Scoliosis is an abnormal lateral or sideways curvature of the spine; most of the time, the cause is unknown (Idiopathic Scoliosis). It is most commonly diagnosed in young pre-teens, around ten years old, and affects girls more than boys. Scoliosis progresses as a child continues to grow, usually throughout puberty. Scoliosis affects roughly 3% of the population, and over 90% of cases are not severe enough to require surgery.
According to the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons, 80% of cases have no identifiable causes. Though schools conduct posture screenings through their nurses’ offices, the most definitive way to diagnose scoliosis is to have an X-ray. If there is a chance you or your child have scoliosis, early detection is essential. With an X-ray, we can establish a baseline curvature and monitor progression every six months to see if the scoliosis worsens. Sometimes there is only one curve to the scoliosis, other times, there may be two. The main concern with scoliosis is determining if the curvature bends into the left thoracic area toward the heart. If it is severe enough, surgery will be warranted. Bracing for scoliosis is usually recommended if the curve is more than 25°. If the curve is more than 35°, a surgical consult will be recommended.
As mentioned, the vast majority of curvatures are under 25° and can be managed with conservative therapy like chiropractic care. There is no cure for scoliosis, but like any misaligned spine, chiropractic care is beneficial for scoliosis patients to help with the effects of a curved spine. With abnormal curvature and alignment, a patient may experience back pain, neck pain, or inflammation. There may be problems with normal movement, range of motion, and posture, and long-standing scoliosis will give rise to early arthritis. Early detection and chiropractic care can help ease all scoliosis-related problems. Sometimes, we have even seen curves lessen slightly with adjustments.