My 13-year-old son was recently diagnosed with scoliosis. Scoliosis is a musculoskeletal disorder in which there is a curvature of the spine, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Of every 1,000 children, 3 to 5 develop spinal curves that are considered large enough to need treatment. In 80 to 85 percent of kids with scoliosis, the cause is uncertain. My son Grant falls into that category.
Grant had an appointment in July to see his pediatrician for his annual well-child visit. During his physical exam, his physician showed concern about Grant’s back. In previous physical exams, no spine curvature was noted. However, Grant had recently experienced a tremendous growth spurt and that can impact this condition.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, curves often do not appear until the early teenage years. Small curves often go unnoticed until a child hits a growth spurt during puberty. Because scoliosis is rarely painful, children and their parents may not discover it until there are more obvious signs.
Our physician wrote an order for further radiology testing, and also referred us to a pediatric orthopedic specialist.
Next up was a radiology exam called a scoliosis survey performed at Hendricks Regional Health Danville. During the test, our radiology technologist was great to explain each step to put Grant at ease. It only took 10 to 15 minutes total. Grant was amazed that the “pictures” were of his entire spine!
The orthopedic specialist saw two very important things in Grant’s radiology test results: (1) he had a significant curve of 32 to 36 degrees; and (2) he had quite a bit of growing left to do. Those factors meant the best option for him was bracing.
Off we went to have Grant fitted for his new brace. As a parent, this step was the one I was most anxious about. Grant is autistic and has sensory issues that cause him to steer clear of activities like walking barefoot on the grass or touching silly putty. I was worried the process of making a mold would be challenging for him.
Turns out, Grant did great! He first put on a netting material shaped a bit like a tank top. Next, the orthotist wrapped a wet material over his torso area (very similar to getting a cast). Grant was a trooper, and stood very still during this process.
Cutting the mold off bothered Grant the most. Fortunately our orthotist, Mohamad Mansoori of Advanced OrthoPro in Indianapolis, was very skilled and did this part efficiently and quickly. Mr. Mansoori is a certified orthotist and prosthetist who has been working with patients like Grant since 1970. In fact, he made foot orthotics for Grant 10 years ago. It was nice to see a familiar face – and Mr. Mansoori was thrilled to see Grant walking so well!
I have learned a lot so far in our scoliosis story. We already knew Grant was special, and he has proven it yet again! According to Mr. Mansoori, about 95 percent of kids with scoliosis that he sees are girls between ages 8 and 12. Grant sure knows how to keep life interesting!
Before we left, Grant noticed his brace mold sitting on the table (pictured). He was enthralled … he called it his cocoon! I decided right then and there that our family would look at this adventure as Grant’s journey to becoming a beautiful butterfly. He’s on his way!