A diagnosis of scoliosis is news no parent or child wants to hear. Though scoliosis is a medical condition of the spine common to children during a growth spurt, it can still impact a child’s life forever.
Children diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis are usually between 10 and 12 years old. During this time, doctors check a child’s condition and recommend treatment. In most cases, doctors advise patients to consider wearing a scoliosis brace.
Scoliosis bracing is an effective treatment to prevent the curve from worsening. It requires patients to support their back with a vest for a couple of hours every day. That could be overwhelming initially and may take a while for a child to get used to.
That is why parents and children should know what to expect and how to cope with this condition.
Each scoliosis case is unique. Having a glimpse of your child’s journey can reduce the stigma, manage the pain, and improve the quality of life.
Introducing Scoliosis Bracing
Children at this age are transitioning to adolescence. The transition makes children more private and sensitive, causing an emotional stir.
It can be uncomfortable and overwhelming at first for both parties. But this shouldn't shut down the conversation.
It’s necessary to establish the importance of therapy and introduce the need for scoliosis bracing. Doing so lets the children know that recovery is possible and the journey isn’t as scary and hard as they think.
After all, failing to engage in treatment can cause tremendous harm, so it's better to get treated.
Scoliosis Brace: What Is It and Why Wear It
A scoliosis brace is a small jacket-like brace, usually made out of stiff plastic. It’s designed to be wrapped underneath a patient’s arms, covering the torso, down to the waist.
No two scoliosis cases are the same, so a scoliosis brace is custom designed for a patient's back.
The primary purpose is to prevent the condition from progressing. And through time, correcting as much as possible. Wearing a brace lowers the chances of necessary surgery.
To simply put, a child must wear a scoliosis brace to prevent the curve from getting worse. For bracing to work, a patient should still be growing, and the curve must not be too big.
A key to a quicker recovery is early treatment. Failing to engage in treatment can cause tremendous harm. That’s why parents and guardians must take the lead in supporting their children in this journey.
Finding the Right Fit
Getting your child’s first scoliosis brace can somehow be terrifying. With ample options for a brace, finding the right fit for your child's condition can become overwhelming.
To know which kind of scoliosis brace fits your child’s condition, consultation is a must. Visit a reputable clinic that specializes in scoliosis bracing. For free evaluation and recommendation, set an appointment with us so that we can help.
Wearing a Scoliosis Brace
A doctor evaluates your child's case then recommends the kind of brace to wear.
According to Dr. Timothy Hresko, a spine doctor from Boston children’s hospital, how long a patient must wear a brace depends on the curve and their stage of growth. Ensure to follow the doctor's prescription and guidance when wearing a brace.
Here are some things your child must remember when putting on a scoliosis brace.
1. Put On a Tight-Fitting, Seamless Shirt Under the Brace
Before wearing a brace, it’s advisable to wear a tight-fitting, seamless undershirt. That is to help with the sweating and avoid the skin from breaking out.
Children sweat a lot as they perform their daily activities in school, at home, or during therapy. The brace then rubs on the exposed skin, causing the skin to break down. Hence, an undershirt is needed to protect the skin.
2. Align the Brace on the Back
It’s easy to open a brace. Just separate the edges and position them in the body. Here's an easy trick. Place the brace in the bed, then lie down. You should align the back with the brace. Then, connect the straps from the bottom up.
3. Lock the Buckles
A child may struggle to wear a brace the first time, especially when locking the buckles. The doctor often marks the straps so patients can quickly identify how far the pulling should go and when to buckle up. In front of a mirror, check to see if the brace fits well.
4. Put On a Loose, Regular Shirt on Top
After putting on the scoliosis brace, select a comfortable, loose shirt to put on. Your child may or may not have clothes that fit well with a brace. Wear more oversized clothing for more breathing room.
Getting Used to It
Your child may find the first couple of days uncomfortable. When this happens, encouragement goes a long way.
There are challenges, which is why it’s necessary to educate your child on the difficulties they’ll encounter as they go.
More Discomfort During Summer
Putting on a brace during summer may feel like boiling. Remind your child to stay hydrated and opt for a loose, airy shirt on top. A portable fan has its wonders too.
Skin Breakout Is Possible
When a breakout happens, reach out to the orthotist right away for brace adjustment. Check if your child wears a tight-fitting undershirt. It should prevent the brace from rubbing the skin.
