What is scoliosis?
Everyone’s spine has a natural front-to-back curve — that’s what produces the normal rounding of the shoulders and the sway of the lower back. However, some people suffer from “Scoliosis” — an abnormal curvature of the spine, especially one characterized by a rotational side-to-side deformity. In simple terms, what this means is that the spine is twisted side-to-side, often taking on an “S” shaped appearance and even resembling a corkscrew in some cases. Almost three out of every 100 people have some degree of abnormal spinal curvature, and for some it never becomes a serious problem. But for many others, the curve gets worse over time and can cause considerable pain, frustration, and limitations on normal activities. Severe scoliosis can even complicate breathing and circulation.
Who suffers from scoliosis?
The most common form of scoliosis is called idiopathic scoliosis, which basically means that the cause is unknown. Anyone can suffer from scoliosis; the condition usually begins in childhood, although too often it is not identified until the teenage years or later. Scoliosis tends to run in families, and it affects many more girls than boys. In fact, research indicates that girls are nearly eight times more likely than boys to have scoliosis and five times more likely to require some form of treatment for their condition than boys, and the curvature of their spine is more likely to worsen over time, especially if left unattended.
What are some of the symptoms?
Sometimes curvature of the spine is visible (the body tilts to the left or the right, or one shoulder blade is raised higher than the other. Some of the actual physical symptoms of scoliosis can include back pain, fatigue (especially postural fatigue — feeling tired when standing, sitting, etc.), and in more severe cases, problems with circulation and breathing.
How can chiropractic help?
Doctors of chiropractic are trained to identify and manage problems relating to the spine and the back. An initial visit to the chiropractor will include a thorough physical and diagnostic examination (including range-of-motion tests and spinal x-rays) to identify any problems you may be having, including whether you or your children may be suffering from abnormal or dangerous curvature of the spine. If you do show signs of scoliosis, your chiropractor can provide a variety of techniques to help your condition, including spinal adjustments to increase movement and bio-mechanical function, and advice on posture and exercise to help prevent further increase in the problem.