Talking to Your Doctor About Scoliosis
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You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with scoliosis. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Does my child have any spinal curvature?
- What degree is the curvature?
- Is there any way to tell whether the scoliosis has resulted in any other complications?
- Is my child's scoliosis the most common kind (idiopathic: of unknown origin), or might it be due to some other medical condition?
About Your Risk of Developing Scoliosis
- What is the chance that my child might develop scoliosis?
- Should my other children be screened for scoliosis?
- Is there any new information about ways to decrease the risk of developing scoliosis?
About Treatment Options
- Can my child be monitored instead of wearing a brace?
- How frequently will monitoring occur?
- Will he or she need to wear a brace?
- If a brace is necessary, how long will it have to be worn each day?
- How many years will a brace be required?
- Might surgery be necessary?
- How will we know if surgery is necessary?
About Lifestyle Changes
- Are there any activities my child can’t participate in?
- Is there any new information about any kinds of exercise or other lifestyle changes that might be beneficial?
- Could my scoliosis lead to any kind of disability?
- How likely is it that my child's degree of scoliosis will progress?
- Is there anything I can do to slow or halt the progression of scoliosis?
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.aaos.org/ .
Campbell’s Operative Orthopaedics. 9th ed. Mosby; 1999.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/ .
Scoliosis Research Society website. Available at: http://www.srs.org/ .
Last reviewed August 2008 by ]]>Robert E. Leach, MD]]>
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