Search Results for: scoliosis

What is Scoliosis?

What is Scoliosis? 

Scoliosis is a condition that affects the shape of the spine. Under normal conditions, the spinal shape will appear straight when looking at it from the front or back; however, with scoliosis the spine will appear to have a “C” or “S” shaped curvature. Most scoliosis cases occur in adolescents during a spike in growth and are diagnosed as idiopathic scoliosis, which means that the cause is unknown. While most scoliosis causes are unknown, scoliosis can occur due to congenital conditions, cerebral palsy and other neuromuscular conditions, or from a degenerative disease such a osteoporosis.

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What are the signs and symptoms?

In most children and young adults, pain is not a symptom associated with scoliosis. Some signs that scoliosis may be present include uneven shoulder blades, a prominent shoulder blade, uneven hips, a visible curve in the spine, or clothes that hang unevenly on the frame. When pain is a symptom of scoliosis, it usually means that the case is more severe, and the curvature of the spine is causing pressure on the surrounding nerves and tissues. What is traditionally more common is the altered shape of the spine causing functional faults and therefore pain in other locations of the body, such as shoulders, neck, or lower back.

 

How can it be treated?

Common medical treatment for scoliosis includes a ‘wait and see’ approach. Because most cases of scoliosis are mild, doctors prefer to observe the progression of the spinal curvature, and then determine if any treatment is needed. When scoliosis does progress, a common treatment is a back brace to keep the bones from growing. Surgery for scoliosis may be considered in severe cases when other treatment options are not effective.

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Scoliosis causes a C or S curvature of the spine.

Chiropractic treatment for scoliosis takes on a different approach when compared to medical treatment.  Since all bodies are different, some people’s scoliosis may progress more rapidly than others; therefore, the main goal of a chiropractor is to begin treatment as soon as scoliosis has been detected.  With the use of specific spinal adjustments along with a personalized corrective exercise program, the progression of scoliosis can be slowed down, stopped, and, in some cases, reversed. Increasing and customizing care toward improving function is important in individuals with scoliosis who are trying to participate in sports and activities as well. SF Custom Chiropractic also offers backpack and scoliosis screenings to detect dysfunction at an early age.  If you or someone you know are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms and believe you may be suffering from scoliosis, please feel free to contact our office at 415-788-8700 to schedule a consultation today.

The Importance of Proper Posture: Top Bay Area Chiropractor Explains Why It Matters

Ever wonder why proper posture is so important? San Francisco chiropractor, Dr. Adam Jacobs, explains how correct spinal posture can prevent a variety of potential problems and improve your overall health.

Let’s admit that we all are guilty of neglecting the importance of good posture in our overall health, time and time again! We all are repetitively at fault when sitting in an office chair, sleeping and so on. While the side effects may not be visible initially, a bad posture definitely takes a toll on our overall health.

Proper posture is as important as eating a nutritious diet. In fact, at our San Francisco chiropractic offices, we often tell our patients that perfect posture trains your body to place the least strain on supporting muscles and ligaments during movements or daily activities. It helps maintain the wellness of the nervous system and the spine.

Why having a proper posture is so necessary?

Besides presenting a good appearance, there are various advantages of a good posture. These are:

  •         Prevents the spine from getting fixed or stuck in abnormal positions.
  •         Lowers the stress on the ligaments that holds the spinal joints together
  •         Maintains the correct alignment of the bones plus joints for the proper use of muscles and nervous system
  •         Reduces the abnormal wearing of the surfaces of joints that may cause arthritis.
  •         Prevents backaches as well as muscular pain
  •         Opens up the lungs for allowing more oxygen supply inside the body that moves into the muscle and brain cells and augments your overall energy level.

Keeping a good posture means maintaining an alignment of every body part with its adjacent parts. A proper posture restores the balance and support of all parts. When standing, your exact standing posture should look similar to sketching a straight line from the earlobe, over the shoulder, knee, hip and right into the middle of the ankle.

