Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine, which causes the spine to resemble an “S” or “C” shape. Scoliosis can occur at any age, but it is most common in adolescents, particularly during the rapid growth that occurs during adolescence. The condition can also affect adults.
There are three types of scoliosis:
- Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS)
This is the one most people think of when they hear “scoliosis.” AIS is more common in girls than boys and typically appears during adolescence between 10 and 15. The cause is believed to be hormonal changes during puberty, but no one knows for sure.
- Adult non-syndromic scoliosis (ANS)
This type of scoliosis occurs in older people who have never been diagnosed with it before. Its cause isn’t known, but doctors suggest that bad posture or repetitive strain from activities like swimming or playing sports could play a role.
- Congenital scoliosis
This is when a child is born with one shoulder blade higher than the other. It’s more common in males.
What Causes Scoliosis?
While there is no clear answer as to what causes scoliosis, several factors have been identified as contributing factors:
- Increased flexibility: Individuals with increased flexibility may be more prone to developing scoliosis. This is believed to be due to their ability to rotate their trunk further. Since rotation increases the curve in the spine.
- Hormonal problems: Hormonal problems such as thyroid hormone deficiency (hypothyroidism)
- Injury: Scoliosis can be caused by physical injuries, disease, or tumors.
- Bone deformity: such as spina bifida
- Genetic conditions: such as Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
People with scoliosis often have an uneven shoulder height, which occurs when one shoulder blade sticks out farther than the other. A person might also have an abnormal curve in their upper back.
How Can You Treat Scoliosis?
- Chiropractic solutions. There is no cure for scoliosis, but chiropractic care can help with associated neck and back pain. It can also potentially prevent the progression of the condition. Chiropractors can treat scoliosis by adjusting the spine to realign it and relieve pressure on the spinal cord.
- Back braces are often the first treatment option for scoliosis.
They work by applying constant pressure to the spine to stop or slow down the curvature from getting worse. Scoliosis braces are usually worn 23 hours a day, only removed for showers and exercise. Braces effectively treat the curve in mild or moderate cases of scoliosis.
- Scoliosis surgery
Surgical options are available for more severe cases of scoliosis that have not responded adequately to bracing treatment. It helps to stabilize the spine and prevent deformity. Surgery is a common scoliosis treatment in adults.
- Physical therapy is one of the most common and effective treatment options for scoliosis. This can include stretching and strengthening exercises, such as abdominal crunches and back extensions.
- Dietary management to control obesity and reduce spinal stress.
- Medication for pain and discomfort.
What causes scoliosis in adults?
In adults, scoliosis usually results from a degenerative condition such as osteoporosis or disc herniations.
In some cases, scoliosis is congenital – present from birth – and genes are believed to be the cause. If you have a family history of scoliosis, your children are likely to have a genetic predisposition to developing it.
Can chiropractic help with scoliosis?
Chiropractic treatment can help with scoliosis, though, because it focuses on treating the spine rather than the symptoms. The purpose of chiropractic care is to improve spinal function and decrease pain. It also improves circulation and reduces inflammation.
Is chiropractic treatment safe for scoliosis?
Yes, chiropractic care is safe for scoliosis treatment.