When Vivian was 12 years old, she was at the pediatrician for a routine checkup when her doctor noticed there was an issue with her spine. She was referred to a spine specialist who, after reviewing an X-ray of her spine, diagnosed her with scoliosis.
Since Vivian's scoliosis was considered mild, her doctor suggested they wait and see how her spine developed as she continued to grow. After some time passed, however, her mother, Janée, wanted to seek another opinion.
"Vivian was growing really fast during this time period, and I felt like we needed to be doing more," Janée says.
Vivian and her family find expert scoliosis care at Children's Health℠
Janée began researching local pediatric scoliosis experts and discovered the Children's Health Andrews Institute Spine Center. Vivian's first appointment was in August 2019, and from the very beginning, Janée felt confident that her daughter was in good hands.
"They addressed all of our questions and listened to each of my concerns," Janée says. "At this point, Vivian's scoliosis had crossed over from mild to moderate, and although she was still very active, we were concerned that she might have long-term effects as she got older."
An MRI confirmed that Vivian's spinal cord was not the cause of her scoliosis, but her care team, along with Vivian and her family, agreed it was time to take a more proactive approach.
Vivian was fitted for a specialized back brace, which she wears for several hours a day, to prevent the lower curve in her back from progressing as her body continues to grow.
To complement her bracing treatments, Vivian began working with a physical therapist who specializes in the Schroth method, a nonsurgical treatment to help improve spine alignment in patients with scoliosis.
In therapy, Vivian and her care team focused on specialized breathing, stretching and strengthening exercises to improve her spinal posture and alignment over the course of several sessions. Vivian, who is athletic, picked up the Schroth exercises quickly and was able to easily implement them at home as well.
"It helps that Vivian enjoys physical activity because the exercise doesn't feel foreign to her," Janée says. "The therapy focuses a lot on fine tuning the muscles, and I don't think people really appreciate how much all of those minor adjustments add up to be effective."
Fortunately, Vivian's scoliosis does not cause her pain, and she plans to continue her athletic pursuits when the school year starts again. She will continue to be closely monitored over the coming years and work with her care team to make adjustments to her treatment plan as needed.
Learn more about scoliosis treatment
The highly trained pediatric spine specialists at the Children's Health Andrews Institute Spine Center use advanced treatment technology and techniques to treat all children with spinal irregularities and scoliosis. Learn more about our spine and scoliosis treatment program.
You are now subscribed to the Children's Health Family Newsletter.