Scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine that occurs in children, often during the growth spurt just before puberty. Scoliosis may create undue emotional distress because it usually occurs during crucial developmental years when children are most sensitive to peer pressure. The good news: chiropractic treatments can help with scoliosis.
Unfortunately, children with scoliosis may exhibit few physical symptoms. Scoliosis tends to progress if not addressed. Those with scoliosis are at increased risk of having spinal pain later in adult life.
When looking at a person’s back, the spine is supposed to appear straight up and down. In someone who has scoliosis, the spine appears to be curved to the side. Statistically, this abnormality of the spine occurs in about 1% to 3% of the population.
This condition can start and be in an active phase anytime from birth until adulthood and is mainly seen when a person is growing rapidly — typically at 6-24 months, 5-8 years, and 11-14 years of age.
Progression of the condition tends to be more pronounced in adolescent females, especially those with larger curvatures. If a scoliosis curve gets worse, the spine will also rotate or twist in addition to curving side to side. As a result, ribs on one side of the body may stick out farther than the other side.
A Chiropractic Exam May Reveal Scoliosis
When chiropractors perform their initial physical examination, they may observe that a person with suspected scoliosis has one shoulder blade that’s more prominent, the waistline dips to one side, or one hip is higher than the other.
To determine the extent of the curvature, a chiropractor measures the sideways curvature by taking an X-ray of the spine.
Depending on the severity of scoliosis, chiropractic treatments may include manual adjustments, rehabilitative exercises to increase the strength and stability of muscles protecting the spine, and myofascial release therapy. Myofascial release (MFR) is a soft tissue therapy that can help relax muscles, improve circulation, and stimulate the patient’s stretch reflex.
In some cases, bracing the spine may be recommended to help prevent scoliosis from progressing further. Depending on the severity of the curvature, a chiropractor may also co-manage a scoliosis diagnosis with a medical doctor.
How to Know if Scoliosis is Occurring
In addition to a chiropractic exam, there are other indications of a possible scoliosis condition:
As a parent or guardian of a child with scoliosis, remember there are things you can do to help:
Consider Chiropractic Care First
Although chiropractic cannot correct the curvature caused by scoliosis, it may be able to improve any symptoms. By improving nervous system function and spinal health, the body has a better chance of managing the symptoms.
If you have concerns about one of your children having scoliosis, an excellent first step is to consult with your family chiropractor and be evaluated for personalized chiropractic treatment.
Graduates of a chiropractic college have specific training in the diagnosis and supportive care of scoliosis and other musculoskeletal conditions and diseases.
CUKC Chiropractic Health Center
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC), founded in 1922, is a private, nonprofit, chiropractic and health science-focused university in Overland Park, Kansas. The CUKC on-campus Chiropractic Health Center is open to the public and treats patients from Kansas City’s 15-county metro area. Our goal is to provide chiropractic treatments and solutions for a better, more productive life for our patients.