4 Scoliosis Nursing Care Plans


Scoliosis is a lateral curving of the spine with the thoracic area being the most commonly affected. It can be classified as functional or structural. Functional scoliosis is the result of another deformity and is corrected by treating the underlying problem. Structural scoliosis is most often idiopathic although it may be congenital or secondary to another disorder. There is a growing body of evidence that idiopathic scoliosis is probably genetic but the etiology is not completely understood. Structural scoliosis is more progressive and causes changes in supporting structures, such as the ribs. Management includes observation, bracing, and surgical fusion. Patients with idiopathic curves of less than 25 degrees are observed for progress until they have reached skeletal maturity. Bracing is recommended for adolescents with curves between 30 and 45 degrees, while curves greater than 45 degrees usually require surgery. The deformity may occur at any age, from infancy through adolescence, but the best prognosis belongs to those who are almost fully grown and whose curvature is of a mild degree. Idiopathic scoliosis most commonly occurs in adolescent girls.

Nursing Care Plans

Nursing care planning goals for a pediatric client with scoliosis may include restoration of normal breathing pattern, relief of pain, improved physical mobility, enhanced learning, stop the progression of the curve and prevent deformity.

Here are four (4) nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis (NDx) for scoliosis:

  1. Ineffective Breathing Pattern
  2. Impaired Physical Mobility
  3. Disturbed Body Image
  4. Deficient Knowledge

Impaired Physical Mobility

Nursing Diagnosis

May be related to

  • Musculoskeletal impairment, pain, and discomfort

Possibly evidenced by

  • Reluctance to attempt movement
  • Limited range of motion
  • Imposed restrictions of movement by medical protocol, resting or immobilization of joint by splinting and positioning
  • Fatigue
  • Malaise

Desired Outcomes

  • Child will maintain proper body alignment and progress with activity as ordered by the physician.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Assess the level of physical mobility.Understanding the particular level, guides the design of best possible management plan.
Assess client’s description of pain including the type, location, and intensity.Severe curvature of the spine creates  stress and pressure on the spinal discs,  muscles, nerves, and ligaments that can lead to pain.
Instruct with the use of nonpharmacologic pain management techniques, such as
imagery, relaxation, touch, music.
Use of these techniques will divert attention, therefore decreasing the pain.
Encourage the child to perform
active range-of-motion exercises.
Promotes good circulation; helps maintain strength and muscle tone
Encourage regular postural exercises.These exercises may help in correcting the posture and managing the effects of scoliosis.
Teach and encourage use of brace as indicated.The primary purpose of utilizing a brace is to prevent or slow down the progression of the spinal curve.
Collaborate with the physical therapist as indicated.Physical therapy uses corrective techniques in order to prevent curve progression that enables continued maintenance and improvement of quality of life.

Recommended Resources

Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.

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See also

Other recommended site resources for this nursing care plan:

Other nursing care plans for musculoskeletal disorders and conditions:

Paul Martin is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing since 2007. Having worked as a medical-surgical nurse for five years, he handled different kinds of patients and learned how to provide individualized care to them. Now, his experiences working in the hospital is carried over to his writings to help aspiring students achieve their goals. He is currently working as a nursing instructor and have a particular interest in nursing management, emergency care, critical care, infection control, and public health. As a writer at Nurseslabs, his goal is to impart his clinical knowledge and skills to students and nurses helping them become the best version of themselves and ultimately make an impact in uplifting the nursing profession.