It might be June, but there are no breaks for busy parents managing kids, camps, sports and sleepovers. To my surprise I received a voicemail from my pediatrician’s office attempting to schedule school physicals for my kids.  Already?

I can remember the school physicals of the early 90’s – we lined up in the gym, with a urine specimen in one hand and charted papers in the other.  Anyone participating in athletics had to receive a physical in order for our coaches to allow us on the field or court. Luckily, we had parent volunteers who happened to be medical professionals; a half dozen doctors, nurses and physical therapists created small stations around the gymnasium to create a workflow of health assessment. One handled blood pressure, another medical history and another agility and fat calipers (now known as Body Mass Index.)  The final step was a private physical exam where all grade schoolers were accompanied by a nurse and doctor to check for more “private” physical assessment.

Amongst all the poking and prodding, I distinctly remember being asked to bend over and touch my toes.  Next, the doctor ran his hand down my spine, then took a bird’s eye view of my posture and positioning. Fortunately, I always “passed” this test to move on to more mundane forms of manipulation.  

I would later come to discover the doctor was checking for scoliosis – a lateral curvature of the spine that would normally be straight.

How do you develop scoliosis? Scoliosis occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty.  Most cases are mild with few symptoms. Some children develop spine deformities that get more severe as they grow. Approximately 2% to 3% of Americans at age 16 have scoliosis.

What are the repercussions of having scoliosis? Severe scoliosis can be painful and disabling.  Movement can be limited, physical deformities in the spine can cause intermittent pain and an uneven waistline.

How do you manage or treat scoliosis? While there is no cure, exercise and stretching have been proven to help in mild cases.  Chiropractic care such as spinal manipulation, can help treat acute, short term pain.  Patients with severe cases often require braces and even spinal fusion and/or bone grafting surgery.

If you recognize these signs or symptoms in your children, but have yet to seek treatment, make an appointment at the Back Pain Clinic Belleville.  Dr. Rob Fast will spend time discussing your medical history, intervention and develop a personalized treatment plan. School physicals are the start to great treatment; chiropractic care aims to maintain that treatment.