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Thread: 5-yr-old daughter with mild curve

  1. #1
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    Jul 2005
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    suburban Baltimore, MD
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    5-yr-old daughter with mild curve

    Hello! My 5 1/2-year-old daughter was seen for her annual checkup last week and her pediatrician noticed a mild curve in her spine. When he measured it he said it was about 5 degrees on her mid-upper back and negligible on her lower back. He said it was not common and he would like to see her back in 6 months, and if it has progressed any at all, he would refer her to an orthopedist for further evaluation. At first, I was concerned but not surprised as I had a 12-degree curve diagnosed when I was about 10. I was watched throughout my teen years but nothing changed. I figured my little girl is just a chip off the ol' block!! However, I've read this site and a few others and I'm totally freaked out. Should I be as alarmed as I'm feeling right now, at this late hour?? Thanks so much for listening and for any guidance you all can provide.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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    Hi

    Just curious, did your GP measure your daughter's curve visually or did he do it by an x-ray. If he did it only visually I'd be asking him to do an x-ray. X-rays are much more accurate and give a much preciser picture. It also gives a chance to know whether it is Idiopathic Scoliosis (no known cause) or whether it is congenital scoliosis (malformation of some kind, present since birth).

    There is always a +5/-5 degree of error in measuring curves in a person's back. Very few people in the world have an exactly straight back, most have a small curve of some kind. Medically speaking a curve under 10 degrees isn't classed as a scoliosis curve.

    From what I can see, your GP is following a good plan of action, in monitoring it. Curves can be unpredictable, and may increase, and are worth watching, so action can be taken if necessary.

    There's is some scary stuff on the Internet, which would freak any person out. I can't imagine how my parents would have been if there had been the internet in existence when I was diagnosed. I think what you need to keep in mind is what you're reading is often at the 'extreme end' ie those who need surgery (or are contemplating it), or those who are seeking treatment for pain etc. You don't often find the ones who are in the middle.

    Regards

    Alison

  3. #3
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    Jul 2005
    Location
    suburban Baltimore, MD
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    Alison, thank you so much for answering my post! I think, after a day or two to digest it all, I may be suffering from too much info, too fast. Reading all these message boards is a lot to take in. It is so wonderful to see there is such a good support network out there, and I will be visiting frequently!

    Em's doctor used a scoliometer to measure her back--that was how he got the 5 degree measurement. Looked like he was checking her out with a carpenter's level, but he seemed to know what he was doing! He said that if anything had changed at the 6-month checkup, he would refer her and she would be x-rayed then. Having received full-torso x-rays several times a year during my teen years (I'm in my 40s now, I'm sure the radiation dose was higher in the 1970s), I'm a little leery of x-raying such a young child unless it is absolutely necessary. But of course, if they say it is best to get a handle on her case, then that is the way to go.

    Again, thanks so much for your input and helping to calm my anxious-mom nerves!
    All the best--
    Laurie

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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    Hi Laurie

    No prob :-p,you're more than welcome; Mum's are allowed to have anxious Mum-nerves, that's part of their job :-). I don't know much about Scoliometer's (I've only ever seen pictures and read about them), but If I was a Mum I'd probably ask for an x-ray either now or when your daughter was checked in 6 months.

    I can understand your leeriness with x-raying a young child unless absolutely necessary. I don't precisely know what level of raditation you get from x-rays these days; I think it's quite minimal, but I'm not 100 percent sure.

    I know when I was little at one stage they were doing x-rays every time I went (which was about every 4 months ish); lol not probably the best thing, but they thought it was the right thing to do at that time. Eventually they started doing them every second visit.

    What I'm about to write I hope doesn't make you become a bit paranoid; but you can keep a bit of a visual check on your daughter (ie when she's having a bath) every so often in the six months before the next appointment. You'd know what your daughter looks like better than anyone else. If she looks different such as one shoulder becoming higher than another, one side of her back becoming higher than the other, one shoulder or hip becoming higher than the other, 'creasing' on one side of her back; you can go with 'Mummy instinct' (which are often right)

    Best wishes

    Alison
    Last edited by Alison; 07-28-2005 at 08:47 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    suburban Baltimore, MD
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    Hi Alison!

    Oh no, you didn't make me paranoid, your checklist of signs to watch for is a great help. Yes, I will keep an eye on Em's back (without making a fuss over it) and I thank you again for your help and support. Your mother must be VERY proud of you!!

    All the best,
    Laurie

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Kannapolis, North Carolina, near Charlotte
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    I too was scared after reading this forum, however, I feel much more prepared for all the whati-ifs. I was mentally and physically prepared for the worst scenarios and ended up getting the best of all possible outcomes. I am dealing with things now that I would not have expected if I had not shared with the forum, including round-the-clock care for several weeks post-surgery to help my daughter up during the night and medicate appropriately. I am thankful that I am not dealing with many of the problems others report on the forum, but am prepared to deal with any that arise because of hearing from others. I check my 2 other kids' spines with the bend over test frequently and have been satisfied with my findings. No negligible scoliosis. When I bend over, my husband can trace my crooked spine, and of course, my daughter's spine used to be obviously crooked upon bending. My "scoliosis" was noticed about 10 years ago and is around 10 degrees, a guesstimate given by an ortho. Since it is very small and doesn't bother me much (some back aches and I am careful not to lift too heavy stuff), I am not pursueing anything on my own curve, like x-rays. I monitor my kids' spines and will take them to the ortho someday if I visiualize any changes. I wouldn't worry about your daughter's case, but definitely have her visually checked, unless the doctor recommends x-rays. I would think a doctor could measure the curvature well enough at a small degree like your daughter's to decide whether to pursue more aggressive actions medically, like a brace. God bless your decisions! Kris

  7. #7
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    Jul 2005
    Location
    suburban Baltimore, MD
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    Hi Kris!

    Thank you so much for writing! I think, after a week of prayerful reflection (and reading this forum!), I feel much calmer and know what to look for and what actions to take if anything changes.

    I read through many of your posts and that is such good news that your daughter did so well with her surgery. How wonderful that folks all around the world are with you and praying for her continued and speedy recovery (I am too )! Hope all goes well as she prepares for school again in the next few weeks.

    Thanks again for taking the time in these certainly crazy and tiring weeks for you to offer me support.
    All the best,
    Laurie

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Kannapolis, North Carolina, near Charlotte
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    Laurie, I agree wholeheartedly about communicating with people around the world! It is actually fun for me, although we would all rather talk about our unique lives in our individual countries, etc., than about scoliosis. Still, it is an escape for me from my computer and financial work I SHOULD be doing BEFORE I look at this forum, instead of after. But, if I wait til my work is done, I'll never see this site again, so I'll continue this addiction to NSF, LOL. It's kind of fun to tell people I see around town about the emails from around the world and it is interesting to hear about different situations, here and abroad. Thank you all for the prayers and I am glad there are so many people on this board who pray to God. Kris

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    18

    Smile Kindergartener!

    My precious baby girl is getting ready to start school and we just found out that she has scoliosis. She has a 30% curve in her upper spine and a 15% curve in her lower spine.

    She has been taking gymnastics for over 2 years and has just expressed an interest in dance. We were told not to limit her activities, but we could tell the doctor was concerned. Our appt with a specialist is the end of Sept. and we have just sent an application to the Shriner's for a second opinion. We don't deny that it's there, we just want to know the options we have.

    I can't express my relief at finding this group! All the research says a high curve on such a young girl is miserable. PLEASE, someone tell me that it's not! :-)! I have prayed so much and memorized so much scripture on healing! I believe this is a God Send! Please write me!!! :-)! Thanks!

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