What Is Scoliosis
By Christopher Oliver, DC, PAC
Oliver Chiropractic & Acupuncture
What Is Scoliosis
All spines have natural curves. Scoliosis, however, is a progressive, abnormal sideways curvature of the spine. When left untreated, it can cause severe spinal deformity. Usually, it is first detected in childhood or the early teen years while the bones of the spine are still growing.
Health risks from severe spine curvature include neurological problems from pressure on nerves, arthritis, and even lung and heart problems.
Severe scoliosis not only harms the individuals appearance and self-esteem, but it can also compromise ones health and ability to function properly. The ability to participate in sports or athletic activities is usually limited and difficult.
What Causes It?
Because scoliosis tends to run in families, doctors believe that hereditary factors may predispose some individuals to this condition. In other cases, it can be caused by spinal abnormalities present at birth.
Scoliosis is more common in females than in males by almost seven to one. It continues to progress into the early 20s when the bones of the spine are fully mature and can become increasingly severe in adulthood. That is why early screening, detection, and treatment can make a big difference.
Children should be examined before age 12 or 13, especially if there is a history of any spinal deformity in their family. They should then be followed closely throughout the teen years to make sure a curve doesnt develop.
How Is Scoliosis Diagnosed?
Because early detection is so important, preliminary screening is often done in public schools beginning around the 5th grade. This should be repeated every six to nine months until skeletal maturity is reached. Find out how often your childs school screens for scoliosis. Visual signs of scoliosis include uneven shoulder heights, loss of structural balance, or a change in posture.
It is important to accurately establish the degree and severity of curvature as a benchmark for f uture re comparison. Also, the childs spinal maturity is measured. A chiropractors goal is to discover the scoliosis while the individual is still young. When started on an exercise and chiropractic therapy program early enough, it is possible to slow or even stop the progress of the curvature.
How Is Scoliosis Treated?
When the problem becomes severe enough, braces or even surgery are standard treatment. The chiropractic approach is to use specific spinal adjustments along with a program of corrective exercises. Usually the doctors hands or a special instrument is used to apply precisely directed force to the spine to return the vertebrae to a more normal position. This force is adjusted according to the patients age and size.
With careful monitoring, regular treatment, and exercise the spinal deformity of scoliosis can be minimized and more invasive procedures avoided.
What Can I Expect In The future?
With early detection and early treatment, chiropractic doctors have seen excellent results with scoliosis cases. This safe, natural approach to treatment has helped many children find a healthier, happier life. Consult with your family healthcare professional if you have any concerns about this issue.
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