However, what actually happens if you fail to flaunt a proper posture? Let’s find out.

How bad posture might interfere with your health?

One of the most serious problems involving bad posture can be developing a kyphosis or scoliosis spinal curvature which slowly impacts the spine to alter its normal positions. The human spine has four natural curves that create an “S” shape in the coronal plane. Too much curve in the mid back can lead to a condition called hyperkyphosis, or a buffalo hump.  Too much curve laterally in the sagittal plane can lead to scoliosis. Since bad posture alters the spinal alignment, the resulting motions are negatively affected leading to subluxations that result in less blood supply and altered nervous system response. 

Bad posture leads to serious problems within the skeletal system as skeletons are the support system of our entire body. Slouching or slanted postures lead to rib compression and curving of the spine. The rigidity of the rib cage makes your lungs to not expand fully. This leads to a lack of oxygen supply that impacts your entire body’s systems.

The cervical spine or neck tends to feel the burden from bad posture first. Neck pain leads to tension that radiates lower to the shoulders and upwards causing headaches. Our muscular system works in tandem with the skeletal system to facilitate movement and posture. It helps us to maintain our body positions against the force of gravity and allows us to generate movements.

·         Posture and your digestive system

Ever thought that a bad posture can impact your digestive system? Well, yes, it can! An imperfect posture accompanied by a lack of exercise and, in some instances, obesity can weaken the stomach muscles that generally hold the pelvis in its exact position. Weak muscles denote that the pelvis is tilted forward which aggravates poor posture and causes pain while standing erect.

An abnormal slouched posture has been found to be a contributing factor to digestive issues like acid reflux or hernias. The most convenient way to strengthen the abdominal muscles and provide back support is through perfect posture.

·         Posture and your cardiovascular health

Your breathing becomes easier and deeper with good posture. You will feel less fatigued as a good posture gives you higher oxygen levels and greater energy boost.

With all that being said, how would you know what a proper posture is? Let’s find out.

 

How should the proper posture look like?

·         The proper sitting posture

A good sitting posture comprises of an erect spine and head with the maintenance of the three natural back curves. A slumped sitting posture and a slouched position with head forward reflect a bad posture.

While sitting in an office chair, keep your back aligned against the office chair back. For lengthy sitting make sure that the chair is ergonomically crafted to provide back support and is custom fit. We also recommend Intelliskin (which can be purchase through our shop page) if you find it hard to have good posture on your own while sitting at your desk.

·         The proper standing posture

Always stand with your weight placed mostly on the balls of your feet and not on the heels. It is highly recommended to position your feet slightly apart, approximately at shoulder-width. Let your arms hang naturally down adjacent to your body. Always stand straight and tall with your shoulders upright and refrain from locking the knees.

Tuck a bit your chin to maintain the head level and make sure that the head is square above the spine and not pushed out ahead. If you are standing for a lengthy period, then rotate your weight from one foot to the other or move from heels to toes. While standing it is important to keep your ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles in a vertical line. Generally, by raising your chin up you help to resolve standing postural problems.

·         The best posture for your knees

A proper knee posture safeguards your thigh and lower leg bones. While sitting keep your knees bent at a right angle slightly above than the hips. Your ankles should be placed slightly ahead of your knees. While driving also, your knees should be slightly higher compared to your hips.

How to determine if you have a good posture?

Simply, have a self-examination called ‘mirror exam.’ Stand in front of a full-length mirror and observe whether:

  •         Your shoulders are at level and your head is straight.
  •         Your hips are level and your kneecaps face directly ahead and you have straight ankles.
  •         Also, see that the spaces between your arms and side appear equal.
  •         Ideally aligned feet and ankles would face forward instead of turning inward or outward.