Emotions Can Take Over
It is understandable to feel anxious, angry, or sad throughout the scoliosis journey. Some children feel embarrassed to have to wear a scoliosis brace. Parents and guardians shouldn't disregard these emotions.
Connect your child to a support group. Help them feel accepted and loved. Explain that completing the treatment leads to recovery.
A child’s journey to scoliosis bracing is not easy. As parents and guardians, your role is to be the primary source of encouragement and strength.
The road to recovery may take some time, but the journey will be worth it. Scoliosis bracing is effective and can prevent the condition from worsening.
If you need more information, feel free to contact us. We provide free evaluation and support.
Back pain is a familiar problem all adults faced. Stressful work, strenuous physical activity, and bad posture are typical causes. It’s a common scenario to visit your doctor to get a prescription for your ordinary back pain. But, this changes when your common back problem turns out to be a medical condition in the spine called scoliosis.
Scoliosis is most detected in late childhood and early teens. It is usually when a growth spurt is happening. However, many people don’t know that scoliosis is a severe medical condition that can develop later in life.
What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a medical condition in which the backbone or spine deforms in an "S" or less usual "C" shape. Some of the noticeable signs are uneven shoulders, waist or hips, leaning to one side, and odd posture.
A physician performs diagnosis through a physical exam and studying the patient's medical history. In some cases, doctors conduct neurological exams. That is to check for muscle weakness, numbness, and abnormal reflexes. The diagnosis is usually confirmed through imaging tests. Some examples are x-ray, spinal radiograph, CT scan, or MRI.
The cause for scoliosis is still unknown, but research says it can run in the family. In a study done on 1,436 patients, 56% had one or more relatives with the condition. However, note that there are cases with no related family history.
Scoliosis in Adults
Although scoliosis is common in children and teens, adults are not exempt. Scoliosis can develop later in life, too. Although, adult scoliosis takes longer to discover since it progresses slowly. Many adults can live for many years without even noticing this condition.
Adult scoliosis occurs in patients 18 years old and above. Usually, there is an abnormal side-to-side spinal curve of 10 degrees or greater.
Two common types of scoliosis can affect adults.
Adult Idiopathic Scoliosis
Adult idiopathic scoliosis is a continuation of adolescent scoliosis that has remained undetected. It may have started during the teenage years but gone unnoticed. This form of scoliosis doesn't progress until reaching adulthood. Yet, it can affect both the thoracic and lumbar portions of the spine.
Adult Degenerative Scoliosis
Adult degenerative scoliosis is another form of scoliosis that starts in adulthood. Naturally, our body takes on wear-and-tear as we age. Our bones undergo degenerative changes making them more vulnerable and prone to injury and damages. When joints deteriorate, it can cause the spine to curve.
This form of scoliosis is most common in older adults but can also affect adults aged 50 years old and younger. An estimated 60% of people over age 60 may have mild degenerative scoliosis.
Adult Scoliosis Symptoms
Regardless of whether it is idiopathic or degenerative, the symptoms are pretty much similar.
According to WebMD, some adult scoliosis symptoms are:
Adult Scoliosis Treatment Options
You should seek immediate treatment once diagnosed with adult scoliosis. Scoliosis cases are easy to solve, and most don’t need surgery. With the advances of technology, treatments are less invasive, and recovery is much faster.
The following non-surgical options are available:
Both treatments can lessen the symptoms and correct the patient's musculature, holding the spine in the right place. Contrary to other medical opinions, scoliosis bracing promotes muscle memory. Thus, it helps the spine to stay in the proper position.
Arrange an examination with your doctor to find out the most suitable treatment for your medical condition.
Coping With Adult Scoliosis
Getting diagnosed with adult scoliosis can cause anxiety, fear, and discomfort. Unlike children and teens, the lifestyle of an adult involves a lot of responsibility. Work, family, and business are just some examples.
The pain and discomfort caused by scoliosis can affect a person’s routine and lifestyle. That results in insecurity, shame, and stress. So, aside from treatment, patients must seek medical help and guidance to help cope with physical, emotional, and social challenges.
Home exercises, pain medication, and support groups are accessible with the help of a doctor.
Scoliosis is a serious matter and should be treated as a family affair. Patients and their loved ones must be aware of the symptoms, treatments, complications, and management to cope with them.
Adult Scoliosis: Key Takeaways
Scoliosis is a serious medical condition that affects millions of people, regardless of age, sex, and race.
