When your spine has an abnormal sideways curvature, it is called scoliosis. Although most people have heard about this condition, the majority do not understand the health dangers and pain involved. National Scoliosis Awareness Month takes place every June to educate you about detecting scoliosis and helps improve your understanding of this condition.
One of the most important things you can learn is how chiropractors can help people with scoliosis. You are most likely unaware approximately three percent of the population of the United States has some type of scoliosis. You may have been born with this condition or it may have occurred due to age. Roughly 90 percent of all patients with scoliosis do not have a spinal curvature severe enough for surgery.
Unfortunately, this condition is often incredibly painful because of the way your anatomy is impacted. Many people have established successful scoliosis curve management through chiropractic treatment. Although chiropractic treatments are unable to straighten your spine, your curve can be prevented from increasing and some techniques can diminish your pain, often substantially.
There have been a few studies conducted showing chiropractic treatment has the potential to help with scoliosis. Although there are other options available if you have scoliosis, checking with a chiropractor first is an excellent option. Chiropractors understand this condition and have been trained to help in any way possible.
How Do Chiropractors Help with Scoliosis?
When you consult with a chiropractor for your scoliosis or that of your child, the basic steps may include:
• Scroth method
If your child’s scoliosis curve is 10 to 24 degrees, it is considered a small curve. Observation may be the only step necessary. Observation is when your chiropractor observes the curve to ensure if the measurement increases to a minimum of 25 degrees, another type of treatment can be started. If your child has a small scoliosis curve, the recommendation is to see a chiropractor every four to six months for observation.
As an adult, your bones are no longer growing. This means no treatment is usually required unless you have nerve pain due to scoliosis. The difference with children’s bones is they are still growing. One of the main treatment goals is to prevent your child’s curve from increasing. If their curve is 25 to 45 degrees, it may require bracing.
Although bracing can be difficult for your child’s self-esteem, it may be required to help eliminate pain or the need for surgery in the future. The recommendation is for your child to wear a brace between 16 and 23 hours per day until the end of the growth period. In approximately 80 percent of all cases, your child’s curve will stop progressing.
If your scoliosis curve or that of your child reaches between 40 and 50 degrees, the recommendation is usually surgery. In an adolescent, there must be signs the curve is progressing. As an adult, surgery is recommended if your curve is at least 50 degrees and you are having issues with your bladder or bowels or there is nerve damage affecting your legs.
The specific goal of scoliosis surgery is to straighten or correct your curve to prevent any further progression. If you need surgery, rods and metal implants will be implanted into your spine to eliminate or decrease your curve. Your spine will remain straighter until it has enough time to fuse. Fusion occurs when your spinal elements knit together successfully.
If you had surgery for scoliosis 20 or 30 years ago, there may be benefits from revision surgery. Many years ago, it was common to see long spinal fusions. In this instance, your vertebrae can be subjected to a greater load and wear and tear both below and above your fusion. This can result in adjacent segment disease. This occurs when your ligaments, facet joints or discs are subject to degenerative changes causing arthritis.
Revision surgery may include another decompression and fusion surgery to relieve the pressure placed on your nerves. The majority of scoliosis treatments received in the United States focus on traditional treatments including surgery, observation and bracing. There are also new types of physical therapy methods such as the Scroth method.
Regardless of the extent of your curve due to scoliosis, your chiropractor can help. After receiving a thorough examination, your chiropractor will recommend the best possible treatment for your specific needs. If you are ready to get started, call us today at 205-637-1363. Your chiropractor can help eliminate your pain.