Many people with scoliosis feel like their options have run out. They can either have corrective surgery or simply live with their condition and manage it with pain medication. But we have some good news! If you can catch the bend early enough, chiropractic care can prevent it from getting any worse. In this post, we explore how scoliosis develops, how doctors can identify it, and how chiropractors can treat people suffering from this debilitating condition.
What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a condition in which the affected person has a bend or curve in the spine, whereas a healthy spine is completely vertical. The exact origin of the curve is often hard to trace. In the beginning stages, it could be just a small bend caused by a simple misalignment of a vertebrae. Over time, the body will compensate, building musculature that continues to pull the spine into curves in order to keep the head level.
The initial misalignment can occur because of postural issues, degenerative diseases, or traumatic accidents. While many cases of scoliosis begin between the ages of 10 and 12, the condition can also develop in older adults. In older people, degenerative disorders like osteoporosis are often the cause of the scoliosis.
How to identify scoliosis
Typically, scoliosis begins as a minor bend in the spine that gradually progresses over a lifetime. In general, a diagnosis of scoliosis is made when the spine curves more than ten degrees to the right or left when a patient is facing the examiner. Once the spine has advanced to more extreme stages of scoliosis there can be severe health consequences.
Parents, or someone close to the person with scoliosis, are often the first to notice the curve, because the shoulders and pelvis no longer appear level. A physical exam assesses their gait and uses visual and manual exams to assess the curvature of the spine. An Adams Position Test, which requires the patient to bend forward as far as possible, can indicate whether an issue is present or not. If the doctor discovers a noticeable curvature, he or she will use an x-ray to determine the extent of the condition.
Health consequences of scoliosis
If scoliosis and its cause go unchecked, then it can lead to severe, long-term consequences. These include:
- back, neck, shoulder, and buttocks pain
- Re-occurring injuries
- Diminished lung and heart capacity
- Painful menstruation
- Physical disability
Chiropractors can treat scoliosis
Professional chiropractors are trained to complete a thorough examination to diagnose scoliosis. Once identified, he or she will perform a full health history to identify any factors that could be contributing to the presence of scoliosis. This assessment helps to determine the appropriate treatment for the particular case.
Chiropractic care is a gentle and conservative approach to treatment that can prevent, slow, and stop the progression of scoliosis. A chiropractor will likely perform specific spinal adjustments to reverse the body’s compensations and assist in the restoration process.