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Parents are encouraged to make checking their child's back part of their back-to-school routine

Posted at 1:27 PM, Sep 13, 2021

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine that can limit mobility and sometimes lead to more serious health problems.

Scoliosis is one of the areas of expertise at Shriners Hospitals for Children, which is the largest specialty healthcare system in North America.

Dawn Wright from Shriners in Salt Lake City joined us with how parents can check their kids at home for scoliosis.

She says, "Most schools are not required to screen for scoliosis so parents are the best way to catch curvatures of the spine early."

She explained that the curve can resemble an S or a C instead of a straight line in the spine. It's often diagnosed between ages 10 and 15 when kids are growing rapidly.

Parents are encouraged to make checking their child's back part of their back-to-school routine to ensure your child is at least getting an annual evaluation, but also because early detection is the best way to prevent curve progression.

Wright says, "We want to avoid surgery if we can by intervening early. Bracing or physical therapy can be options with early detection."

Shriners Hospitals for Children's free SpineScreen app is a helpful educational tool for parents.

The SpineScreen app detects curves as a parents' cell phone is moved along their child's back. It's quick and easy.

If the app measures a curve greater than 7 percent, you'll receive a reading that states your child's spine rotation appears outside the acceptable range.

You can also have your child take off their top and stand with their back to you. While your child is standing up straight, look for visible signs of scoliosis - do their shoulders, ribs, neck, waist and hips look symmetrical? Or do they appear to be skewed towards one side?

Now ask your child to bend forward at the waist. Once your child is in the forward bending position, look at their back. Does one side of their rib cage look higher than the other?

If you suspect any abnormality, be seen by an expert. Talk to your pediatrician or get a second opinion at Shriners Hospital.

Shriners Hospital care providers are leaders in scoliosis care with the latest technology.

You can learn more at ShrinersSLC.org.