Updated 23 October 2017

Scoliosis: The test parents can do at home

Act fast! Early intervention may prevent your child from developing scoliosis.

Does your child carry a heavy load on their back on a daily basis? Do they slouch in their seats and struggle with one sleeve that appears to be longer than the other? These are examples of everyday challenges children with scoliosis may face – and which should alert parents.

Lugging those heavy books around may be unavoidable, but how is it impacting your child's health? Are you taking care of your child's spine? 

Rapid growth stage

Scoliosis is a deformity of the spine that involves the rotation of the vertebral bodies. There are six types of scoliosis that can affect children. Congenital scoliosis for example occurs when the spine does not develop properly in the womb. According to Scoli Smart clinics, this condition worsens in about 75% of the children born with it.

Most types of scoliosis in children are however idiopathic, which means that the cause is unknown. Idiopathic scoliosis is easier to treat than the congenital form. 

Idiopathic scoliosis and is found in children at around 10–12 years old – when they start their rapid growth stage. 

Scoli Smart recommends early intervention as the best way to approach scoliosis. 


According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, parents should look out for:

  • Uneven shoulders
  • Head that is not centred
  • Sides of the body not levelling out
  • One side of the rib cage being higher than the other when bending forward


WATCH: How parents can do a home examination 

The National Institute of Arthritis and Muscuoloskeletal and Skin Diseases recommends these three treatments:

  • Observation: When a curve is detected early on in a growing child, doctors are likely to recommend regular check-ups and treat the situation without major intervention.
  • Bracing: If the curve is moderate and your child is still growing, braces may be recommended. These will be fitted according to the curve of the spine and will be regularly monitored by the doctor.
  • Surgery: If the severity of the curve is increasing and your child is still growing, surgery may be recommended.

Image credit: iStock