Everything you need to know about treating Scoliosis.

 

Scoliosis – Causes Symptoms and Treatment

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a curvature in the spinal column which deviates from the normal alignment of the spine. With Scoliosis, there is generally a side to side curve when looking at your spine from the front, where normally it should be straight. As the degree of the curvature increases, it becomes more noticeable.

While many cases are mild requiring only monitoring, some cases will progress and result in serious health problems.

Scoliosis is much more likely to occur in children and adolescents than adults, and it is much more common in females. Early screening programs are one way that scoliosis can be detected. The younger you are when Scoliosis occurs, the more likely it is that the curvature will worsen as you mature or age. It is important to be assessed by a Doctor of Chiropractic if it is suspected your child has Scoliosis so that steps can be taken to prevent worsening of the curvature and related health problems. Scoliosis can also adversely impact physical appearance.

At North Shore Family Chiropractors Chatswood, we offer screening, management and treatment of Scoliosis for children, adolescents and adults.

What are the signs and symptoms of Scoliosis?

The curvature of the spine does not usually cause pain in young people, however as they age the likelihood of experiencing back pain increases compared to people without scoliosis.

A healthy spine, when viewed from the side, should have curves but when viewed from the back the spine should appear as a straight line. A person with Scoliosis, however, will appear to have a lateral (side-to-side) curve in their spine when viewed from the back.

There are several common physical symptoms that may indicate scoliosis. One of the most common tests for detecting Scoliosis is one in which the individual bends from the waist as if touching their toes. While bending forward we assess for one or more of the following signs of Scoliosis:

  • One shoulder is higher than the other
  • One shoulder blade sticks out more than the other
  • One side of the rib cage appears higher than the other
  • One hip appears higher or more prominent than the other
  • The waist appears uneven
  • The body tilts to one side
  • One leg may appear shorter than the other

At North Shore Family Chiropractic Chatswood we conduct a comprehensive assessment of all our patients’ symptoms.

What are the signs and symptoms of Scoliosis?

The curvature of the spine does not usually cause pain in young people, however as they age the likelihood of experiencing back pain increases compared to people without scoliosis.

A healthy spine, when viewed from the side, should have curves but when viewed from the back the spine should appear as a straight line. A person with Scoliosis, however, will appear to have a lateral (side-to-side) curve in their spine when viewed from the back.

There are several common physical symptoms that may indicate scoliosis. One of the most common tests for detecting Scoliosis is one in which the individual bends from the waist as if touching their toes. While bending forward we assess for one or more of the following signs of Scoliosis:

  • One shoulder is higher than the other
  • One shoulder blade sticks out more than the other
  • One side of the rib cage appears higher than the other
  • One hip appears higher or more prominent than the other
  • The waist appears uneven
  • The body tilts to one side
  • One leg may appear shorter than the other

At North Shore Family Chiropractic Chatswood we conduct a comprehensive assessment of all our patients’ symptoms.

What causes Scoliosis?

There are a range of causes for Scoliosis depending on what type of Scoliosis you have. Carefully assessing the cause of your scoliosis is an important part of your management. The most common types of scoliosis are:

Idiopathic Scoliosis

This is the most common scoliosis that we see at North Shore Family Chiropractors Chatswood and is most common in children and young people. The term idiopathic implies that is not caused by any other disease or disorder. It is likely that the Scoliosis is either due to hereditary and familial reasons or during development of your child’s spine.  This is why it is important for your children to be checked because Scoliosis is more prevalent in children and can progress more rapidly than in adults as their skeletal system is still growing.

Degenerative Scoliosis

This type can be due to traumatic injuries such as accidents or falls, back surgery, osteoporosis, or fractures.  Certain illnesses can produce degenerative Scoliosis. Adults are more likely to have this form of Scoliosis.

Neuromuscular Scoliosis

More likely to occur as part of conditions like muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy.

Congenital Scoliosis

This type of Scoliosis is when there are birth defects that affect the vertebral segments of the spine.

At North Shore Family Chiropractors we offer a comprehensive management of Scoliosis for a range of causes and will refer our patients on to other forms of effective treatments if that is required.

How is Scoliosis diagnosed?

Simple, painless and quick spinal screenings can identify early stages of Scoliosis in children. Scoliosis is first diagnosed as part of a regular spinal check-up. The Adam’s Forward Bend Test is routinely used to screen for scoliosis. The test involves you bending forward with arms stretched downward toward the floor and knees straight, while being observed by your healthcare professional. From this angle it is easy to see scoliosis symptoms which result in asymmetry in the spine or torso.

At our Chiropractic Clinic in Chatswood we will take into account your medical history and perform a physical examination which includes the forward bend test. X-rays of the spine in various postures will be taken to confirm the scoliosis diagnosis and assess the magnitude of the curvature in the spine and how far it has progressed.

