All spines have a normal front and back curve to them, this help distribute the bodies weight evenly. Scoliosis is a progressive, abnormal sideways curve of the spine. The spine often curves in a "S" or "C" shape from side to side. Scoliosis is often found in the adolescent and teen years and is more common in girls, although boys can get it as well.
If scoliosis is left untreated, it can cause serious medical problems. Pain, stiffness, and sever spinal deformity can result. The spine and rib cage are connected and the abnormal curvature of the spine can change the position of the ribs and put pressure on nearly organs.
Health risks from severe curvature include:
- Neurological problems from pressure on nerves, arthritis and even lung and heart problems.
- One shoulder higher than another
- An uneven waistline
- One shoulder blade sticking out further than the other one
A Chiropractor can diagnose scoliosis and is specially trained to treat the problems of the spine. They are able to accurately determine the extent of the condition. X-rays may be used to determine the rotation and direction of the curve.
Your chiropractor's goal is to detect scoliosis while the child is still young. If started on an exercise and chiropractic therapy program early enough, it is possible to slow, stop or even reverse the progress of the spinal curvature.
Medical management of scoliosis often involves the 'wait and see' approach. Although this may work for slow progressing cases, others may progress rapidly creating significant spinal deformity. When the problem becomes severe enough, braces or surgery may be necessary. The chiropractic approach is to use specific spinal adjustments along with a program of corrective exercises. Chiropractors return the vertebrae to a more normal position.
With careful monitoring, regular treatment and exercise the spinal deformity of scoliosis can be minimized and invasive procedures can be avoided.
Every September, Dr. Adam Jacobs and staff volunteer their services to local schools in San Francisco by administering scoliosis screenings and backpack awareness talks. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, students should not carry backpacks heavier than 15% of their body weight. Check out our press release on backpack awareness for more information. If your school is interested in receiving scoliosis screenings, contact us.