Scoliosis (Curvature of the Spine) – what it is & how it will affect your family.

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I’m preparing this week’s ‘The Sue Atkins Parenting Show’ podcast and this question was sent in to me.

 “Dear Sue, my daughter has to have an operation for Scoliosis (Curvature of the Spine) & I worry about my other 2 children. Will they be damaged by the extra attention that Lily will receive going forward?” Fiona Frost from Ruislip.

My two cousins both have various degrees of Scoliosis and one of their children also suffers from this condition & I have coached families that have sick & poorly children as it has an impact on the dynamics of the family if you are not aware of the impact on your other children of having a child with an illness.

Scoliosis is a back condition that causes the (back) spine to curve to the left or right side. Most cases develop in children between the ages of 9 and 14 during the growth spurt of puberty. Scoliosis is usually mild and needs no treatment. For more severe cases treatments include a back brace or sometimes surgery to straighten the spine.  A very pronounced front-to-back curve is called a kyphosis, which does not usually need treatment.


The word scoliosis comes from the Greek word meaning crooked. The back (spine) should look straight, up and down, when you look at someone from behind. If the spine has a sideways curve, it is called a scoliosis.

The curve can bend to the left or to the right. The severity of the curve can vary from very mild and barely noticeable to severe.

The curve can be in the lower part of the spine (a lumbar curve), in the upper part of the spine (a thoracic curve) or go from the upper to lower part of the spine (a thoracolumbar curve). In some cases there is a double curve – like an S shape.

What is the difference between scoliosis and kyphosis?

If you look at someone from the side, normally there are three slight front-to-back curves in the spine – one in the neck, one in the chest section, and one in the lower back. An abnormal more pronounced front-to-back curve is called a kyphosis. This is different to a scoliosis.

Kyphosis can occur at any age, although it is rare at birth. Adolescent kyphosis, also known as Scheuermann’s disease, is caused by the wedging together in a row of several bones of the back (spine), called vertebrae. The cause of Scheuermann’s disease is unknown.

In adults, kyphosis can be caused by various conditions affecting the spine, including:

Read more here

Click on the link to read my article Caring for siblings of very sick children. If you would like clarity, direction and confidence at this worrying time call me on 01883 818329.

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