Help for Scoliosis During National Scoliosis Awareness Month - Olathe Chiropractic

Help for Scoliosis During National Scoliosis Awareness Month

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June is National Scoliosis Awareness Month. Scoliosis can be caused by lifestyle and how healthy you keep your back. However, in many cases, it can simply be genetic. Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine in various directions that most commonly happens during adolescence. The curving can grow worse over time without professional intervention, leading to chronic health issues. Here’s what you need to know about scoliosis and how you can treat it so the back becomes straight once more!

 

What Is Scoliosis?

Millions of people suffer from chronic back pain each year. This pain is most commonly centered in the lower back, but patients can experience upper back pain and neck pain as well. You may not even realize that your health symptoms stem from problems with your back, because they can manifest as neuropathy in your limbs, headaches and migraines from neck issues, muscle aches and more.

 

One cause of back pain and these types of symptoms is scoliosis. This is a curvature of the back that happens most commonly in adolescence. Because of this, it is more commonly found and treated in adolescence. Scoliosis is the name given to a spine that curves sideways to the left or to the right. Normal alignment of the spine will have it straight up and down with the vertebrae evenly supporting the back and body.

 

With scoliosis, the curve can range from severe to mild, with symptoms and risks varying based on the cause of the scoliosis. Often, patients will have an S or C shape to the spine, which is very apparent on X-rays and other imaging tests. When the scoliosis is severe, you can even see it by simply bending over and watching the shape of your spine and how it curves.

 

Symptoms and Causes

Ever been told to “sit up straight”. This is always good advice, as how you sit and stand really can determine if your spine has a curve to it. Your posture can determine if you develop scoliosis, but only in some cases. It often has no causes. However, these have been shown to increase your risk for developing scoliosis:

  • Tumors or bone growths pushing the spine out of alignment
  • Cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy
  • Birth defects
  • Infections of the spine or injuries to the ligaments/tendons that support proper alignment
  • Leg length inequalities that push your entire skeleton out of line

 

If you know that you have some of these risks, it is wise for you (and your children) to be screened for scoliosis. Early detection and treatment is the absolute best for preventing worsening problems as a child or adult ages. When scoliosis is starting to become more prominent, our patients generally feel symptoms such as:

  • Uneven hip or shoulder alignments
  • Back pain
  • A dull ache around the spine
  • Twisted torso or ribcage
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Prominent shoulder blade exposure on one side or the other

 

How Common Is Scoliosis?

  • The American Association of Neurological Surgeons reports that about 2-3% of the population is affected by scoliosis, which equals 9 million people in the U.S.
  • Scoliosis can affect you no matter your age, although it is commonly diagnosed in early childhood or adolescence. This is an ideal time to catch it before further curvature develops.
  • Scoliosis tends to have a primary onset between 10-15 years old.
  • Girls are 8x more likely than boys to develop spinal curvature.
  • Each year, an estimated 30,000 children are fitted for a brace to correct the spine and another 38,000 undergo spinal fusion surgery.
  • Is not always caused by improper posture, but it’s always good to keep a good posture anyways to ensure all your muscles and bones stay strong and support your back correctly.
  • There are no noticeable signs without professional testing early-on. Spinal curvature may only be visible during a physical examination or on an x-ray. You may however, experience the symptoms of this condition, alerting you that something is amiss.
  • In patients with severe scoliosis, the curvature of the spine can physically be seen in the back when a patient bends over. In some cases, the spine will protrude to the left or right in the back instead of following a normal center alignment.
  • Nearly ½ of all cases are ruled “idiopathic”, meaning they have no discernible cause. That can be great news though, as idiopathic cases are much easier to treat than conditions caused by physical problems.
  • Scoliosis can be caused by birth defects, cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, tumors or bone growths pushing on the spine, spinal infections, injuries to spinal ligaments or tendons and leg length inequalities.
  • Growth spurts or going through puberty cause cause rapid growth in the body and misalign the spine. This can lead to scoliosis. There may also be a hereditary link.

 

Treatment

Mild scoliosis without a specific cause is usually managed over time. This may involve back braces or small support devices that can be worn under the clothes to change posture and spine curvature. It may also include chiropractic or therapy sessions to help with muscle relaxation and realignment of the spine over time. We can manage symptoms with conservative options like:

  • Spinal adjustment through proper stretching, traction treatments, and chiropractic adjustment.
  • Muscle relaxation with massage therapy and electrostimulation.
  • Lifestyle changes to encourage back strength so your spine is properly supported.

 

At Olathe Chiropractic, our goal is to provide you with effective treatments to help get your body back and avoid surgery. If you’ve been recently diagnosed or have had scoliosis for quite some time, we can help! To get “back” to a healthier spine, call our Olathe Chiropractic office today at (913) 839-8643 to schedule your free consultation.

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