Scoliosis in children

Scoliosis in Children – What is it? What causes it? Should I worry? and what can be done to help?


What is scoliosis?

Put simply it is a curve in the spine that goes side to side like an ‘S’ shape or sometimes a ‘C’.

You may notice:

  • A visible ‘S’ or ‘C’ shape to the spine
  • Your child may lean more to one side
  • One shoulder might be higher than the other (N.B. the shoulder on the side of the dominant hand is usually slightly lower anyway)
  • One shoulder or hip bone, at the front of the pelvis may stick out/ look further forwards
  • The ribs cage might look a funny shape, or stick out more on one side
  • Clothes may not fit well, slide or twist as your child is wearing them. Does one leg of their trousers wear and rip on the floor more than the other?
  • They may complain of pain or discomfort but not usually.


They can occur at any age but more commonly age 10-15 and may be related to growth spurts at this time.


scoliosis in children                                                        scoliosis in children

Should I be worried about scoliosis?


Most of the time scoliosis is nothing to worry about and many people have them without even realising.  Sometimes they run in families.

If you suddenly notice a scoliosis, you think wasn’t there before, it is getting worse or causing pain – always get it checked out with your GP.



What causes scoliosis in children?


Scoliosis isn’t caused by anything you did, or did not do. It’s not thought to be related to posture or diet etc.  Genes might be involved as they often run-in families.  ( I have my Dad to thank for my longer left leg!)

There are different types of scoliosis functional (the most common) and structural.

Functional is usually nothing to worry about, it may be related to a slight leg length difference (again not uncommon), muscles slightly tighter on one side of the spine than the other, a growth spurt – where one side grows a bit faster and the other side has to catch up.  Genes might play a role too as they often run-in families.

This functional type you will usually notice disappears when your child sits down.

Rarely a scoliosis may be related to an underlying condition:

  • The bones of the spine are congenitally misshapen
  • There is an underlying neurological or muscular condition such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy.

These are rare, but if you are at all concerned, please speak to your GP, especially if the scoliosis is getting worse and is associated with other issues with movement, muscle strength and other general health complaints.   They tend to become most noticeable / accelerate during teenager growth spurts.


What treatment is available for scoliosis?

scoliosis in children

For a simple functional scoliosis your child may not need treatment at all.  Focus on keeping active and mobile and using their spine and body.  It may even self-correct as they grow, but if it doesn’t that’s ok too.  Just focus on keeping your spine and body moving.

Osteopathy and physiotherapy cannot stop the curve form getting worse but can address some of the underlying tension which may be contributing to a functional scoliosis, can help to maintain the movement in the spine and alleviate any pain or discomfort, if this is an issue.


For structural / congenital scoliosis -t his will be managed by specialist and may or may not require treatment.


Osteopathy for children:

At Cheadle Osteopathy, we want to help your child to feel relaxed and comfortable so they can get on with being a kid.

Bumps, falls and injuries are all part of being a child. As a parent you know you can’t protect them all the time but you don’t want them to be in pain and want them to grow up healthy.

As kids get older they also start spending more time sitting, studying and are under more stress and pressure. All of these things can have an effect on their muscles and joints at a time when they are growing and changing rapidly too.

An occasional cranial osteopathy /osteopathy  check up with a paediatric osteopath may be helpful in alleviating any aches and pains, following bumps and falls, minor sports injuries or growth spurts.

The soothing, calming and relaxing nature of the treatment can help them to feel more
comfortable and relaxed.

Helping your children “grow with osteopathy” and supporting them through the scrapes and tumbles of child and adolescent hood, is a real privilege and a joy for us.


scoliosis in children



Scoliosis – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Scoliosis – Treatment in children – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Babies & Children | Cranial Osteopathy | 24/7 ONLINE Booking (cheadleosteopathy.co.uk)