Doctors call for early detection and intervention for children's curved spine

Wan Tingting
There are 3 million people suffering scoliosis, or curved spine, in China, 80 percent of whom developed the condition between the ages of 10 and 15. 
Wan Tingting

Shanghai’s Xinhua Hospital has teamed up with the government, sports universities and foundations to establish a network for early detection and intervention of curved spine in children, a severe problem impacting children’s healthy growth.

There are 3 million people suffering scoliosis, or curved spine, in China, 80 percent of whom developed the condition between the ages of 10 and 15. Among the 300,000 new patients detected every year, over half are adolescent.

“Slight curved spine can be treated through physical exercise and proper rehabilitation, while those with serious problems need to undergo surgery,” said Yang Junlin, director of the spine center of Xinhua Hospital. “About 88 percent of teenagers with curved spine suffer slight bending within 20 degrees, which can be cured through early detection and physical exercise.”

The incidence of curved spine globally is 2 to 3 percent, however a previous study among 370,000 middle school students in five cities across China found the number to be as high as 5.4 percent.

“The figure alarmed us sufficiently to establish this network for screening and early detection of the condition,” Yang said.

He said parents should be on alert when children are sitting with bad posture or in one position for a long time, and visit the hospital for timely diagnosis and treatment.

The network will include screening among local children, intervention and treatment for patients, as well as training for physical education teachers in schools to help with early detection and prevention.

“Local education authorities and foundations have participated to help the program really benefit all children,” said Dr Pan Shuming, vice president of Xinhua Hospital.

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