Parents are usually very concerned about the development of their child’s brain. They want to ensure that the kid is going to be intelligent and academically strong and able to make bundles of money. However, not many pay attention to the most important part of the human body, namely the spine.
As adults, a large number of us are falling prey to spinal problems. Right from constant back aches to sciatica to even prolapsed discs, all of it has become very common. The root of all these problems lies in a weak back. A back that should have been strengthened in childhood and given the attention it deserved.
Causes of Spinal Problems in Children
Back aches and spinal issues are usually associated with adult life. Most of us believe that sitting on the work desk for hours on end is the only reason why we develop back problems. Since kids do not need to do so, their backs are safe. Nothing could be further from the truth. Children’s spines are much more prone to spinal problems as opposed to adults. A few common causes of spinal problems in children are discussed below –
- Birth – The process of being expelled from the uterus is traumatic for the child. In fact, the spine and the skull go through maximum trauma during this time. This process can lead to spinal injuries or trauma that may either show up immediately or re-surface during later years of the child’s life.
- Falls – There is not a child in the world who has not had a fall of some kind or the other. These falls tend to affect the spine in varying degrees of intensity. Again here the symptoms of the injury may or may not show up immediately and may not be visible especially to the medically untrained eye
- Congenital problems – Another cause for spinal problems in kids is congenital issues. The fetus may have gone through a problem during its developmental stages, which effected the development of the spine adversely. More often than not these congenital problems can be spotted in an ultrasound before birth or even when the child is born.
- Genetic issues – Genes play a huge role in our physical development. There are a series of spinal problems that maybe passed on to a child due to his/her gene pool. Again here there is no saying when this problem will occur and its symptoms show up.
Types of Spinal Problems in Children
When it comes to the types of spinal issues that afflict children, the list is rather extensive. While most of our adulthood spinal issues also find their root in childhood causes, there are some spinal ailments which show up in the early years itself. Some of these are discussed in detail below –
- Spina Bifida - Here the child may not suffer any health problem, though there have been times where ADHD, improper hand eye co-ordination, problem with bowel or even bladder control has been associated with this disease. There are two main types of spina bifida namely occulta and manifesta. The former is a milder disease as opposed to the latter. While there is no cure for this medical condition, the treatment can ensure a normal and healthy and full life span to the child.
- Spinal muscular atrophy - This degenerative disorder attacks the spine and results in muscle failure. There are four types of muscular atrophy and in all four cases only treatment is possible, since there is no cure as yet. It is a degenerative disorder and so a full life span is rarely an option. The symptoms of this disease come in huge range. Afflicted children tend to have lower muscular control, so bowel and urinal control gets difficult. Legs could be weak, swallowing could be a problem and the child may keep the head tilted to one side.
- Scoliosis - Here there is an abnormal curvature to the spine. The spine curves from side to side and can be caused by either congenital condition, or be neuromuscular. More often than not the disease is said to be idiopathic since the cause is unknown. The treatment of the problem ranges from exercises, bracing to even surgery depending upon the time of onset and also the intensity of the disease. Constantly monitoring the curvature plays a huge role in treatment of scoliosis, since the treatment depends on the extent of the curvature. Since repetitive x rays are not considered too good for the human body, a scoliometer is used by doctors to measure the curvature of the patient. Today there is the possibility of using the ScolioTrack iPhone application for this purpose too.
- Traumatic spinal diseases - Of course there are the traumatic spinal diseases that afflict children too. Here the problem occurs due to a fall or any other similar trauma borne by the child. The path of treatment will depend on the type of trauma and its success shall also be guided by the extent of injury.
Spinal Care for kids
As parents we need to pay attention to the spinal health of the child starting right from the conception stage. Nutrition and attention both play a huge role in the spinal development of the child. However, constant monitoring is also required in order to ensure that the spinal health is not deteriorating.
In case the child shows signs of spinal complications, do not hesitate to get a diagnosis as soon as possible. In cases where a diagnosis has been reached the proper care and medical advice should be followed fully.
Technology has developed enough today to put our health in our own hands. Several applications and instruments today make it possible for patients with spinal problems to keep a tab on their own health and spinal condition. For example, the ScolioTrack is one application that allows iPhone owners to check the extent of spinal Scoliosis. The iPhone accelerometer and camera combine to allow the user to check the curvature of the spine and keep a tab on the progression of the Scoliosis. The application measures the angle of trunk rotation and this proves highly beneficial to the patient. The fact that the application also helps to measure height and weight adds to the advantages of the ScolioTrack and comes as a huge boon for those looking to keep a tab on their health quotient.
In short, caring for the spine is not an option, it is mandatory. When looking to have healthy and fit children, great attention needs to be paid to the development of the spine. Keep in mind that spinal complications can take on a serious turn and sometimes ruin the child’s life completely. So, keep the above information in mind and here’s hoping for great health and happiness for your child.
Dr Kevin Lau is the founder of Health In Your Hands, a series of tools for Scoliosis prevention and treatment. The set includes his bestselling books Your Plan for Natural Scoliosis Prevention and Treatment and An Essential Guide for Scoliosis and a Healthy Pregnancy, a companion Scoliosis Exercises for Prevention and Correction DVD, and the innovative iPhone and Andoid application ScolioTrack.
Twitter - http://www.Twitter.com/DrKevinLau
Back to Articles