The “Cobb method” is a measuring technique that will be used to assess the degree of the curvature. The type of treatment will be determined by the degree of the spinal curve. There are also some rare instances where an MRI may be a necessary as a diagnostic tool for Scoliosis.

How is Scoliosis diagnosed?

Simple, painless and quick spinal screenings can identify early stages of Scoliosis in children. Scoliosis is first diagnosed as part of a regular spinal check-up. The Adam’s Forward Bend Test is routinely used to screen for scoliosis. The test involves you bending forward with arms stretched downward toward the floor and knees straight, while being observed by your healthcare professional. From this angle it is easy to see scoliosis symptoms which result in asymmetry in the spine or torso.

At our Chiropractic Clinic in Chatswood we will take into account your medical history and perform a physical examination which includes the forward bend test. X-rays of the spine in various postures will be taken to confirm the scoliosis diagnosis and assess the magnitude of the curvature in the spine and how far it has progressed.

The “Cobb method” is a measuring technique that will be used to assess the degree of the curvature. The type of treatment will be determined by the degree of the spinal curve. There are also some rare instances where an MRI may be a necessary as a diagnostic tool for Scoliosis.

How can Scoliosis be treated?

Monitoring

With curves which are 10 degrees or less, monitoring by your health professional with periodic physical examinations and X-rays will track the progress of the curvature over time to see if it worsens. If the curvature worsens, then you may be referred for one of the other treatment options below.

Chiropractic Care

With curves less than 30 degrees, and for any patients where skeletal growth has stopped, chiropractic care may be used to address any bio-mechanical faults such as differences in leg length or pronation (where the leg rolls in or rolls out when you walk).

Chiropractic adjustment is designed to improve movement and posture which can help prevent further curvature progression. Chiropractic care may also reduce back pain that many adults with Scoliosis experience. When the curve is greater than 30 degrees and the young person is still growing, referral for back bracing or traction with our unique CBP equipment is recommended.

Back Bracing

With curves that are between 20 and 40 degrees and where the young person still has at least 18 months of growth, bracing may be used. A traditional brace is worn for between 16 and 20 hours per day until the young person has stopped growing.

At North Shore Family Chiropractors we offer a complementary treatment to spinal bracing. Our unique CBP traction devices allow us to apply a greater corrective stretch to the spine. Many of our adolescent scoliosis patients combine our corrective techniques with spinal bracing to achieve the best results.

Scoliosis surgery

With curves that are 40 degrees or greater and where the young person is still growing, referral to an orthopaedic surgeon is recommended. Surgery attempts to straighten the Scoliotic part of the spine and fuse it with using anchors connected to metal rods.

These anchors and rods act as an internal splint. Surgery is generally seen as an option only for those most severe cases as it is much more invasive and associated with greater risk of complications.

What are the best exercises for Scoliosis?

Exercise alone will not lessen a Scoliosis or prevent a curve worsening over the long-term. However exercises that improve your back and torso muscle strength and flexibility will help in managing the backache or back pain that may accompany scoliosis in adult life, and improve your posture. We offer a comprehensive exercise program at North Shore Family Chiropractors Chatswood as part of a holistic Scoliosis treatment regime.

What are the best exercises for Scoliosis?

Exercise alone will not lessen a Scoliosis or prevent a curve worsening over the long-term. However exercises that improve your back and torso muscle strength and flexibility will help in managing the backache or back pain that may accompany scoliosis in adult life, and improve your posture. We offer a comprehensive exercise program at North Shore Family Chiropractors Chatswood as part of a holistic Scoliosis treatment regime.

How can Chiropractic care relieve Scoliosis?

At North Shore Family Chiropractors we integrate the most researched chiropractic treatment in the world – Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP). This technique is designed to correct posture and improve spinal alignment, so is an ideal approach for conditions such as Scoliosis. Once posture is corrected and the spine is correctly aligned, our patients will see improvements in pain and functional based outcomes as well. CBP focuses specifically on restoring the spine and posture to its natural, ideal state.

The goals of CBP treatment are to restore the normal front and side view posture of the spine, which is misaligned in Scoliosis. This means that the treatment will align the head, rib cage and pelvis vertically so that it appears normal from both front and side views. This is often the most concerning aspect of Scoliosis, the uneven appearance and protruding ribs on one side. As well as improving the appearance, CBP restores the normal functioning of the spine, improves the range and quality of movement, and improves muscle strength.

Our clinic is equipped with an expansive patient gym with unique CBP equipment designed to target the abnormal curvatures of the spine. If you suspect that you, or your child have Scoliosis, then contact our friendly clinic in Chatswood to book in for an appointment, where we can simply and easily diagnose if there is problem and recommend further Scoliosis treatment.

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