Whether you suffer from a minor case of scoliosis that leaves you with slightly bent posture or a severe case that causes pain, this condition can easily affect your daily activities.

This chronic condition doesn’t cause any major problems for most people who have it, but it can become debilitating for some. When scoliosis is severe, back braces, traction, physical therapy, and surgery often are turned to in an effort to bring the spine back to its normal state and decrease the side effects experienced.

For some scoliosis patients, chiropractic can help them get relief from their symptoms and help restore normal posture without surgery or other medical devices.

 

What Is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine, a condition that typically crops up in puberty, as the rapid growth can impact the way the spine forms. The exact degree to which the spine is curved varies based on the individual case, and can range from very minor to an almost S-shaped spine.

While some cases of scoliosis can be attributed to other conditions, including cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, the exact cause of scoliosis is unknown.

For many people who suffer from scoliosis, they never notice any symptoms or need to make any accommodations. However, scoliosis can get worse without treatment and lead to debilitating pain.

Especially severe cases can lead to a decrease in the space in the chest cavity, creating shortness of breath.

People who suffer from scoliosis in adolescence need to be monitored for signs that the condition is worsening, usually with routine X-rays to see if the spine’s curve is increasing.

What Are Some Symptoms of Scoliosis?

Many people who have scoliosis have fairly minor cases, and many may not notice that they even have the condition.

However, some of the common signs of scoliosis in children, young adults, and adults include:

● Uneven shoulders
● One shoulder blade appearing more prominent than the other
● Uneven waist
● One hip higher than the other

More severe cases scoliosis can cause the spine to rotate front to back as well as creating a side-to-side curve, which may make one side of the rib cage appear more prominent than the other.

Sometimes, parents don’t even notice the signs of scoliosis in children, as they can be very subtle. Teachers, coaches, or teammates can be among the first people to notice the curvature in a child’s spine.

If you notice the signs of scoliosis in your child, or someone else does, see a doctor.

 

How Is Scoliosis Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of scoliosis begins with the doctor taking a full medical history of the patient.

This will include collecting any family history of scoliosis, questions about recent growth, and questions about any pain or other symptoms.

A physical examination is also conducted. This exam may have your child stand with their feet together and bend at the waist, letting their hands hang loosely toward the floor. This allows the doctor to check for a curvature of the spine and to see if one shoulder blade or side of the rib cage is more prominent than the other.

The doctor also may conduct a basic neurological exam to check for muscle weakness, numbness, and abnormal reflexes.

While the doctor may be able to make a preliminary determination on whether or not your child has scoliosis based on this initial physical exam, especially if the physical signs are noticeable, the only way to fully diagnose scoliosis is with imaging.

A set of X-rays is usually the first step of imaging testing. This test can reveal whether your child’s spine is curved, and how severe that curvature is. If scoliosis is confirmed, your child likely will have routine X-rays to check whether the curvature is worsening or staying the same.

If your child’s doctor suspects there may be an underlying condition causing your child’s symptoms, such as a tumor, an MRI or other testing may be ordered.

How Is Scoliosis Treated?

For those who have minor scoliosis symptoms, there may not be any need for treatment at all. Occasional doctor visits and X-rays may be ordered to check that the spine isn’t curving any worse than before, but there may not be any need for other treatment.

Some patients receive minor corrective measures, including wearing a back brace or undergoing physical therapy. These treatments are designed to gently straighten the spine and correct the curvature.

More severe cases may require traction, where pulleys and hammocks are used to gently pull the spine back into position.

If you or your child experiences a great deal of pain or the curvature of the spine is severe, your doctor may order spinal surgery to correct the scoliosis. Spinal fusion involves connecting two or more vertebrae, usually with pieces of bone or bone-like material, so they cannot move independently.

For those with mild to moderate scoliosis, chiropractic care can help with some of the symptoms of scoliosis and help correct posture.

How Can Chiropractic Care Help with Scoliosis?

