View Full Version : Scoliosis testing in schoole. nurses who fail to detect

02-23-2005, 04:55 PM
I'm in a delima, Fortune goes to a private school, and she had her first fitting for a boston brace yesterday. Just so happens today at school the nurses were checking for scolioss...They failed to notice her curve, they told her to keep her shoulders straight duh....and they failed to read the permission slip which states a strong family history...This is not the first time this happened...the school failed to see it in my other children...
Question....How good R these scoliu screening in schools..?
What requirements do the nurses have ?
Do they have to take a special class to detect scoliosis....??
If I had to rely on the school nurses, ....

Karen Ocker
02-23-2005, 05:21 PM
I just spoke to my sister-in-law who is a retired NJ school nurse. In NJ the school nurses in the public schools get a certificate in scoliosis screening. This requires taking a special course. I do not know whether this holds true in the private schools.

02-23-2005, 05:43 PM
Do you have any suggestion on how I can get involved in getting better quality screening for my childrens school? What agency can I call to get these nurses certified? Does scoliosis have any genetic links to living locality? or nationality? Do you have a percenage list in where its high and where scoli is seen at its lowest?..... I think I want to volunteer and help the nurses in my school...

02-23-2005, 06:53 PM

I can tell you, from someone working in a school, they always welcome help. In our school we have one school nurse who has to see about 900 children in grades PK to 5th grade. They are so overworked!! They also have to screen every student each year for hearing and vision, review all immunizations, not counting the day to day problems and children coming to school sick with fever, throwing up, and some parents using the school nurse in place of taking their child to the doctor for ringworm, lice, etc. Our schools have high school students that are training in the health profession that come over to help for half a day about 4 days a week. Maybe you can check out some of the scoliosis clinics or doctors about doing some school screenings. I know during the flu season we have help come in from the county health department to give flu shots, maybe they could also come in to do scoli screenings?

Karen Ocker
02-24-2005, 06:30 PM
I suggest contacting the school principal and/or school board.

02-25-2005, 01:47 PM
I spoke to the nurse and asked her to recheck my duaghter for a learning lesson so they can see her scoliosis...She said she watches a film and takes a class.....so thats that..

03-04-2005, 09:01 AM
How did Fortune's fitting go Connie?

I think I have one of the classic lines from a scoliosis screening. Up until the late 80's, they still did routine scoli checks. I was in Kindy in the late 80's and was wearing my brace 23/24 hours a day.

You would think they'd a diagnosis of scoliosis would be pretty obvious, but nup, my Scoliosis check diagnosis was: SPINE STRAIGHT.

And did my mum had a go at the school nurse for that one.

Still makes me wonder and shake my head in disbelief.......


Mary Lou
03-04-2005, 11:35 AM
It's funny that this post is active right now. The other day I ran into a woman who was giving me the third degree about Jamie's Scoliosis. She knew Jamie had been in the hospital but didn't know what she was in for. I told her about her Kyphoscoliosis and explained what they both were. She didn't seem to have a clue what I was talking about! She asked me why I didn't notice Jamie's Scoliosis. (as though all of us parents haven't questioned ourselves). She has two daughters so I asked her when was the last time either of her daughters had an x-ray of their back. She said never. I then asked her when was the last time she saw her 13. y.o. daughter in a bathing suit bending over, touching her toes and if she examined her back at that time and she had no clue when she saw her daughter in that position and she also told me she never checks her daughters' backs. I told her those were the two easiest ways to see Scoliosis. I told her thank God our family doctor checks my daughter yearly and she seemed like her doctor didn't check her girls. I was so mad!

I questioned our middle school nurse and was informed they check our girls in seventh grade. Jamie was diagnosed in August before her seventh grade year, so what if Jamie hadn't been diagnosed and was absent the day of the testing? She could have gone untreated for another year until her next yearly check up with our doctor. I called the high school today out of curiosity and aske if they check the girls in high school. I was basically told they don't and that they are required to get a physical in sixth and eleventh grades and that their family doctors should check them and besides, they are required to have a physical in order to play sports. I asked,what about my girls who aren't into sports, but are in the band and aren't required to have a physical? She didn't have an answer for me. What about the kids who never go to the doctor?

