Have you ever heard the term scoliosis and wondered what it meant? A scoliosis is defined as a lateral curve in the spine that measures more than 10 degrees. This means a curve that exists from right to left or vice versa. Scoliosis is considered to be common and affects millions of people in the United States every year. For some patients, scoliosis doesn’t affect their daily life, but other patients may have severe symptoms that make life very challenging. Check out the following information to learn more about scoliosis and chiropractic care.
Types of Scoliosis
Scoliosis can be defined as congenital, idiopathic, degenerative or neuromuscular.
Congenital means that it has been present since birth. This type of scoliosis is more likely to worsen during the rapid growth that occurs in the puberty years. Once growth stops the curvature usually won’t further worsen.
Idiopathic means that the curvature is caused by an unknown cause. This is the most common form of scoliosis and there isn’t an easily identifiable cause of the curvature.
Degenerative scoliosis occurs most commonly in older adults. As the spinal joints and discs develop arthritis symptoms, the curvature develops.
Neuromuscular scoliosis is caused by a disorder such as a spinal injury, cerebral palsy, birth defects or other nervous system disorders. The neuromuscular system doesn’t function well, and this leads to a curvature in the spine.
Signs of Scoliosis and Diagnosis
So what are some signs of scoliosis? Visible signs may include one shoulder that is higher, ribs stick out further on one side or a visible curve in the back. The middle back (thoracic spine) and lower back (lumbar spine) are the most common regions affected. The curvature may cause back pain, tight muscles or, pain, tingling or numbness that radiates into the legs or arms. In severe cases the curvature may affect the lungs and other organs by putting extra pressure on them.
Scoliosis may be visibly apparent but the most common way a curvature is diagnosed is with x-rays. With an x-ray the curve can be analyzed to determine if there is a structural cause of the curve. X-ray images can also be used to measure the degree of the spine curve. Future x-rays can then be used to compare and see if the curvature is worsening. In children that are still growing treatment options may include chiropractic care, physical therapy and/or a spinal brace. In severe cases, where organs may be compromised, surgery to insert rods to straighten the spine are used at times.
Scoliosis and Chiropractic Care
If you are concerned about a curvature in, you or a family member’s spine consulting with a chiropractor can be a great option. Your chiropractor can evaluate the spine, take x-rays (if indicated), and determine if a scoliosis is present. They can then discuss with you what treatment options may work best in your situation. If you live in the Sioux Falls area, our chiropractors would be happy to meet with you to evaluate your specific situation. Please contact us today to schedule your appointment!