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.
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.
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.