Thank you for listening to me ramble on. This just has me so frustrated! Sure, most girls are skeletally mature by eleventh grade, but my daughter is also skeletally mature, but her curve still progressed. I need to figure out a way to get the word out to other parents in our schoo district. Besides my daughter there is another child who had spinal fusion w/instrumentation this year and at least one other girl (all three kids are eighth graders) who wears a Boston brace, so it should be an important issue in our school.

Mary Lou

03-04-2005, 01:16 PM
Here's how I feel:

All three of my daughters play sports. All three of them are required to have sports physical's every other year. Guess what, they were never diagnosed at school or at their sports physicals. They all even went to a chiropractor on a regular basis to get their bones aligned, which was wasted money, because you can't fix this with a chiropractor. The chiropractor even missed it. My oldest daughter, Crystal, surgery March 15, even asked the chiropractor about it. She was just told she had lazy posture and so did her little sister. When Crystal would have to have chest x-rays because of her asthma, doctors would ask her if she had ever injured her back. Her response would be no, and the doctor wouldn't suggest anything else. So, even our medical profession missed it. The one that said something was a parent that I know that has a child with scoliosis. She even recommended a doctor for us to take Crystal for a Shriner referral.

I guess my thought is this: Those of us with this problem to deal with need to educate the rest of them, even the professionals. Because, they do miss it. And they missed it on all three of my kids, numerous times. I find I look at almost every kid now and see if they stand straight, etc.

I'll get off my soap box now.

'til later.

03-05-2005, 08:20 PM
i went to private elementary school, in new orleans, where there is no scoliosis testing. it is such a shame that my parents paid so much money and there was no testing for this nor was there an official school nurse! they did have a secretary who handed out bandaids and ice packs which i dont think counts!

anyways, even my pediatrician, who i visited regularly, never noticed my scoliosis. they never wven checked me for it! my mom noticed my scoliois and by the time i went to the doc for it my curve was an outragous 46%.

eventually, i had to have surgery and no have to live withthe scar down my back. i dont mind it much , but what i do mind is the fact that the doctor never checked me for it! ...i dont see that doctor anymore!!!

03-07-2005, 03:59 PM
There is no substitute for having your own pediatrician check for it. IMO, if he/she misses it, its time to get a new one. As far as nurses in school goes I guess results will vary. My daughter was just recently checked at her school and they sent a letter home saying that we should take her to a pediatrician because they detected it. This was a true diagnosis because our pediatrician had already discovered it about a year ago in its early stages.

07-28-2005, 12:08 AM
I was checked going into 7th grade by our PE teacher at school. Unfortunatly our teacher was out on maternity leave and the Substitute teacher didnt know what to look for. My freshman year of high school I went for a sports phusical at my GP's office and didnt find it then either. Finally just before my sophomore year, during another sports physical (different season) our team doctor found my curve. It had only been about 4 mos. since I had seen my GP and he had just totally missed it. OOPS!

08-26-2005, 11:35 AM
Hi everyone,

I stumbled across this website and was very interested in this thread. I am an RN presently working on my BSN with a focus on community health and can comment that (at least in my province of British Columbia) there is no formal training for nurses to detect scoliosis. While we do not have school nurses here, the public health nurses are in charge of a large area and, as far as I know, do not screen for this. Unless the nurse has personal experience with scoliosis or has worked with families and studied about it on his/her own and thus can recognize curvatures, there would be a high likelihood it would be missed.

In any case, I am adding this site to my favourites. I am learning a lot just by reading your posts and hope to add to my knowledge for future reference. Also, as a parent, even though I have professional training, it never occurred to me to observe my children's spines. I want to thank all of you for opening my eyes to this.


11-24-2005, 03:08 PM
Read those and learn:


And here in Finland only very few knows that method how to put the Si back to its place. I am lucky I found one some time ago...

If anyone knows more Shaw, DonTigny or others, I am trying to collect them for my study of SIJD... I have more than 100 links to documents of SIJD, but I'm sure there is more... Those are the best!

11-26-2005, 06:36 PM
I would like to get the exercises for SI joint disfunction, but your first 2 links don't work. Are there better ones?


