Scoliosis comes from the Greek word meaning crooked. It is a curvature of the spine that can happen in any spinal region, and is primarily a lateral (sideways) “c” or “s” curve. Scoliosis is often undetected by the untrained eye, especially in mild cases, which are most often painless. The greater the curve becomes the more noticeable it can be, and the more health problems it creates. Mild cases affect girls and boys equally, but increases in females in moderate to severe cases. Scoliosis affects 5 to 7 million people in the US alone, and generally develops in children between the ages of 9 through 14.
If you have noticed any abnormalities in your child’s posture or body, or are simply curious about your own spine and would like to get it checked, contact us online at our Fort Collins office or call us at (970) 377-3557 to learn more about how we can help.
Types and Causes
- Idiopathic Scoliosis
- This is the most common type, the cause classified as generally unknown. It is generally accepted that it is due to hereditary and familial reasons and growth as a child. This is why it is critical to get children checked as scoliosis is more prevalent in children and can progress more quickly due to bone growth not being mature.
- Degenerative or Osteopathic Scoliosis
- This type can be due to traumatic injuries such as accidents or falls, back surgery, osteoporosis, fractures, or other bone abnormalities. Certain illnesses can produce degenerative scoliosis.
- Neuromuscular Scoliosis
- This type is caused by a condition which affects nerves or muscles of the back, including muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, polio, or neurofibromatosis. Each of these conditions has other symptoms and problems in addition to a scoliosis.
- Congenital Scoliosis
- This type is when there are birth defects that affect the vertebral segments of the spine. The spine does not form properly when a baby develops in the womb and can cause curvature.
Symptoms of Scoliosis
The onset of scoliosis is gradual and painless in most cases. It is most noticeable when a person in bending over, but parents can often miss the condition as it usually develops at an age when a child becomes more self-conscious and the parents are not as likely to see the naked back and notice the problem.
Moderate to severe scoliosis can cause subluxations (misalignment of the vertebrae, causing nerve pressure), pain, and imbalance of the muscles. The more severe the curve the more disfiguring it can become. This is because when the spine curves sideways the vertebrae that make up the spine also twist around, which pulls any attached muscles, ligaments, and ribs around with them. As a result:
- If the curve is in the chest (thoracic) region, the ribs and shoulder blade bulge on one side of the back. One shoulder may hang lower than the other and one shoulder blade may be higher than the other.
- If the curve is in the lower back (lumbar) region, it can make the pelvis thrust forward on one side and one leg may appear to be shorter than the other.
If this condition is left untreated and becomes severe, it can cause problems later in life. Advanced scoliosis can contribute to chronic back pain, compression of lung and heart tissue, and a multitude of different nerve disorders. In addition, pronounced scoliosis can create a negative self-image, especially in teens and young adults.
The most common medical treatment for scoliosis is to not “wait and see.” Don’t wait and see if it gets worse before you do something about it. Don’t wait until it is bad enough to require surgery to relieve pain and symptoms and permanently fuse your spine. Scheduling a spinal screening with a chiropractor can put your mind at ease and give you some natural, non-invasive treatment options without having to “wait and see if it gets worse.”
Our chiropractor will perform a thorough examination of your skeletal system, nervous system, analyze your health history and x-rays, then develop the best strategy to correct subluxations and allow the body to heal itself, as well as recommend exercises, physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and other natural methods of care that can aid your body in reducing and/or correcting scoliosis.
A: Generally, it is recommended by chiropractors that those suffering from scoliosis sleep on their back with a thin pillow or a rolled up towel placed under the shoulder blades or at the base of the spine.
A: Scoliosis patients must avoid keeping their neck bent forward, such as when using a mobile phone. Participating in high-contact sports like football may also be dangerous for these patients. Ballet and gymnastics are also among the activities that should be avoided.