Scoliosis is a lateral, or sideways, curvature in a person’s spine. Scoliosis affects about 3 in 100 people. Most people don’t have complications from this spinal curvature; however, some people develop debilitating symptoms.
The most common symptoms of scoliosis include clothes that hang unevenly, back, hip or neck pain, change in gait, decreased flexibility and in more advanced cases people can develop changes in cardiovascular and respiratory function. Although scoliosis doesn’t directly cause pain, the structural strain that spinal curvatures place on the body cause muscular and neurological imbalances which can most definitely cause pain.
- Congenital scoliosis, Early onset scoliosis, and Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis – These are age-dependent forms of scoliosis.
- Degenerative scoliosis – As we age, discs and joints degenerate, or break down, causing the spine to curve.
- Neuromuscular – Various neuromuscular conditions can cause contracture of the muscles, which over time can result in spinal curvature.
- Traumatic scoliosis – spinal curvature caused by an accident or injury.
Scoliosis is diagnosed through physical exams and various imaging techniques including x-rays in addition to CT and MRI scans. Proper diagnosis is essential to understanding the cause of a person’s scoliosis. Once the cause is identified, treatment can be initiated. Treatment options for scoliosis depend on the severity of the spinal curvature. When scoliosis is severe bracing and even surgery may be necessary.
To ensure good health for people with scoliosis, the goal in treatment is to keep muscles and joints functioning properly. Due to the curvature in the spine, muscles on either side of the spine will be either over stretched or too contracted. Because of these muscular imbalances, the person will most likely experience chronic pain. Maintaining a spine with a functional range of motion is of utmost importance.
In mild to moderate forms of scoliosis, chiropractic care can help tremendously. Dr. Mike Sorensen, our chiropractor, has huge success in helping his patients with scoliosis. He utilizes chiropractic manipulation, mobilization and individualized exercises to ensure proper joint motion and to strengthen stabilizing muscles. It is imperative to the long-term success for people who suffer from scoliosis to keep their body accustomed to movement to ensure that muscle balance and joint mobility remain functional.