11-29-2005, 06:20 PM
I never actually had scoliosis screening done at my school, because i had already had fusion at that point (seventh grade). however, i found from friends that you bend over and they look at your back (i imagine to look for a rib hump) and make an analysis. if they believe someone may have it, they contact their parents. the tests aren't very accurate because they thought one of my friends had scoliosis and she didn't, and by the time i would have been tested in school, i probably would have died.

my scoliosis was 'discovered' by my doctor during a physical when i was eight-ish, and by that point it was already pretty far along, but i don't remember the exact curves.

11-29-2005, 07:39 PM
my school district doesn't even offer scoliosis screening...we don't have the money!

12-18-2005, 08:15 PM
we have it in 5th and 8th grade...basically for most people, too early for it to really start developing to a noticable degree, and then too late to do too much treatment. I didn't have to get screened in 8th grade because of a doctor's note, but two of my friends who do have scoliosis didn't get caught.

I think some schools will actually hire people that work with scoliosis to come out, but it's probably fairly expensive.

12-18-2005, 08:42 PM
Try checking with some Orth. surgeons. See if they are willing to come to the schools and do a free screening. I think you might find some willing. It would be in their best interest, as some may actually choose them for their care.

Kindest Regards,

03-04-2006, 10:07 PM
I didn't read all the responses yet, but wanted to add my two cents.......
My scoliosis went undetected by the school nurse for years. Since nothing was ever said to my mom, I went years w/ just hearing "Jacqueline, stand up straight." " Jacqueline, you are getting a hump back b/c you don't stand up straight." "Jacqueline, keep your shoulders even". ETC for years!!! Mom knew the school tested for scoliosis and figured if there was anything wrong, they would have noticed. The result? I was diagnosed at age 15 w/ a 45* curve.

09-21-2008, 11:03 PM
Based on my own experience with scoliosis, my school also did the scoliosis screenings, which were JUST regular PE teachers, did NOT pick up my scoliosis. I was the one who found my scoliosis and my parents friend, who was a physical therapist at the time, determined that I indeed had scoliosis. However, since my curve was more of a thoracolumbar curve and was basically mild (30 degree curve) it was not picked up. These teachers are NOT qualified to be looking for scoliosis, nor is it easily picked up unless the curve is further advanced. An xray is the best way. The only reason I knew there was a problem is because I could feel one side of my ribs stick out more in the back and one of my hips was more pronounced than the other and a leg length discrepancy. Also I could not stand up straight, I tended to slouch but always thought it was because I was tall and thin. I would most definately NOT take what a teacher or nurse in a middle school has to say at face value when it comes to scoliosis. MANY are not picked up and basically this *screening* is a waste of time. It's better to go to a real doctor. I wish, however, I had never found my so-called *scoliosis* so I could have had a normal life. My life has never been the same since then and would have been better to be left alone.

1981-Harrington/Luque instrumentation T9-L5 for 30 degree thoracolumbar curve. Dr. Shufflebarger
1990-Revision surgery-Broken hardware/flatback deformity/pseudoarthrosis-Cotrel Dubousett instrumentation with extension into sacrum. (never done correctly) Dr. Shufflebarger
1995-Revision surgery-Severe flatback deformity/kyphosis-Moss Miami instrumentation (T5-sacrum) with titanium cages (back/front/back procedure), thoracoplasty, total reconstruction with osteotomies. (surgeon did surgery while coming down with chicken pox and developed encephalitis with brain damage, etc during 14 hr surgery) Dr. Shufflebarger
2005-Car accident-spinal cord injury/myelopathy from top of rods/hooks at T5. Surgery to remove hardware, with exception of cages. Permanent damage. Dr. Campbell
2008-5th surgery pending for severe stenosis in cervical spine, as well as lumbar spine because of prior surgeries.

11-05-2008, 03:40 PM
They do not, never did, and as far as I know aren't going to have any scoliosis testing in my school. I think they should, though.

11-06-2008, 06:57 AM
My daughter was screened by 3 pediatricians and twice in the
middle school and was told she did not have scoliosis - imagine
my surprise when standing in the front yard, someone besides
me noticed it, we finally insisted on an XRay, and were told ~45T/45L.
To cut the screeners a little slack, I do think the kids without
increased thoracic kiphosis and smaller degrees of rotation are harder to
spot. Also, the dancers are taught to bend from the hips, not
their spines and can fool imprecise screeners for quite a while.