Though a vast majority of patients are young people, scoliosis can develop later in life. Adults need to be aware of this possibility and take good care of the body by avoiding the bad habits that can result in a spine problem.
The two most common types of scoliosis in adults are:
As soon as diagnosed, scoliosis can be treated and managed with experts and professionals in the field. Resources, treatments, and clinics are available for patients dealing with adult scoliosis.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t disregard them. Talk to a doctor immediately.
Disregarding your symptoms can worsen the condition and may result in further complications.
Remember, as the body ages, the joints become weaker, making it more susceptible to damage. Proper treatment can manage the deterioration and can stop its progress.
We’re here to help. Contact our main office to set an appointment. We provide spine check-ups, scoliosis bracing, and other related services to help patients reach recovery.
Pectus Excavatum is a malformation of bone that occurs in your child’s chest wall.
The name means ‘hollow chest’ in Latin. It causes a visible concave deformity and might cause the ribs to grow in a wayward manner. Due to this, it is also known as the sunken chest syndrome or funnel chest.
If you suspect that your child has Pectus Excavatum, confirming its presence and getting treatment is relatively easy. After all, it’s the most common chest wall abnormality observed in children.
We layout your next course of action in chronological order.
Unlike the case of Pectus Carinatum, this condition can be detected when your child is as young as 2 or 3. But they can only determine its severity with growth spurts.
The figures suggest that male children are more susceptible to the condition. At least 1 in every 300-400 children develops this ailment to various degrees of severity.
Nearly 15% of the children who have Pectus Excavatum develop scoliosis - a spine curvature ailment. So, it becomes all the more important to pay attention to signs of a sunken chest.
Consult your physician and understand the severity of the issue. If required, talk to an orthopedist to get detailed insights into your child’s condition.
Unfortunately, researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint the reasons for its occurrence.
Some academics from Boston University have discovered genetic markers associated with the condition. Others tend to relate sunken chests with Marfan Syndrome, Noonan Syndrome, and the likes.
In children with spinal muscular dystrophy, diaphragmatic breathing can also cause Pectus Excavatum.
When mild Pectus Excavatum is detected, no medical intervention is needed. At most, your child may need a few regulated physical activities to overcome the condition’s effects.
In cases where there is a threat of lung damage or cardiorespiratory issues, surgery might be the best recourse. Read on to find out about the various methods and their possible implications.
2. Vacuum Bell
1. Ravitch Technique
2. Nuss Procedure
3. Robicsek technique
After undergoing any surgical procedure, you can expect your child to be kept under observation for 3-4 days. They could be under pain-control medication for up to a month after the operation. It’s best if they skip school and all other physically draining activities during this period.
Amidst all this, understanding the psychological repercussions becomes essential. Attempt to attend all follow-up sessions with your physician, orthotist, or physiotherapist.
Teens especially feel awkward or embarrassed to talk about their feelings. Try to find out if their friends and other family members are being sensitive while broaching the topic.
Additionally, ensure that your child is comfortable during the prognosis and treatment phase. Without their willingness, it would be impossible to achieve the desired results.
Want to know more about the other kinds of chest wall disorders? We have listed them in this all-inclusive blog post.
Prosthetics are a beautiful medical invention that helps amputees in moving around. They perform the functions of a real leg, and at times, look like one.
Some users will need crutches or a walker when using a prosthetic leg. However, most can manage without any extra support. There are many aspects to be considered before you get one.
Here’s what you need to know if you plan to take the above the knee prosthetics route.
1. They Might Not Help
Many aspects come into play here. Your residual limb should be mobile, and there needs to be enough soft tissue to act as a cushion. If you have a circulation disorder, then a prosthetic may not be for you.
2. They Take Time
Above the knee, prosthetics are not quickly adopted since there’s no knee joint. You’ll face issues like perennial sweating, weakness in the limb, and phantom pain.
Following your rehabilitation plan is critical here. Rest assured, your prosthetist and physical therapist will help you overcome the issues in this phase.
3. They Need Customization
There are different types of above knee prostheses, but they are not one-size-fits-all.
Parts, like the socket and suspension system, are molded according to your residual limb. Hence, you need to make frequent trips to the prosthetist to get the measurements right
4. There’s Always a Newer Model
Even if you buy the best above knee prosthetic leg today, it might become obsolete within a year.
Prosthetic limb technology is advancing at a rapid pace. Microprocessor joints and integration surgeries have increased the sensory reception and range of motion.