While chiropractic care cannot “fix” scoliosis, routine adjustments can help with overall spinal alignment and posture, decreasing pain and improving quality of life. For some people, chiropractic care in conjunction with regular use of a brace can nearly completely get rid of scoliosis-related pain.

Because the spine is always in an unnatural position in scoliosis patients, this misalignment can lead to muscle strain and pain elsewhere in the back, neck, shoulders, and hips.

A chiropractic adjustment can help decrease the strain on those muscles, allowing blood to flow better to the damaged muscles and decrease inflammation and pain.

Chiropractic care for scoliosis is absolutely not a one-time treatment; you must receive routine spinal adjustments at your chiropractor to see the most benefits from the treatment.

What Are Some Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Scoliosis?

Seeing a chiropractor for relief from the symptoms of scoliosis is a safe, affordable method of treating the pain and discomfort related to this condition. But relief from your pain isn’t the only reason to try chiropractic for your scoliosis.

Here are some other reasons to choose chiropractic for scoliosis:

Treatment of Other Conditions
If you suffer from scoliosis, you may also have other related and non-related conditions. These can include neck, shoulder, and hip pain, numbness in your limbs, and headaches.

Chiropractic care can help correct subluxations, or spinal misalignments, that can contribute to or cause these other conditions, giving you relief from other pain and discomfort and helping you feel better.

Non-Invasive
For some patients, surgery is the treatment of last resort for their pain and discomfort. However, there are a variety of potential complications of surgery, and it is an incredibly expensive method of treatment many people cannot afford.

Choosing chiropractic care can help you manage and decrease the pain related to your scoliosis without the invasive process of surgery.

Drug-Free
Many people manage their pain with over-the-counter and prescription medications, and those who have surgery need anesthetics and other medications. All of these medications carry their own set of risks and side effects, some of which can be dangerous.

Chiropractic care can offer a similar level of pain relief as some medications, but without all the side effects.

 

What’s Involved in Chiropractic Care for Scoliosis?

Seeing relief from your back pain and discomfort related to scoliosis will take a series of routine appointments, though you may experience some relief after your first treatment.

Chiropractic care for scoliosis involves three phases:

Evaluation and Treatment Plan
The first step is meeting with your chiropractor so they can determine your individual treatment needs and establish goals for your care.

Your chiropractor will collect a full health history and conduct a physical examination, which may include some manipulation of your spine and neck to see your range of motion. The chiropractor may also request medical records from your other treating physicians, including any imaging you’ve had done in diagnosing your scoliosis.

You and your chiropractor will discuss your symptoms, as well as the way your scoliosis affects your daily life. During this conversation, you will work with your chiropractor to determine your goals for treatment.

Once you have discussed your condition and goals with your chiropractor, and they have reviewed your medical records and conducted a physical exam, they will develop a treatment plan. This treatment plan will include the type of treatment you’ll receive, how frequently you’ll receive adjustments, and any other at-home exercises you may need to do.

This treatment plan will be reviewed routinely as your care progresses, and adjusted depending on your current status.

Treatment
This is the longest phase of your chiropractic care for scoliosis.

At first, your chiropractor may recommend you come in a few times a week for adjustments until your spine is more used to the new positions from chiropractic care. You may also be recommended to practice at-home exercises, go to physical therapy, or see your regular doctor during this phase. Do your best to comply fully with your treatment plan for the best results.

Maintenance
After you’ve reached a point in your treatment where your pain and discomfort are at a more manageable level, your chiropractor may recommend you step down to maintenance phase.

During this phase, you will see your chiropractor for occasional adjustments, either on a schedule or on an as-needed basis.

This phase of chiropractic treatment is meant to keep your spine in optimal alignment, reducing your pain and keeping your condition at a more manageable level long-term.

Chiropractic Care for Scoliosis at Eugene Family Chiropractic

While you may not be able to cure your scoliosis, you can make living with your condition more manageable with chiropractic care. The experienced chiropractic team at Eugene Family Chiropractic carefully evaluates your conditions, develops a comprehensive treatment plan, and gently adjusts your spine to give you optimal pain relief. Make an appointment or call us today to schedule your adjustment!