Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine bends to the side abnormally; either to the right or left. The curvature can be moderate to severe. Any part of the spine can be bent in scoliosis; but the most common regions are the chest area (thoracic scoliosis) or the lower part of the back (lumbar scoliosis).
According to the National Health Service UK, in 80% of cases there is no known cause – it is idiopathic.
The majority of children with scoliosis require no treatment, as the condition resolves on its own as the child grows. Those who do require treatment use a back brace, which is usually effective. A very small number of patients with scoliosis may require surgery. If left untreated, the condition can lead to serious spine, chest, pelvis, heart and lung damage.
What are the signs and symptoms of scoliosis?
A symptom is something the patient senses and describes, while a sign is something other people, such as the doctor notice. For example, drowsiness may be a symptom while dilated pupils may be a sign.
Scoliosis signs and symptoms in children:
Shoulders may not be of the same height (one is higher than the other)
Head is not centered directly above the pelvis
Ribcage is not symmetrical; ribs may be at different heights
A shoulder blade is higher and more prominent than the other
One hip is more prominent than the other
Clothes do not hang properly
The individual may lean to one side
Uneven leg lengths
Scoliosis signs and symptoms in babies:
A bulge on one side of the chest
The baby might be consistently lying curved to one side
In more severe cases the heart and lungs may not work properly and the patient may experience shortness of breath and chest pain.
Some types of scoliosis can cause back pain.
In the vast majority of cases scoliosis is not painful.
What are the risk factors for scoliosis?
Age – scoliosis signs and symptoms often start during a growth spurt that occurs just before puberty.
Gender – females have a higher risk of worsening symptoms.
Genetics – people with scoliosis are more likely to have close relatives with the same condition than other people.
How can your Chiropractor Help?
Your chiropractor can identify, analyze, follow and treat this problem of the spine. If scoliosis is diagnosed during your initial visit we have a range of suitable treatments, which can help. These include vertebral adjustments to increase mobility and function at all spinal levels, trigger point therapy for muscles, postural advice and exercises to prevent future degeneration.