Scoliosis has a known cause.

80% false and 20% true . That was a bit of a trick question. In approximately 80% of cases, doctors are unable to determine the exact cause of spine curvature . These cases are called idiopathic. This means that only the remaining 20% of cases can be labeled as structural or nonstructural and attributed to a certain issue.

True or false? Someone with scoliosis will have symptoms.

False. Often this condition is found because someone is looking for it, not because the child is having a problem. That’s why keeping your eyes open is important (see symptoms below).

True or false? Every case of scoliosis needs to be surgically repaired.

False . It’s not uncommon to have a slight curve in your spine, and for most this will never cause any problems. Typically surgery is only considered if the curvature is more than 20 degrees or increases over time by 5 degrees or more. Only about 10 percent of adolescents diagnosed with scoliosis will actually need some kind of treatment (bracing and/or surgery).

What to Look Out For

Often, because curvature occurs gradually, it can go unnoticed by parents and children. However, you should seek a medical evaluation if you notice that your child has:

  • Uneven shoulders
  • An uneven waist
  • One hip higher than the other
  • Prominent ribs
  • One shoulder blade that’s more prominent than the other
  • Difficulty breathing without an explainable reason (severe curves can actually make one lung hard to expand).

Your child’s doctor can confirm or deny the presence of scoliosis and then discuss with you the wisest course of action based on the diagnosis. However, in order for this to happen, it’s important that you be able to recognize the signs in the first place. So the question is: “ How much do you know about scoliosis?”

Recent posts from the Premier Family Medical Blog

Premier Family Medical Blog

By Premier Family Medical 13 Sep, 2017
In the U.S. alone upwards of 2.7 million people have this heart condition. What is it? It’s called atrial fibrillation and is the most common type of heart arrhythmia. Research has shown that the number of cases increases with age so as the population of the United States continues to age, the number of people affected is likely to rise. So what exactly is this condition, what symptoms does it lead to and how serious is it?
By Premier Family Medical 06 Sep, 2017

Each year in the United States,  more than 44,000 people take their own lives . That’s an average of 121 suicides per day. It’s estimated that for every one reported, 12 more people engage in self-harm, whether intentional suicide attempts or not.

With rates on a steady incline, it’s past time for action. Each and every one of us needs to have a part in supporting those who struggle with suicidal thoughts. In order to be of any help, though, we need to be able to recognize the signs of a person on the brink. What should you look for and how can you help?

By Premier Family Medical 30 Aug, 2017

It's estimated that  one in five high school athletes will suffer a concussion  during sports season. Younger athletes have the highest rate of concussions. While more perceived contact sports like football are thought to be the highest risk for a potential concussion, all sports carry a similar risk and demand similar precaution and treatment.  As a parent, your first instinct might be to ban your child from playing sports altogether. But is that really necessary? No. Why do we say this?

For one thing, if you encourage your child to play safely and receive training in head injury prevention, you can minimize risk. And if your child does happen to suffer from a concussion, there are steps you can take to ensure that they heal as quickly and as completely as possible.
More Posts

Request An Appointment Find A Doctor Find A Location

Ask Us Anything

Do you have a health topic or question you'd like us to blog about?  Send us a message and lets us know what you want to hear from us. 
*All submissions are confidential



Share by: