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Should Your Child With Scoliosis Skip Sports? 4 Myths Busted

If your child has scoliosis, it’s normal to worry about which activities are safe and what’s off limits. Many sports may seem too risky.

Scoliosis causes the spine to curve abnormally. While it’s one of the most common spinal conditions, myths persist about who is at risk and which sports are safe to play if you have it.

In general, it’s important for people with scoliosis to stay physically active, and they can reap big health benefits by being active without any increased risk. In fact, good core strengthening and stretching may decrease the risk of curve progression.

Before you start crossing sports off your child’s play list, you’ll want to know the facts. Orthopedic surgeon Thomas Kuivila, MD, corrects four common misconceptions about the condition.

Myth No. 1: Playing sports can make scoliosis worse

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, the most common type of scoliosis, often occurs between the ages of 10 and 16 — just when many children are eager to jump in to a smorgasbord of middle school and high school sports and athletic programs.

But don’t despair. Playing sports won’t make scoliosis worse. In fact, participating in sports that promote flexibility and core strength can actually reduce your child’s back pain, Dr. Kuivila says.

His top picks for sports that can help scoliosis include:

  • Swimming, which can increase core strength since it requires your child to use all of his or her muscles at once
  • Gymnastics, which can boost your child’s flexibility and improve core strength

Myth No. 2: Your child should avoid certain sports

“For the most part you can play any sport you like,” Dr. Kuivila says. “Even weightlifting is generally fine.”

However, if your child has had back surgery, he recommends avoiding contact sports. Sports to skip when your child has had back surgery include hockey, lacrosse, wrestling and football.

For sports such as basketball, soccer, tennis and swimming, your child can probably start participating in them again about six months after surgery. It’s important to talk with your child’s doctor first, he advises.

Myth No. 3: Heavy backpacks can cause scoliosis

Because adolescent idiopathic scoliosis often crops up at about the age when children are hauling heavy books back and forth to school, it has long been linked to backpack use. But there isn’t any truth to this, Dr. Kuivila says.

“Even a book bag filled with books won’t cause scoliosis or make existing scoliosis worse,” he says.

Myth No. 4: Girls are more likely to get scoliosis than boys

The adolescent form of scoliosis is often genetic, and it occurs in boys and girls equally, Dr. Kuivila says.

However, the myth has a grain of truth in it. Girls are more likely than boys to have severe scoliosis requiring treatment such as bracing or surgery.

“For every seven to 10 girls I operate on, there are only two to three boys,” he says.

Good to know: Genetic testing can detect who is at risk

The genetic component in scoliosis allows scientists to better predict who is at risk. So far research identifies at least 53 genes associated with the condition, Dr. Kuivila says.

Advancements in genetic testing allow you to find out whether your child is at risk, he says. But not all insurance companies cover the testing.

“Currently testing is in the early stages,” he says. “And while it can’t tell us who will get scoliosis, it can help us identify those who are at increased risk.”

And that’s important, because it can lead to earlier detection and, if necessary, intervention before the condition gets more serious, he says.

SOURCE: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2017/07/4-scoliosis-myths-you-shouldnt-believe/


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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

Dear Patients:

Our patients, employees and family are our top priority at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

We ask you to not visit any of our locations if you have symptoms such as fever, sneezing, coughing and possible shortness of breath.

Please cancel your appointment and re-schedule once you are feeling better and are no longer suffering with symptoms.

Only non-symptomatic patients will be seen. No exceptions.

Accompanying family members – including children – are asked to remain in the waiting area and will not be allowed to enter the exam rooms.

During this time of high concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we are taking extra precautions to maintain the highest possible standards of safety and cleanliness. Please be advised that we are carefully following recommendations from both the CDC and WHO and are here to help guide you through this time if needed.

Some steps we are taking to keeping safe:

  1. We know how important cleanliness is and always maintain the highest standards of cleanliness. To further offer you peace of mind, we have increased the frequency of the cleaning of our office.
  2. Rest assured that hand washing is strictly followed. Hand sanitizer is available to all staff and patients.
  3. Additionally, if you have recently traveled to a country with high rates of the coronavirus or have been on a cruise, please reschedule your visit for at least 14 days from your return date. We will gladly accommodate your needs to reschedule. At that time, a telehealth interface can be arranged if necessary.

Find up-to-date and accurate information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and feel free to reach out with questions.

- Your team at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

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