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At the moment, in British schools, there is no guarantee that your child will have a school medical early enough to spot the first signs of scoliosis. Yet most cases of scoliosis emerge during adolescence.

The vast majority of cases occur among teenage girls. You are unlikely to experience any pain when you first develop the condition. You might just notice that one shoulder is perhaps higher than the other, or that you have a bump on your back when you bend over.

Some surgeons maintain scoliosis does not cause pain - but there is plenty of research suggesting that scoliosis patients experience significantly more pain in their lifetime than those with "normal" spines. This may be caused by the muscles being overstretched due to the curve of the spine.

When scoliosis is identified, the usual advice from orthopaedic surgeons is to wait and see if it gets worse. If it doesn't, you are likely to be told to go away and get on with your life. If it does, you might be told you need surgery. This consists of putting permanent metal rods in the curved bits of your spine.

It is a major procedure, and can cause medical complications both during and after surgery. The metal inserts may not fuse properly with your bones or you might develop an infection after surgery. It is also not clear whether the procedure will cause you more or less pain in the long term.

Spinal fusion, as it is known, will not totally straighten your spine. It will reduce your curves laterally by about fifty per cent at most. Nor will it correct the rotation of your spine. After having the rods put in, one side of your rib cage may still stick out more than the other. In this case, a surgeon may suggest removing the protruding rib to improve your physical appearance.

You will be left with a spine that is certainly straighter. But it will be ramrod straight in places - unlike a normal spine - so you are in effect swapping one abnormality for another.


The information on this website is not intended to, and does not, in anyway, constitute medical advice. The material is provided for information purposes only. It is based upon the Authors’ personal experiences. Please consult your qualified medical professional.