Scoliosis is a common condition that affects around 3% of the US population, to a lesser or greater degree. Some people live with scoliosis perfectly happily, while for others the condition can become severe enough to require surgery. Unfortunately, scoliosis is a progressive disease, which means that even mild/moderate cases can progress far enough that surgery could be the only available traditional option. Chiropractic care takes a different approach to scoliosis management and treatment than traditional medicine that can help to avoid the need for surgical options for many scoliosis patients.
What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a sideways curve of the spine. Some people are born with scoliosis, but for others, it develops over time. It is most likely to develop between the ages of 10 and 15. In 8 out of 10 cases the cause of scoliosis isn't known.
Scoliosis is quite a visible condition, and those with scoliosis will see some telltale signs. These include:
* Clothes hang unevenly
* One shoulder blade higher than the other
* Uneven hips
* Ribs sticking out on one side
* Leaning to one side
* A visibly curved spine
Adults with scoliosis can also experience back pain and a reduction in function.
How can chiropractic care help with scoliosis?
In cases of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (scoliosis that develops in adolescence with no known cause), chiropractic care is a promising treatment approach that can prevent further curving of the spine and can reduce the Cobb angle (the current curve) )https://chiro.org/Conditions/Spinal_Manipulative_Therapy_for_Adolescent.shtml). This means that chiropractic care is at least as effective as the traditional observation/bracing approaches taken by general practitioners.
The situation for adults is a little more complicated. Many adults with scoliosis are unlikely to see a reduction in their Cobb angle, but chiropractic care can prevent the progression of the curve (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3259989/). But, reducing the curve isn't most patients' main priority when seeking treatment for their scoliosis.
The curve itself, in most cases, doesn't interfere with everyday life. Patients with scoliosis can live full, happy, and active lives. They can participate in sports and can function as well as anybody else. As long as their scoliosis is well-managed. When scoliosis isn't managed, it can result in pain, stiffness, and disability. And it is these secondary symptoms that most people are seeking to relieve.
Chiropractic care focuses on strengthening the spine so that it can support itself, reducing pressure on the nerves in the back, improving flexibility and reducing stiffness, and training the body to hold itself in a different way. The treatment plan will vary according to the needs of each patient, as well as the outcome of the initial diagnostic procedures.
Treatments can include:
* Scoliosis-specific spinal manipulation
* Exercise therapy
* Scoliosis-specific massage
* Scoliosis-specific stretching
* Corrective bracing
* Sensorimotor training
Many adult patients with scoliosis who seek surgery don't do so because of the spinal curve itself. They do so because of the pain and disability that they are living with. Chiropractic care can help to halt any further curve progression (and reduce the curve in some cases), reduce pain, and improve function so that patients can go back to living their lives to the full.