Pediatric Scoliosis Treatments

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 3 to 5 out of every 1,000 children develop spinal curves that are considered large enough to require treatment.

Specific treatment of scoliosis will be determined by your child's physician based on:

  • Your child's age, overall health and medical history
  • The cause of the scoliosis
  • The extent of the condition
  • Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the condition
  • Your opinion or preference

The goal of treatment is to stop the progression of the curve and prevent deformity. Treatment may include:

  • Observation and repeated examinations: If the curve in your child's spine is less than 25 degrees and your child is still growing, your physician may make repeated examinations to determine if the curvature is getting worse. Progression of the curve depends upon the amount of skeletal growth or the skeletal maturity of your child. Curve progression slows down or stops after your child reaches puberty.
  • Bracing: Bracing may be used when the curve measures more than 25 degrees to 30 degrees on an X-ray, but skeletal growth is not complete. It may also be necessary if your child is growing and has a curve between 20 degrees and 29 degrees that is not improving. The type of brace and the amount of time spent in the brace will depend on your child's condition.
  • Surgery: Surgery may be recommended when the curve measures 45 degrees or more on an X-ray and bracing is not successful in slowing down the progression of the curve when your child is still growing.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disorders, there is no scientific evidence to show that other methods for treating scoliosis—such as chiropractic manipulation, electrical stimulation, nutritional supplementation and exercise—prevent the progression of the disease.