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3/15/23 blog post

when to be concerned about scoliosis

young boy scoliosis check

in this article:

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine which affects more than 100,000 children in the United States each year. Scoliosis can happen over time. In most cases, it isn’t found until a child is between 10 and 14 years old. Most cases of scoliosis don’t need treatment. But even when they do, the majority of kids can continue an active life after treatment.

what are the signs of scoliosis?

  • One shoulder may be higher than the other.
  • One shoulder blade may appear to be higher.
  • There might be extra space between the arm and the body when arms are hanging at the sides.
  • One hip may appear to be higher than the other.
  • The head is not centered over the pelvis.
  • When bending over (back is flat), one side of the back may appear higher than the other

what are the causes of scoliosis?

Most people (85%) with scoliosis have the type known as idiopathic, which means the cause is not known. The main reason the spine curves is the uneven growth of the back bones (vertebrae). Idiopathic scoliosis is often seen in family members and may be genetic. Larger curves occur more often in females than males. However, males can also develop a severe spinal curvature

how is scoliosis diagnosed?

Some patients show clear signs of scoliosis, and the curvature of the spine is obvious. The ribs are pushed out or one shoulder blade is noticeably higher than the other one. Other times it’s not so obvious. Scoliosis doesn’t hurt or happen suddenly, it’s not always easy to diagnose. Some schools in the United States test for scoliosis. The Dayton Children’s scoliosis team of doctors and nurses work directly with schools to screen for spinal deformities.

when should I be concerned about scoliosis? 

  • Any curve of 20 degrees or more
  • The curve is creating significant shoulder or waist asymmetry
  • The curve is associated with significant back pain
  • Numbness, tingling, shooting pains in the arms or legs, weakness, night pain, fevers, chills
  • Strong family history of scoliosis


Your child's primary care provider will guide you on the next steps. If it is recommended that your child be seen by a specialist with Dayton Children’s spine team, you can schedule an appointment online.

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Nicholas Gajewski, MD

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