Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine that measures 10 degrees or more. An idiopathic scoliosis is that of unknown cause and is accompanied by vertebral rotation and rib-cage deformity, and usually becomes progressively apparent as the spine grows during childhood. Examination and X-rays are typically needed to assess for scoliosis and determining the degree of curvature in the spine. Medical treatment for scoliosis involves supervision of curvatures from 0-20 degrees with no intervention. Usually bracing for 20-40 degrees of curvature and surgery for curvatures between 40-50 degrees and more.
There are several components that are usually lacking in nearly all forms of traditional scoliosis treatment today: the effect of the head and neck in determining spinal pathology, gait, stance, and overall posture. The head controls all components of the spine below it, just like how the engine controls the direction a car is driving. Without proper communication from the brain to the rest of the body how can things function properly? Scoliosis patients usually have ‘Forward Head Posture’ as seen on x ray, accompanied by dysfunctional spinal segments of the atlas and occiput, the back of the head and the first cervical vertebra. This is rarely considered in standard scoliosis therapy. The spine is rarely addressed as a whole unit, rather segmental areas of dysfunction.
The second key ingredient in comprehensive scoliosis care, is correction of the commonly found, but rarely addressed hip rotation. While it may appear on x ray that one hip is higher than the other, and doctors routinely tell patients this, the reality is that the pelvis frequently rotates in scoliosis causing it to ‘appear’ higher on one side. This rotation, the bottom region of the same spine must also be properly corrected to be able to make any permanent scoliosis correction. In our office we address the whole spine during our evaluation, and at times assess areas that may not be in pain to determine the full bio-mechanical application.
Chiropractic can at times prevent or at least significantly slow the progression of idiopathic scoliosis with conservative methods. The philosophy of Chiropractic involves immediate intervention and more ideally, preventative screenings for children. Instead of just observing progression, manage the condition immediately regardless of how mild the curvature may be. It is always easier to intervene sooner than later. Utilizing spinal adjustments, traction and exercises, scoliosis can either be gradually reversed, fully corrected or at a minimal, alleviate pain associated with the curvature.