While the immediate concern for most parents at the time of a child’s diagnosis with scoliosis involves the prompt development of a treatment plan, quite quickly these concerns might shift toward questions about how both the diagnosis and subsequent treatments might affect future seasons of life.
Initial anxieties for parents are wide-ranging to include fearing that their children will suffer pain as they grow, wondering whether a child’s athletic pursuits might be restricted, and even serious concerns regarding a daughter’s ability to carry a child in the future. No matter the particular dreams parents have for their children as they grow up, there is generally some apprehension regarding how scoliosis might impede their quality of life throughout adolescence and young adulthood.
With the proper management of scoliosis through commitment to a treatment plan, there is no reason to jump to the conclusion that a scoliosis diagnosis will result in the patient having any more significant health issues than their peers. Spinal changes that happen with mild scoliosis usually slow or even stop when puberty is complete.
A scoliosis diagnosis does not ensure that your child will have to live with chronic pain. Some patients will have pain with scoliosis, but most will not. Again, an emphasis on compliance to treatment plans, bracing, and recommended physical therapies will be vitally important to managing scoliosis as the patient gets older.
Most patients continue rigorous activities and are even encouraged to do so. Many excel at soccer, dance, tennis, swimming and a variety of other sports. Regardless of whether your child is involved in a specific sport, consistent exercise – under the direction of your child’s doctors – is not only good for the patient’s physical health, but also for his or her emotional well-being.
Another question often asked is whether or not your child’s scoliosis might have been caused by or could be worsened by wearing a backpack to school. Heavy backpacks can result in back pain, but they do not cause scoliosis, nor do they worsen a curve.
Many parents have concerns about a daughter’s future pregnancy ranging from questions about any complications she might face during pregnancy to wondering if she will even be able to carry a child in adulthood. The presence of fertility issues, complications, and birth defects are not supported by research studies of women with a history of scoliosis. Pregnancy weight gain will not exacerbate a curve and furthermore, there is no evidence that scoliosis in a mother will endanger a fetus.
Ultimately, the cooperation among the members of the medical team with the child and parents and a focus on providing answers to any concerns about aging with scoliosis is key. This commitment to communication and sharing of knowledge should empower each patient to fully understand how to best manage his or her scoliosis both at the time of the initial diagnosis and throughout adulthood.