Some spine conditions existing before or at birth present no serious problems and oftentimes disappear by adolescence or adulthood. Nonetheless, there are some congenital spine issues parents should be mindful of during regular exams prior to birth and during the early stages of their children’s lives. Los Angeles board-certified spine physicians discuss 3 of the most common spinal conditions parents should watch for in their children.
One of the most common congenital spine conditions, scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curvature of the backbone. The curvature can be to the right (dextroscoliosis), to the left (levoscoliosis), or in an “S” shape. A form of the condition known as idiopathic scoliosis sometimes becomes noticeable in children between the ages of 9 and 14. Signs of this condition include:
- Uneven shoulders or hip height
- Protrusion of one shoulder blade
- Asymmetrical waistline
Some rounding of the upper spine (between 20 to 50 degrees) is normal. An excessive curvature beyond 50 degrees that results in a severe hunch is a condition called kyphosis. Often occurring in the upper back, kyphosis as a birth defect may stem from problems with development of the spine in the womb. It may also result in an uneven growth of vertebrae (Scheuermann’s disease) or be related to conditions such as spina bifida and cerebral palsy.
A slight curvature of the lower spine is also perfectly normal and necessary for movement. If the inward curvature is excessive, it’s a condition called lordosis. Lordosis sometimes occurs alongside kyphosis of the upper spine, but may appear only in the lower spine. Possible signs of this condition include:
- A “swayback” appearance (buttocks push outward)
- A large gap between the floor and the spine while resting on the back
- Pain aggravated by movement of the spine
Treatment for any of these congenital spine conditions depends on the seriousness of the deformity and whether or not the child experiences any pain. Remedies can range from periodic observation during normal doctor visits to bracing, physical therapy or, in rare cases, Los Angeles spine surgery to realign or strengthen the spine.
If your child has a spine condition that is affecting his or her quality of life and you think he or she may need surgery, reach out to The Spine Institute Center at 310-828-7757. We specialize in spinal fusion surgery as well as various alternatives to spinal fusion. Call our office today to schedule an in-person evaluation.