What is Scoliosis?
Abnormal curving of the spine in the wrong direction from the back to front view. It generally looks like the letter "S" of various intensities. A minimum curvature of 10degrees is clinically diagnosed as Scoliosis.
Types of Scoliosis
- Idiopathic- meaning unknown. Idiopathic is the MOST COMMON type of Scoliosis. Approximately 80% of people diagnosed with Scoliosis have this type. There are three types of Idiopathic as listed below.
Juvenile ages 3-9 y.o.
Adolescent ages 10-18 y.o.
Adult Idiopathic over 18 y.o.
- Congenital- present at birth, malformation of the spine, usually occurs at the 3-6 week of development in utero when the spine is developing.
- Neuromuscular- in some children with conditions like cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy. Spine usually takes on a Long "C" curve because they have weak trunks and aren't able to support their bodies.
- Adult or Degenerative-scoliosis that may have gone unnoticed in childhood OR due to osteoporosis, disc degeneration, spinal compression fractures or other similar conditions.
What causes scoliosis?
Most scoliosis are "Idiopathic" meaning unknown. It is suggested that it may be genetic and it has had a general opinion that it is carried on with females with no scientific proof to substantiate the claim. A new proposed suggestion is that it is caused during birth trauma such as c-section, vacuum, forceps.
How common is Scoliosis?
Estimated less than 5% of the total population. Approximately 80% of people diagnosed with scoliosis are classifed as "Idiopathic" meaning unknown. Less than 1% of people diagnosed with scoliosis are estimated to have over 40degrees in curvature. Also noted is that it is less than 5% of children under 18yo that are diagnosed with scoliosis. Depends on study reviewed but the general opinion is that Scoliosis is 2-6 times more likely to occur in females than males.
What are some clues to detect scoliosis?
Uneven rib cage (hump), uneven shoulders, body leaning to one side, uneven waist, head not centered over pelvis (butt), one shoulder blade more prominent than the other, spine and body may appear crooked or slightly distorted.
How can I do a self test for Scoliosis?
I highly recommend that you take your child in to your family Chiropractor. Chiropractors are highly trained doctors to detect and correct numerous spinal distorations naturally. Below are two tests that you can do at home as a preliminary. The Adams test is quick and a easy test to do. Please note that it is NOT a definitive diagnosis and you should take your child to your Chiropractor for further evaluation. Many scoliosis cases are NOT seen by the naked untrained eye.
Adams Test: stand behind child/person and have them bend over at the waist towards the floor (knees straight) then look for uneven rib cage prominence and-or spine twisting.
Plumb line: person stands in front of a thin rope-thread, should fall down the center of the head, spine and buttocks.
At what age should I begin to check my child and family members?
As a parent and as a Chiropractor I recommend that you begin to check your child immediately especially if your child has already begun to lift their head and crawl. You can check them by just visually looking at thier spine lying down and standing in addition to the Adams test listed above. The spine should feel and like like a straight line. Spinal distortions and twisting can be begin at any point in time. The sooner you detect any distortions the sooner you can have an impact on changing it.
How do you test for scoliosis?
Definitive diagnosis is through plain film x-ray to measure the exact curvature of the Cobb angle. Plain film is quick and cheaper than an MRI or CT study.
- Observation (under 30degrees): Doctors tell parents to do nothing and passively observe it.
- Bracing to supposedly help slow it down and/or stop it. Bracing consideration starts at approximately 25degrees up to 40degrees. Bracing usually has no benefit and is painful for the child.
- Surgery in some cases over 40 degrees DEPENDING on angle measured and its monitored progression.
What are the FAVORABLE natural treatment options for Scoliosis in-order to help my child?
- Curvature under 30degrees Chiropractic therapies including adjustments, massage, Erchonia cold lasers and foot orthotics (shoe inserts). Daily physical activity.
- Curvature over 40 degrees all the above AND orthopedic consult for possible surgery depending on progression of the case. Continue to be active.
What treatments do you recommend and why?
Chiropractic with massage, lasers and foot orthotics (shoe inserts), physical therapy and yoga. These are recommended therapies because they are constantly working on the biomechanics of the spine and muscles in addition to be all natural with no side effects. When you have your initial consultation with your Chiropractor they will go over a recommended treatment protocol in order to best treat the patients current state of Scoliosis.
How can Chiropractic treatments help improve someone's Scoliosis condition?
Slowing and-or stopping the individuals natural progression by helping to balance the spinal distortion that has occurred. Chiropractic has been successful in helping to reverse curvature in some patients. Each case is individual based on when Scoliosis is detected and severity of curvature.
How do I find a Chiropractor near me to treat Scoliosis?
I recommend that you first see a Chiropractor that you feel comfortable with as you would with your other doctors. If your child does have Scoliosis please go to the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association-ICPA website to find a Pediatric Chiropractor near you to begin treatment.
*Please note that it is customary for Chiropractors that have been certified to treat pediatrics by the ICPA are trained for treating Scoliosis in children. The ICPA doctor locator does not have ALL Chiropractic doctors listed on their doctor locator. Please speak with your family Chiropractor to verify if they have been officially certified with the ICPA.
When is surgery necessary for Scoliosis treatments?
Usually necessary when curvature is continually progressing and reaching 50degrees. Organ problems can begin at approximately 60 degrees and life threatening over 90 degrees.