You don’t have to be a chiropractor to know that our backbones are some of the most important bones in our bodies. They protect our spinal cord and for most people, they keep us walking straight and tall. For a person with scoliosis, however, the spine can also be the source of a number of challenges.
While scoliosis is a common condition, affecting 1 in every 25 people, there is not a lot of awareness about the condition. In recognition of this, we are taking this opportunity to shed some light on scoliosis and how chiropractic can provide support and relief to those who have it.
What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a common spinal deformity in which the spine develops with one or more abnormal curves. While most cases of scoliosis are mild, severe cases can require surgery to prevent the condition from worsening. Depending on how badly the spine is misaligned, symptoms of scoliosis can include uneven posture, pain, reduced flexibility, difficulty breathing, organ damage and in severe cases, death.
Who can get it?
Anyone can get scoliosis. The most common type of scoliosis, idiopathic scoliosis, generally develops in children and more often in girls than boys. There are a number of factors that can prompt scoliosis to develop, such as neuromuscular conditions, birth defects and old age but there is uncertainty about what causes idiopathic scoliosis.
Who can screen for scoliosis?
A physician, chiropractor or other healthcare professional can assess whether or not you have scoliosis.
There are three main components to scoliosis care; assessment, diagnosis and treatment.
Assessment: This is composed of a screening to determine if a patient has scoliosis, and if they do, how severe. A scoliosis screening is a non-invasive physical exam that can take as little as 30 seconds. The healthcare professional examines the patient’s body for any signs of uneven posture or irregular curves in the spine.
Diagnosis: Once a scoliosis of the spine is detected, healthcare professionals can begin conversations about ongoing monitoring, and treatment. Ongoing monitoring of scoliosis is a critical component of scoliosis care.
Treatment: The primary goal of scoliosis treatment is to maximize the mobility and function of the patient’s body. The abnormal curves associated with scoliosis can cause stresses on weight-bearing joints. This can cause pain throughout the patient’s body, not just the spine. Some examples of treatments include bracing, exercise and chiropractic adjustments. Very severe cases of scoliosis may require surgery to correct the curve.
Scoliosis and chiropractic
When a condition causes the backbone to develop abnormally, people can be unsure whether chiropractic treatment is safe and effective. With their educational background, chiropractors are especially well-equipped to work with individuals with scoliosis. They can assess and safely treat people with scoliosis. They can also monitor the scoliosis, order x-rays and refer patients directly to a medical specialist when necessary.
How can chiropractic help people with scoliosis?
Chiropractors spend over seven years studying how to assess, diagnose, treat and prevent problems of the spine and musculoskeletal (MSK) system (joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves). This educational background can make them ideal healthcare providers for the management or co-management of conditions like scoliosis.
Chiropractors can provide support to patients on a number of different fronts, from lifestyle counseling to alleviating pain and restoring levels of mobility.
Here are three specific ways that chiropractic treatment is beneficial:
If you have scoliosis and are interested in trying chiropractic, here are some things to keep in mind: