Part of the back-to-school routine at Vital Wellness Center are scoliosis screenings, so every fall a great deal of parents use their smartphones to search for “scoliosis chiropractor near me.” Our chiropractor wants parents in the community to understand more about scoliosis and what can be done if their child develops the condition.
What Is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a condition where a sideways curvature develops in the spine. This curve is unhealthy and can be the result of one or more misaligned vertebrae. The body always compensates for scoliosis no matter how small the curve.
Scoliosis compensations do not correct the abnormal curvature of the spine. Instead, they are the body’s way to help promote normal function, such as balance, by keeping the head level. Unevenly developed muscles are one of the results of this compensation and can cause further harmful sideways curvature of the spine.
Eighty percent of all scoliosis cases have no diagnosable cause making this one of the most challenging aspects of the disease. The other 20% of people with scoliosis contract the condition as a result of muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, or other disorders that cause spinal misalignment.
A general misconception that our scoliosis chiropractor encounters is that scoliosis is a teenage condition. Despite the fact that it is very common in children ages 10 to 12 as a result of growth spurts, it is not limited to just young people. Infantile scoliosis can occur at birth or at a very young age, and juvenile scoliosis can also affect children ages 4 through 10. Elderly persons with osteoporosis or other diseases linked with spinal degeneration can also develop scoliosis.
How Is Scoliosis Identified?
In children, scoliosis is usually identified at the time of a back-to-school physical or by a school nurse during scoliosis screenings. Occasionally, a parent, athletic coach, or dance teacher may notice that a child’s hips are not level, the shoulders are uneven, or the rib-cage is somewhat rotated. These may cause parents to search the internet for their child’s symptoms leading them to make an appointment with a local chiropractor for scoliosis testing.
We conduct detailed scoliosis evaluations at Vital Wellness Center. One of the tests we perform is the forward bend test. Many people remember this test as part of a scoliosis assessment conducted by a school nurse, but we do not stop there. The spine is also observed while the child moves and assumes various postures. This analysis can help us identify concerns and establish a prescribed exercise program.
We also like to get a complete health history and picture of the teen’s life while we have parents in the office. In our experience, we can build a better healthy living program by getting as much information as possible about a child’s friends, habits, and lifestyle choices.
If additional data is needed, we may refer a patient to a local practitioner for scans, X-rays, or other testing. If scoliosis causes a severe curvature that requires corrective surgery, we are happy to offer supportive care around the surgery or long-term care if necessary. Symptom relief is not the only thing we care about. Our goal is to give the community’s children the best possible start in life.
Complications of Scoliosis
A wide range of issues can be caused by untreated scoliosis. Since the spine is connected to the limbs, head, and neck, any misalignment can have an impact on coordination which makes falls and other injuries more likely. Traveling through the spine, the spinal nerves deliver impulses between the brain and all the other nerves. These impulses, or messages, relay information from the senses, and they help us process our experiences in the world.
The spine is made up of stacking vertebrae with specific curves designed to promote easy, pain-free movement when everything works as it should. Pain in the neck, shoulders, back, and buttocks can occur when the spinal misalignment of scoliosis skews balance due to nerve dysfunction and uneven muscle strength. Severe pain can also be caused by excessive wear and tear on the spinal vertebrae.
Because the spinal nerves connect to the brain, each other, and all of the body’s other nerves, spinal misalignment can cause nerve pain anywhere in the body. Sciatica is an example of this. When the sciatic nerve is compressed, it can cause sharp, shooting pain that radiates down the back of the leg. Since the sciatic nerve begins in the lumbar region of the spine, any deviations in this spinal curvature can cause agonizing sciatic nerve compression.
Damage to the spinal nerves can interfere with organ function and normal movement. Reduced function or sensation in the limbs, fingers, and toes is not surprising with scoliosis since the spinal nerves are connected throughout the body. Altered respiration, digestion, and other organ function is also possible.
Scoliosis can interfere with normal breathing and lung expansion if it is extremely severe. A surprising complication of scoliosis is leaking spinal fluid. This leakage can cause unusual symptoms such as nausea, muffled hearing, and headaches that mysteriously disappear after laying down.
Symptoms of Scoliosis
Because the entire body is connected to the spine, some common signs of misalignment are asymmetry in the waist, hips, and shoulders. The ribs and muscles are also more prominent on the side of the scoliosis curve since the spine typically twists toward that side. A classic scoliosis sign is a curve that can be seen when a patient bends forward.
Scoliosis can cause weakness, numbness, and pain associated with uneven muscle strength and unusual stress patterns that are placed on the spine. Although these symptoms are more prevalent in the lower back, scoliosis can produce or worsen nerve issues in other parts of the body. Dysfunction is another symptom of scoliosis which is also due to nerve problems. It is fortunate that chiropractic care centers concentrate on the restoration of nerve function by focusing on spinal issues.
How Our Chiropractors Help Scoliosis Symptoms
Our chiropractic care for scoliosis focuses on the correction of spinal problems that interfere with normal function and sensation. Vital Wellness Center combines in-office interventions that help to reduce pain, with healthy living plans that extend and improve the patient’s quality of life. Our most popular therapies for scoliosis include muscular therapies, spinal decompression, and chiropractic adjustment.
Decompression therapy works to reduce spinal nerve compression by using gentle flexing and stretching motions. We focus our efforts on the neck or lower back depending on the location of the scoliosis curve and how it impacts the rest of the spine. This provides our patients with increased movement and pain relief where it is needed most, and it prepares the spine for chiropractic adjustment.
When our patients first decide to see a chiropractor, most envision chiropractic adjustment or spinal manipulation. This hands-on therapy is used to resolve subluxations or spinal misalignments. Subluxations can hinder healthy nerve function and can cause pain and dysfunction throughout the entire body.
A general misconception is that chiropractic adjustment can correct a scoliosis curve. The force it would take to straighten a scoliosis curve would cause the spine to break causing much more damage than it would repair. Although the spine may make some noise during treatment, we are never careless. However, patients may feel a little sore following treatment. Chiropractic care helps to support nerve health and can be a great addition to any essential interventions, including surgery.
Massage therapy is one of our most popular muscular treatments. It relaxes away tension resulting from unbalanced weight distribution and soothes areas of unevenly working muscles. It is also an excellent addition to personalized movement programs. Strategic exercise not only strengthens the muscles, it gives our patients the chance to have some much-needed fun.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Scoliosis
Chiropractic care for scoliosis deals with the underlying problems that are responsible for scoliosis symptoms. This results in reduced pain and restored function. Overall wellness also benefits since we emphasize the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices.
Consult With Our Scoliosis Chiropractor
If you are ready to discover what our chiropractor for scoliosis can do for your child, we invite you to gather as much information as possible. Ask other parents for their opinion, do online research, and give Vital Wellness Center a call. We are eager to answer your questions and book a scoliosis consultation appointment for your child.