Scoliosis and Chiropractic therapies

Scoliosis an Introduction

When the body is viewed from behind, a normal spine is straight without much disparity from side-to-side.Scoliosis is an affliction that is commonly associated with a lateral, or side-to-side, curvature of the spine.This condition often gives the appearance of the person leaning to one side though it should not be confused with poor posture. Scoliosis is a troublesome deformity that is defined by both lateral curvature and rotation of the vertebra oftentimes producing a symptomatic “rib hump” in the mid or thoracic spine. This is caused by the vertebrae in the region of the major curve rotating toward the concavity and pushing their attached ribs posterior thereby causing the symptomatic rib hump seen in thoracic scoliosis. If the thoracic curve and rib rotation are severe, more than 70 degrees, pulmonary and cardiac function can be obstructed. Often later in life in untreated severe idiopathic infantile and juvenile scoliosis patients, this amount of curve and consequential cardiac and pulmonary changes can be life threatening.


If you were to view the trunk from a side view, the spine would display four normal curves: the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral. In the lower spine there is a healthy “C-shaped” curve called swayback or lordosis, while the thoracic curve in the chest vicinity has a “reverse C” called a kyphosis. Hyperlordosis is the term used to describe increased swayback, while increased kyphosis in the thoracic spine is called hyperkyphosis. Alterations from normal that are visible from a side view frequently accompany scoliosis changes. Some round back deformities are simply due to bad posture and can often be corrected with postural exercises. A small percentage of individuals with kyphosis have more rigid deformities than the postural type, which are coincidental with vertebral deformity. This class of deformity, called Scheuermann’s kyphosis, is much more difficult to treat than postural kyphosis, and it’s cause is unknown.

Almost anyone can help to identify a child or fully-grown individual with scoliosis merely by observing the person in a standing position, preferably with no shirt and in , and observing the following:

  • One shoulder may be raised than the other.
  • One scapula (shoulder blade) may be raised or more conspicuous than the other.
  • There may be more room between the arm and the body on one side when the arms hang loosely at the side.
  • One hip may appear to be raised or more conspicuous than the other.
  • The head is not aligned with the pelvis.
  • One side of the back appears more elevated than the other when the individual is analyzed from the rear and asked to bend forward until the the spine is horizontal.

Once scoliosis is detected, the child or adult should be sent to a healthcare professional, such as a chiropractor, for further evaluation. your chiropractor would be happy to help.

There are a variety of roots and many types of scoliosis, however the most common, by far, is Idiopathic Scoliosis, which accounts for approximately 85 % of all cases. “Idiopathic” means “no known cause” and is witnessed with equal occurrence in boys and girls in the mild or low curve magnitudes. This disorder can be sub-classified into infantile, juvenile and adolescent types, contingent upon the age of onset. Idiopathic Scoliosis may be caused by genetic or hereditary influences as it commonly runs in families. For reasons yet to be found, girls are five to eight times more likely than boys to have their curves grow in size and require treatment. The most common time for the development of Idiopathic Scoliosis is during adolescence when children are ending the last major growth spurt. Unfortunately, at this age young people are reluctant to permit their body to be looked at by parents and other adults, so it is wise to have this age group viewed on a regular basis.

If a scoliotic curve is observed in the growing adolescent, it is vital that the curves be monitored for development by periodic examination and occasionally standing X-rays. In ninety percent of conditions, the scoliosis is mild and does not require active treatment, however increases in spinal deformity demand evaluation to decide if a brace or other therapy is required. In a small number of patients, surgical treatment may be necessary.~Surgery may be necessary for a small number of individuals.

Brace treatment (orthosis) is recommended for newly-found conditions of moderate scoliosis or abnormal kyphosis, as well as when an increase in scoliosis or kyphosis is observed in both juvenile and adolescent children. There are quite a few styles of braces, all designed to prevent curves from increasing by acting as a buttress for the spine during active skeletal growth. Bracing is successful in stopping curve progression in an impressive number of skeletally-immature adolescents. Nevertheless, braces normally will not make the spine completely straight, and cannot always keep a curve from getting bigger.

Scoliosis has no simple answer. Most cases, even though frequently monitored, are not actively treated. Severe symptoms are infrequently treated surgically, but the general medical treatment for moderate cases is a brace. You may want to see your local chiropractor first.

In addition to bracing, many other therapies have been used successfully such as specialized exercise, electric stimulation of spinal muscles, nutritional programs, and chiropractic treatments. It seems like the best results have been sustained with a multi-faceted approach to the treatment of this affliction.

There are chiropractors, that have expertise treating scoliosis cases.


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