 

Various integrative therapies are also employed to reduce pain through healthy posturing. The Gokhale method created by Esther Gokhale employs the procedure of perfect posture and movement to eradicate back, muscle or joint pain and return back to a pain-free life.  It also helps you to tackle muscle and joint degeneration and augments your stamina and flexibility. The tools help you to regain your natural posture.

Over to You – Is it times to schedule an appointment with a local San Francisco chiropractor?

We hope that the above-mentioned points were successful in letting you know the importance of a good posture. It is thus highly recommended to visit a chiropractor if you spot any posture issues.  If you are in the greater San Francisco Bay Area and would like to book and appointment with one of our specialists, contact us here .

Abnormal Spinal Curvatures

Abnormal Curvature of the Spine

The main purposes of the bony spine are to support the body’s weight, to provide stability of the torso, to allow for flexibility of motion, and to protect the spinal cord. Abnormal curvature of the spinal column’s vertebrae may Scoliosis-02hinder or result in the inability of the spine to carry out these functions. The  spinal column is composed of 24 vertebrae. There are 7 cervical vertebrae starting at the base of the skull and spanning the neck, 12 thoracic vertebrae located in the upper trunk of the body, and 5 lumbar vertebrae in the lower back. The medical terminology for each of the sections is noted as C1-C7 for cervical vertebrae, T1-T12 for thoracic vertebrae, and L1-L5 for the lumbar vertebrae. A normal spine consists of concave and convex curvatures; however, when the curves become too extreme or the spine begins to curve laterally in the frontal plane, painful spinal conditions may evolve; common abnormal curvatures of the spine include kyphosis, lordosis, and scoliosis.

 

Kyphosis

Kyphosis is identified by an abnormal outward curvature of the thoracic spine. This type of spinal abnormality is most prevalent among the elderly population. People with this specific spinal abnormality may experience difficulty with balance because it tends to lead to an abnormal flexion of the spine. This can also increase compression and shear forces applied to the thoracic vertebrae, resulting in constant discomfort and inhibition of comfortable range of motion.  Causes  of Kyphosis  can be years of poor posture such as forward head posture, or conditions such as  AS (Ankylosing Spondylitis), Scheuermann disease or DISH (Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis).

 

Lordosis  

Lordosis refers the the abnormal curvature of the lumbar spine. When this occurs, the person typically experiences low back pain and muscle spasms. While it is common in dancers and in individuals who do not lift weight properly, it is also prominent among those who have uneven muscles between the abdominals and lower back muscles. A combination of weak hamstrings and tight hip flexors has also been known to cause lordosis.

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves laterally in the frontal plane and can onset at any age. A cause of scoliosis is uneven muscles on either side of the spine, uneven hips, arm, or legs, or an abnormal rib cage rotation. Secondary scoliosis can arise from neuromuscular conditions such as spina bifida. To diagnose scoliosis, a doctor would look to identify if the spine is greater than 10 degrees out of normal range. Since the ribs are attached to the spine, if scoliosis is not identified early the ribs can apply abnormal pressure on internal organs that may result in other severe health concerns.

 

Treatments

If the kyphosis or lordosis hasn’t progressed too far,  chiropractic and physical therapy are both recommend to treat weakness and misalignments of the spine.  However, if the spine is 50 degrees or greater outside the normal range of curvature, surgery may be required. At SF Custom Chiropractic,  a thorough exam, including range of motion, postural check and orthopedic tests can be administered to identify the condition of the abnormal spinal curvature. Chiropractic therapy can slow down, stop, or even reverse the signs of abnormal spinal curvature.  Part of the treatment process includes custom exercises and stretches that will help strengthen weaker muscles to alleviate the unevenness.
Sources:

Briggs, A. M., Van Dieen, J. H., Wrigley, T. V., Grieg, a. M., Phillips, B., Sing Kai, L., & Bennell, K. L.

(2007). Thoracic Kyphosis Affects Spinal Loads and Trunk Muscle Force. Physical Therapy, 87(5), 595-607.