Scoliosis is not a disease it is a descriptive term that refers to an abnormal spinal curve. All spines have curves these are normal in the neck, upper back and lower back it is normal to find anterior to posterior curves. Humans need these spinal curves to help the upper body maintain proper balance and alignment over the pelvis. Scoliotic curves are a right to left translation not an anterior to posterior translation and this leads to weakness and instability in the spine.
Who is at risk?
Scoliosis affects 2% of women and 0.5% of men in the general population. Scoliosis may be caused through several mechanisms, including congenital spine deformities, genetic conditions, neuromuscular problems and limb length inequality. Additional causes of scoliosis include cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy and tumors. Over 80% of scoliosis cases are idiopathic, which meaning we do not know the cause. Most idiopathic scoliosis cases are found in otherwise healthy people.
Idiopathic scoliosis is found in three categories based on age. The first is infantile found in children ages 3 and under. The next type is juvenile scoliosis found in 3-9 years old. Finally we have adolescent scoliosis found in10-18 years old. Not often but in very rare case scoliosis can occur in adult hood due to trauma. The most common form of scoliosis, representing approximately 80% of idiopathic scoliosis cases, is Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS), which develops in young adults around the onset of puberty. Adolescent scoliosis is often due to a rapid growth cycle in which the bones grow faster than the soft connective tissue, tendons and ligaments, and leads to an imbalance from one side to another.
People with a family history of spinal deformity are at greater risk for developing scoliosis and early detection is essential. If a scolioses curve is discovered before the growth plates close in a persons early twenties there is high likely hood of partial or complete correction.
About Scoliosis: Symptoms
The warning signs of scoliosis are shoulders are different heights, one shoulder-blade is more prominent than the other, head is not centered directly above the pelvis, appearance of a raised, prominent hip, rib cages are at different heights, uneven waist, changes in look or texture of skin overlying the spine, and leaning of entire body to one side. These can all be signs but don mean you have scoliosis you should see your chiropractor for a complete evaluation and remember that x-ray is the best way to diagnose scoliosis.
A standard exam that is often used by chiropractor is called the Adam’s Forward Bend Test. Most children should be tested in the fifth or sixth grade. For this test, the patient is asked to lean forward with his or her feet together and bend 90 degrees at the waist. The examiner can then easily view from this angle any asymmetry of the trunk or any abnormal spinal curvatures. It should be noted that this is a simple screening test scoliosis is usually confirmed with an x-ray of the spine. The curve is then measured by the Cobb Method and is discussed in terms of degrees. Generally speaking, a curve is considered significant if it is greater than 25 to 30 degrees. Curves exceeding 45 to 50 degrees are considered severe and often require more aggressive treatment or surgical intervention. The chiropractor may also conduct exams to test reflexes, motor and sensory functions, and breathing ability. After a diagnosis is made, your doctor will suggest a treatment plan.
Once scoliosis has been diagnosed there are several factors to take into account when discussing treatment. Spinal maturity, is the patient’s spine still growing and changing? Degree and extent of curvature, how severe is the curve and how does it affect the patient’s lifestyle? Location of curve, according to the Scoliosis Research Society, thoracic (upper spine) curves are more likely to progress than thoracolumbar (middle spine) or lumbar (lower spine) curves. Potential for progression, patients who have large curves prior to their adolescent growth spurts are more likely to experience curve progression.
After all the test and exams are assessed there are four treatment options for scoliosis: (1) observation, (2) orthopedic bracing, (3) surgery, (4) chiropractic care
Chiropractic Care:Spine Treatment
Chiropractic care is non-invasive Treatment for scoliosis. This means that when undergoing treatment you do not have to take any prescription drugs or go through a surgical procedure. The process is all natural and drug free. This is because the main principle of chiropractic is to focus on the body’s own natural healing abilities. Chiropractic treatment deals with the adjustment of the spine and according to the research conducted by the National Scoliosis Foundation, chiropractic adjustment has been found to be a good alternative treatment for those who suffering from scoliosis. Chiropractic treatment for scoliosis may involve several procedures depending on the severity of the condition. These treatments may include spinal manipulation, active exercise methods, and postural counseling.
So how can chiropractic treatment help you with your scoliosis? Chiropractic care does not only treat the current problems that are associated with scoliosis but it can also help in alleviating and controlling the symptoms that comes with it. Scoliosis patients who have been treated with chiropractic care have reported to have reduction in the size of the curves, measured using the Cobb Method. This does not happen overnight. Chiropractic care for scoliosis requires multiple visits in order for the patient to experience its full benefits. A chiropractor can also monitor your progress to ensure that you are doing the right thing and to see if the treatment yields favorable results. A chiropractor will recommend you to check with another medical specialist if he or she thinks that is the best course of action for you regarding your condition.
By: Paul R. Mahler Jr. DC
Mahler Family Chiropractic Center
1144 wyoming Ave.
Kingston, PA. 18704
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