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Q

My 14-year-old daughter has recently been diagnosed with a 30-degree scoliosis curve. Friends have suggested physical therapy, but it seems to me that scoliosis is just something that she will have to live with for the rest of her life. Am I right?

 
A

Yes and no. Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. Although there is a genetic or hereditary component to it, it often occurs with no known cause. A 30-degree curvature of the spine falls into a “moderate” category, which requires monitoring (usually with regular x-rays) but likely does not warrant any bracing or surgical intervention. Due to the nature of a scoliotic curve, there is normally some amount of muscle imbalance where certain muscles are prone to tightness, while others are prone to weakness. If your daughter is experiencing some back or neck discomfort, she would benefit from an evaluation by a physical therapist to determine where her joint and muscle imbalances are. At 14, her musculoskeletal system (muscles, joints, ligaments) is not fully developed yet which makes her tissue more “stretchable.” A therapist can give her helpful exercises and tips for how to deal with her condition and slow the progression of her curve. Unfortunately, her scoliosis will not go away. However, with proper education and instruction she should be able to learn ways to manage her symptoms for many years to come.

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