Parents have a lot to think about when it comes to the health of their children: colds, flu, bumps, and bruises. However, they may not consider spine health.
Suken A. Shah, M.D.
Division Chief of the Spine Center, Nemours Children’s Health
Scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine. Although many people have not heard of the condition, it is surprisingly common, impacting infants, adolescents, and adults of all races, classes, and genders. Early diagnosis is the key to taking important first steps to providing treatment, like bracing, that may prevent more serious problems.
“Early detection and intervention can stave off more serious issues later in life,” says Suken A. Shah, M.D., of Nemours Children’s Health, “but spine health isn’t only a youth issue. Adults of all ages can develop scoliosis in later life, which, in turn, can lead to health problems and quality-of-life impact.”
In 2015, members of the international Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) completed the Bracing in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Trial (BrAIST), which supports the efficacy of bracing young people and elevates the need for scoliosis education, early detection, and public awareness. Enter National Scoliosis Awareness Month.
Every June, SRS launches this awareness campaign with the goal to unite scoliosis patients, families, physicians, institutions, and businesses in partnerships of local activities and grassroots networking throughout the month.
“Currently, two-thirds of states mandate or recommend scoliosis screening in schools, so it is important that friends and family members learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of the condition and know that help from their doctor is available,” says Shah, a pediatric spine surgeon and board member of SRS. “It is often parents or primary care providers who first identify the issue. Fortunately, an examination and x-ray can confirm the diagnosis, and an expert can recommend treatment, if necessary.” Learn more about Scoliosis Awareness Month at www.srs.org.