Parts of an Above the Knee Prosthesis
It’s time to understand what are the different parts of this device. There are four major components in most modern-day prosthetics - socket, knee, pylon, and foot.
Let’s start with the easier ones first:
Socket: In the initial phase, a diagnostic socket is implemented to check the alignment. It’s a plastic socket that is replaced by a laminated one in the later stage. The laminated one is usually made of carbon fiber and has a long life. If everything is in place, you can even get your favorite sports team’s logo embossed on it!
If you’re still reading, you now understand the challenges of using prosthetics. Now that you’re ready to get one, you may be wondering how to take care of them.
Here are eight things you should know as a new prosthetics user:
1. Washing your prosthesis daily is essential. Don’t use anything else apart from mild soap, and give the device enough time to dry. Regularly wiping the insides of the prosthesis will keep it free from bacterial infections.
2. Prostheses are designed to be worn with shoes. If the heels are not of the same height, it may cause stability issues. You can choose to wear high heels or any other footwear only after informing your intentions to a prosthetist.
3. Prosthetics socks are an integral part of your life now. Based on your doctor’s
recommendation, you can use a single-ply or multi-ply pair of socks. Ensure they fit perfectly and use the correct number of ply to avoid developing irritations.
4. The socket and liner are the root cause of skin infections. Follow the manufacturer’s hygiene instructions to ensure to provide the right kind of care. Importantly, do not try to trim or add pads to the socket since it might compromise the prosthesis’s safety.
5. In the initial few months, you have to take up many exercises. It will expose your residual limb to many scenarios in a short span. That allows you to adjust to get the perfect fit. Don’t hesitate to ask the prosthetist for multiple changes.
6. As an above the knee prosthetics user, you should not sleep with your limb on a pillow. You might get a hip flexion contracture, a condition that doesn’t let users straighten their hips. Instead, you can place a pillow between your legs to strengthen the outer thigh muscles.
7. Always have a handy kit with spare stump socks, antibiotics, and ointments. That will be your emergency stock for when you need a change. Moreover, you’ll be needing different ply socks due to frequent volume changes in your limb.
8. Periodic follow-ups are a must in the first year of usage. The doctors need to know if your body is accepting the prosthesis without causing any troubles. On the other hand, the prosthetists can make changes to the device if it isn’t comfortable to use.
The decision to get a prosthetic is determined by people's urge to have an everyday social life. Don’t rush through this process. Talk to a few users and understand how it makes their lives better. Understand every little intricacy about prosthetics, and make a well-informed decision.
Taking care of your above knee prosthetics may sound very tedious. In reality, it’s like managing dental braces or any other medical device. It all comes down to those little things you do regularly - cleaning, checking, fixing.
Ultimately, the decision to get a prosthesis should be based on mutual consent and understanding between you and the doctor.
Besides above the knee prosthetics, there are many types of prosthetics. Find out more about them in this guide by Align Clinic.
Dealing with rare medical conditions is not an easy task, and the going gets tough when it’s your child.
Pectus Carinatum is one such chest wall-related ailment that could harm your child’s health if left unattended.
The condition’s name describes the malformation accurately. ‘Pectus’ means a bird’s breast, which indicates a bulged appearance. ‘Carinatum’ refers to the pointed keels of ancient Roman boats. Colloquially, it’s known as pigeon chest pain.
Pigeon chest causes the breast-bone to push forward, and it leads to unequal growth in other areas. Its symptoms include asthma, chest pain, tiredness, and shortness of breath, among others.
It's an issue that is mostly seen in teenagers and can be treated without little hassle. Here are a few things you need to understand to help your child beat this condition -
Studies suggest that nearly 5% of people are born with a mild form of Pectus Carinatum. Yet, it remains a rare disorder when compared to other chest wall conditions - Pectus Excavatum.
Nearly 80% of those born with this condition are male. You can detect its signs in the early stages, but its effects become visible only after your child turns eleven. It’s a genetic disorder, and depending on the severity, the condition may worsen as your child enters adulthood.
The bottom line here is you need to be absolutely sure about the problem’s existence and severity. That brings us to the next section - diagnosis.
Diagnosing the Condition
A thorough physical examination is necessary to understand the intensity of the problem. The preliminary diagnosis involves the calculation of the chest’s depth with an X-ray. After measuring the diameter, they can determine if your child has Pectus Carinatum.
The X-rays will help identify scoliosis or other abnormalities leading to pigeon chest.
Here are a few other tests your doctor may recommend -