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Congenital Scoliosis

I am passionate about scoliosis in children and had the amazing opportunity to work with the spinal team at the Evelina Hospital in London. They are a fantastic team and I learnt so much. I worked alongside paediatric spinal consultants in a busy clinic assessing and reviewing children with scoliosis. I have decided to write two blogs to raise awareness.

What are the main types of scoliosis?

The spine can curve towards either side of the body:

  • A curve in the chest area is known as a thoracic scoliosis
  • A curve in the lower part of the back is a lumbar scoliosis
  • A curve between the thoracic and lumbar spine is a thoracolumbar scoliosis.

There are four main categories of scoliosis:

  • Idiopathic Scoliosis
  • Congenital Scoliosis
  • Neuromuscular Scoliosis
  • Syndromic Scoliosis

What is a Kyphosis and Lordosis?

A kyphosis is defined by an excessive outward curve of the spine and may cause a deformity such as a humpback or hunchback.

A lordosis is defined as an excessive inward curve of the spine in which the back may appear swayback, the buttocks more prominent.

In this blog I shall focus on congenital Scoliosis.

What is a congenital scoliosis?

  • Congenital scoliosis is the presence of an abnormal curvature of the spine and affects newborns or young infants. 
  • Children with this condition begin to develop the curvature before birth while in the mother’s womb. 
  • The curvature causes the spinal column to bend left or right in the shape of an S or C.congenital scoliosis is the least common type of scoliosis, affecting about 1 in 10,000 newborns. 

What are the symptoms of congenital scoliosis?

Although congenital scoliosis is present at birth. Though it may not be obvious that a child has it at birth. Congenital scoliosis often gets worse as a child grows and symptoms then become visible to parents and healthcare professionals.

Common signs and symptoms include one or more of the following:

  • uneven hip heights 
  • uneven shoulder blade heights or shoulders
  • head not centred leaning to one side
  • left and right sides of the back appear uneven when the child bends forward

What causes congenital scoliosis?

Congenital scoliosis occurs early in pregnancy, when one or more of the vertebrae in the spine do not form completely. 

What are the treatment options for congenital scoliosis?

  • This will depend on your child’s age, size, and the severity of their spinal curvature.
  • Some children with smaller curves are monitored by the spinal consultants to see if their spine becomes more curved as they grow.
  • If the curve remains small over time, the child may not need any further treatment. 
  • If the curve is severe enough to require treatment, the child usually needs surgery.
  • Bracing and other types of non-surgical treatments are generally not effective for congenital scoliosis. 
  • The type of surgical treatment will depend on your child’s age and stage of growth.

If you have any concerns about your child’s spine, please feel free to Contact us for an informal chat to ask any questions specific to your child. We have children’s physiotherapists who are specialists working with children with Neuromuscular Scoliosis within Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and parts of London.