According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, adolescent scoliosis is a spinal curvature that affects up to 3% of children ages 10 to 18. Scoliosis screenings for school-age children allow parents to seek proper care for this condition, which can cause complications such as disability, deformation, and the need for chronic back pain treatment. Explore the importance of this simple scoliosis test, given in California public schools to girls in seventh grade and boys in eighth grade.
Safe, Efficient Testing
The standard scoliosis screening takes just a few minutes to complete. The health care professional will ask the student to bend at the waist and checks the Cobb angle of the spine, which should measure no greater than 10 degrees.
Prompt Medical Treatment
The doctor will recommend physical therapy for most adolescents who have a Cobb angle of 10 to 30 degrees. Some patients in the 20 to 30-degree range require bracing. Bracing or surgery can correct a Cobb angle of 40 to 50 degrees, while curvature exceeding 50 degrees typically necessitates surgery.
Preventing Future Complications
Because scoliosis usually develops without symptoms, screening can detect cases that may eventually cause pain, disability, and other health complications. For example, some individuals who have scoliosis develop lung dysfunction, back pain, and deformity if the condition progresses to adulthood.
When scoliosis causes a visible spinal curvature, adolescents may develop a negative self-image. According to research published in the journal American Family Physician, this can impact their social interactions and self-esteem.