Why It's So Important to Catch Scoliosis Early

Adolescence is a challenging time for boys and girls — the hormonal changes, the social pressures, and the increasing desire for independence are all part of it. For many preteens and teens, this is also the time when scoliosis of the spine first becomes obvious. 

Families in Garden City, New York, and nearby communities can count on the expertise of Benjamin R. Cohen, MD, FACS, for early detection and treatment of scoliosis. Dr. Cohen is a neurosurgeon specializing in advanced treatment of scoliosis in adults and children. 

Even though immediate treatment may not be necessary, read on to learn why it’s so important to catch scoliosis early. 

Scoliosis is more common than you think

Scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine, typically occurs when children experience a growth spurt just before puberty. This curvature is usually first detected between the ages of 10-15 years old. One out of every 25 children develops scoliosis, and girls are more often affected than boys. 

Most cases of adolescent scoliosis are idiopathic, meaning there’s no identifiable underlying cause of the condition. Typically, mild cases of scoliosis don’t interfere with your ability to participate in physical activities or negatively impact your overall health. 

However, severe cases of this kind of spinal curvature could lead to reduced heart or lung function, increase the risk for arthritis, and have an adverse affect on self-esteem, especially for teenagers. 

Early detection doesn’t always mean immediate treatment

Screenings, X-rays, and other digital imaging techniques are used to detect scoliosis, so that Dr. Cohen can monitor your child’s spine as he or she continues growing. This allows Dr. Cohen to intervene as soon as he recognizes that the condition is progressing. 

In many cases, early detection means watching and waiting to see how the spine grows, particularly so that if your child has any pain or discomfort, Dr. Cohen can address before it becomes chronic or debilitating. 

Since Dr. Cohen takes the most conservative approach to treatment, he may first monitor your child’s condition before prescribing a brace to reduce pressure on your child’s lower back and prevent a progressive spinal curvature from occurring. 

Treating scoliosis in its early stages can reduce the curvature in the long run and help avoid health complications and more invasive treatment solutions. Exercises and specific stretches may also be part of Dr. Cohen’s early scoliosis treatment plan. 

Know the signs to reduce back problems later on

Detecting and treating scoliosis in adolescence might mean setting your teenager up for a healthier back in adulthood. Early treatment means less chronic back pain later in life as well as higher possibility of being able to have an active lifestyle. Here are the signs to look out for that could indicate the presence of scoliosis: 

Adults can get scoliosis, too, as a result of degenerative conditions in the spine or childhood scoliosis left untreated. Back pain is usually the first sign of adult scoliosis since the spine puts pressure on nearby nerves as it starts to curve more. If this happens, you might even feel numbness or weakness in the affected area. 

Other signs of adult scoliosis include:

If you suspect a member of your family has scoliosis, don’t wait to contact our office. We can help explain your treatment options, including spinal decompression, spinal fusion, or spinal reconstruction, if necessary. 

Contact us today by calling 516-231-2849 to schedule a consultation with Long Island’s premier neurosurgeon. 

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