Scoliosis is a progressive, lateral curvature of the spine. Normally, when viewed from the side, the spine should have curves; but when viewed from the front, the spine should be straight. In scoliosis, the spine is curved even when it is on the front view.
The most commonly found type of scoliosis is called “adolescent idiopathic scoliosis”. Idiopathic means “of unknown origin”. However, recent research on the cause of scoliosis seems to suggest that there is often a genetic factor which affects the control of the growth of the spine. Scoliosis can affect both children and adults. In children, it can be a more serious condition because it can rapidly progress as the child grows.
Scoliosis is usually first seen in children between the ages of 10 and 15. However, it can occur in younger children aged 3 to 10 years (juvenile scoliosis) and in babies (infantile scoliosis). Scoliosis can also occur in adults with no previous history, due to spinal degeneration and advancing age. This is called De Novo Scoliosis.
The effects of scoliosis include: poor posture, shoulder humping, muscle weakness, and pain. In rare cases, scoliosis can lead to heart and lung problems. If scoliosis is detected and treated early, patients can avoid these symptoms. If left untreated, scoliosis can sometimes require surgery.
Chiropractic Treatment of Scoliosis
Conservative scoliosis treatments have the best result when the condition is detected early and treated with appropriate and proven methods. By combining treatments into a program tailored for each patient and adjusted according to response, it is often possible to avoid the more unpleasant, expensive, and dangerous options. The program should include:
- Specific chiropractic adjustments, designed to correct dysfunction of skeletal structures and reduce the torsion in the spinal cord
- Use of foot orthotics and heel lifts to level the pelvis
- Exercises specifically designed to address balance, coordination, and proprioceptive (body awareness) problems as well as stretch the muscles around the curves and correct changes in muscle fibres
- Nutritional support
Chiropractic care for scoliosis can be very effective, especially when the deformity is in the early stages. The treatment program requires a commitment by the patient and their family, but if undertaken enthusiastically, it has the potential to prevent the need for much more drastic treatments later on.