What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty. While scoliosis can be caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, the cause of most scoliosis is unknown. About 3% of adolescents have scoliosis. Most cases of scoliosis are mild, but sometimes cases continue to get more severe as children grow. Severe scoliosis can be disabling. If a scoliosis curve gets worse, the spine will also rotate or twist, in addition to curving side to side. This causes the ribs on one side of the body to stick out farther than on the other side. Other signs and symptoms of scoliosis include uneven shoulders, uneven waist, or one hip sitting higher than the other. The American Chiropractic Association estimates up to seven million Americans suffer from scoliosis.

How Is Scoliosis Treated?

While there are guidelines for mild, moderate and severe curves, the decision to begin treatment is always made on an individual basis. There are two kinds of curves called a c curve and an s curve. Depending on what kind of scoliosis and severity, there are different treatments.

Mild scoliosis is watched closely and kept in check with adjustments. As long as it is kept monitored, doctors can try to prevent the curve from worsening.

If your child’s bones are still growing and he or she has moderate scoliosis, your doctor may recommend a brace. Wearing a brace won’t cure scoliosis or reverse the curve, but it usually prevents further progression of the curve. Most braces are worn day and night. A brace’s effectiveness increases with the number of hours a day it’s worn. Children who wear braces can usually participate in most activities and have few restrictions. If necessary, kids can take off the brace to participate in sports or other physical activities.

Severe scoliosis typically progresses with time, so your doctor might suggest scoliosis surgery to reduce the severity of the spinal curve and to prevent it from getting worse. If the scoliosis is progressing rapidly at a young age, surgeons can install a rod that can adjust in length as the child grows. This growing rod is attached to the top and bottom sections of the spinal curvature, and is usually lengthened every six months.

How Can Chiropractic Help?

Many adults with scoliosis find non-drug, non-invasive chiropractic treatments can help reduce their pain by decreasing the pressure on their nervous system and strengthening their body’s core. In severe scoliosis cases, chiropractic care also helps increasing the ability to take deep cleansing breaths. Chiropractors are also qualified to diagnose your scoliosis and find out the severity. The chiropractor is also able to suggest ways to move and rest to minimize or relieve pain. They could recommend strengthening exercises to support joints and some procedures or ideas to stay active without increasing the symptoms.

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