What Are The Options For Treating Scoliosis?
What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is an abnormal curve of the spine, typically in an ‘S’ or a ‘C’ shape. Although it can be caused by neuromuscular conditions such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, generally the cause of scoliosis is unknown. There are, however, risk factors:
Age – Scoliosis usually starts shortly before puberty begins.
Sex – Although scoliosis occurs in both sexes equally, the risk of the condition worsening and requiring treatment is much higher in girls.
Family history – There can be a hereditary element. However, most people with scoliosis do not have a family history of the disease.
What are the treatments for Scoliosis?
There are different possible scoliosis treatments, depending on severity and likelihood of progression.
Braces – If a scoliosis sufferer’s bones are still growing, a brace may be recommended. Whilst this will not cure or reverse the scoliosis, it can prevent its progression. Braces are usually very discreet and almost invisible under clothing. It is usually recommended that they are worn for 22-23 hours per day, and can be removed e.g. for sport. They are worn until bone growth stops.
Surgery – Surgery may be advised in severe cases. This is usually spinal fusion surgery, which connects two or more vertebrae together to prevent them from moving independently.
How can Chiropractic Care help Scoliosis?
Chiropractic care can complement scoliosis treatment and help to minimise pain, improve posture, and facilitate a better quality of life. Chiropractic care cannot, however, correct or reverse scoliosis.
What happens if Scoliosis is left untreated?
Scoliosis does not always progress in the absence of treatment, particularly in the case of older teens with minor curves. However, scoliosis that occurs in the pre-teen or early teen years is at risk of worsening with growth, and leading to complications.
Appearance – As the condition worsens, it can lead to visible physical changes such as prominent ribs, unlevel shoulders, and uneven hips. This can cause self-consciousness, especially for teenagers.
Back pain – Scoliosis sufferers are more likely to experience chronic back pain as adults.
Lung and heart problems – In the most severe cases, scoliosis can cause the rib cage to press against the lungs and heart, making it harder to breathe and for the heart to pump efficiently.