Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition characterized by an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine. It can develop during childhood or adolescence, and in some cases, the cause is unknown.

Scoliosis
Scoliosis
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Your Guide to Understanding Scoliosis

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition that affects the alignment and curvature of the spine. Normally, the spine has natural curves, but in individuals with scoliosis, these curves become exaggerated and take on an abnormal sideways shape. The condition can develop during childhood or adolescence, known as adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, or it can be present at birth (congenital scoliosis) or develop later in life due to other factors.

The exact cause of scoliosis is often unknown, referred to as idiopathic scoliosis. However, there are certain factors that may contribute to its development, such as genetics or hormonal imbalances during puberty. In some cases, scoliosis can be linked to underlying conditions like muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, or spinal cord abnormalities. It's important to note that scoliosis is not caused by poor posture, backpack use, or carrying heavy objects.

How can Chiropractic help treat Scoliosis?

Chiropractic services offer a unique approach to alleviate the symptoms of scoliosis. While chiropractic care cannot reverse the curvature, it can help manage pain and improve overall function. Chiropractors utilize various techniques such as spinal adjustments, spinal mobilization, and corrective exercises to reduce muscle tension, improve spinal mobility.

By addressing imbalances in the spine and surrounding musculature, chiropractic care can alleviate discomfort, improve posture, and potentially slow down the progression of scoliosis. However, it's important to note that the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment for scoliosis may vary depending on the severity of the condition and individual factors.

What causes Scoliosis?

The exact cause of scoliosis is often unknown, which is referred to as idiopathic scoliosis. However, there are certain factors that may contribute to its development. In some cases, scoliosis can be linked to genetics, meaning it can run in families. This suggests that there may be a genetic component involved in the development of scoliosis. Additionally, hormonal imbalances during puberty can also play a role in the development of scoliosis. These hormonal changes may affect the growth and development of the spine, leading to curvature.

While most cases of scoliosis are idiopathic, there are other types of scoliosis with known causes. For example, congenital scoliosis is present at birth and is caused by abnormal spinal development in the womb. This can occur due to genetic or environmental factors. Some underlying conditions, such as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, or spinal cord abnormalities, can also lead to scoliosis.

What treatments might help Scoliosis?

The treatment for scoliosis aims to improve the condition and manage its symptoms. Here are some ways in which treatment can help improve scoliosis:

  • Non-surgical interventions: In many cases, non-surgical approaches are utilized to manage scoliosis. These may include physical therapy, exercises, stretches, and posture training. These interventions aim to strengthen the muscles supporting the spine, improve flexibility, and promote better alignment.
  • Pain management: For individuals experiencing pain associated with scoliosis, painkilling medications or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen may be recommended to provide relief.
  • Bracing: In some instances, especially during adolescence when scoliosis is still progressing, a brace may be prescribed. Braces help limit the progression of curvature and maintain spinal alignment.
  • Surgery: Severe cases of scoliosis that continue to progress may require surgical intervention. Scoliosis surgery aims to straighten the curve of the spine using various techniques, such as spinal fusion or the insertion of rods and screws.
  • Alternative therapies: Some alternative therapies, such as the Schroth Method, may be used to complement traditional treatments. These methods involve customized exercises focused on improving posture and muscle balance.

Signs of Scoliosis:

Scoliosis is a condition characterized by an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine. While some cases of scoliosis may be mild and go unnoticed, others can cause noticeable signs and symptoms. Here are some common signs to look out for:

  • Uneven shoulders: One shoulder may appear higher than the other, creating an uneven or asymmetrical shoulder line.
  • Uneven waist: The waistline may be uneven, with one side appearing higher or more prominent than the other.
  • Off-center head position: The head may not be aligned with the center of the body and may tilt to one side.
  • Uneven hips: The hips may appear uneven, with one hip higher or more prominent than the other.
  • Visible curve in the spine: A noticeable curve in the spine may be visible when standing or bending over. This can appear as an "S" or "C" shape.
  • Back pain: Some individuals with scoliosis may experience back pain, particularly in the lower back. This pain may worsen after prolonged periods of sitting or standing.
  • Limited mobility: In severe cases, scoliosis can restrict movement and flexibility of the spine, making it difficult to bend or twist.

Symptoms of Scoliosis:

Scoliosis is a condition characterized by an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine. While some cases of scoliosis may not cause any noticeable symptoms, others can lead to certain signs and discomfort. Here are common symptoms associated with scoliosis:

  • Uneven shoulders: One shoulder may appear higher or more prominent than the other.
  • Uneven waist or hips: The waistline or hip bones may appear uneven or asymmetrical.
  • Off-center head position: The head may not be aligned with the center of the body and could tilt to one side.
  • Visible curve in the spine: When standing or bending over, a noticeable curve in the spine may be visible. This curve can resemble an "S" or "C" shape.
  • Back pain: Some individuals with scoliosis may experience mild to moderate back pain, particularly in the lower back. This pain can be intermittent or persistent.
  • Limited mobility: In severe cases, scoliosis can restrict movement and flexibility of the spine, making it difficult to bend or twist.
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When is the right time to see a Chiropractor for Scoliosis?

In general, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional if you experience any of the following:

  • Noticeable spinal curvature: If you or someone you know has an abnormal curvature of the spine, it is important to seek medical attention. This may involve observing uneven shoulders, hips, or a visible curve in the spine.
  • Persistent back pain or discomfort: If you are experiencing recurring or persistent back pain that affects your daily activities or quality of life, consulting with a healthcare professional can help determine the cause and provide appropriate treatment options.
  • Changes in posture or appearance: If you notice changes in your posture, such as leaning to one side or differences in shoulder height, it may indicate the presence of scoliosis. Seeking evaluation from a healthcare professional can provide clarity on the condition and guide appropriate management.
  • Concerns about scoliosis progression: If you have an existing diagnosis of scoliosis and are concerned about the progression of the curvature, seeking regular check-ups with a healthcare professional can help monitor and manage the condition effectively.

Meet our Lead Chiropractor

Dr. Brett Herlehy

Dr. Brett Herlehy

Chiropractor

Doctor of Chiropractic from New York Chiropractic College

Dr. Brett enjoys working with active individuals looking to reach the next level and also anyone who is trying to incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives.

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Physiotherapist Brittany Pereira working with client at Anchor Health and Performance Clinic Mississauga
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