Scoliosis Treatment Options
Scoliosis is a condition that affects many individuals, causing an abnormal lateral deviation of the spine. In simple terms, when you view someone from behind, their spine may appear to have a C-shape or S-shape curve rather than the typical straight, vertical alignment. This blog post aims to shed light on two categories of scoliosis: postural scoliosis and structural scoliosis. Moreover, it will delve into the world of chiropractic care as an alternative to the medical model for scoliosis treatment. By the end of this article, you will have a clearer understanding of the available options for scoliosis care and be better equipped to make an informed decision.
Postural Scoliosis: The Body’s Adaptation
Flexibility and Simplicity
At South Bellevue Chiropractic & Massage, we often encounter patients with postural scoliosis, which is the body’s way of adapting to imbalances. These imbalances can be caused by factors like leg length inequality or a low arch on one side compared to the other. When this happens, the pelvis tilts, and the spine responds with a curved alignment. The good news is that postural scoliosis is usually flexible and can be identified through physical examination findings. Our chiropractors look for evidence of a short leg and a flexible spinal curve that straightens during side bending of the torso.
Addressing postural scoliosis typically involves straightforward approaches. We often use custom foot orthotics to correct feet alignment issues or structural leg length discrepancies. Chiropractic care may also be recommended to address any associated muscle or joint concerns and alleviate discomfort resulting from years of abnormal force distribution. It’s a gentle and non-invasive way to restore balance to the body.
Structural Scoliosis: A Complex Challenge
The Rigid Spinal Curve
Structural scoliosis, on the other hand, presents a more complex challenge. There are various types of structural scoliosis, including adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, which is characterized by a rigid and inflexible spinal curve that seems to develop without a clear cause. This type of scoliosis often poses the risk of worsening as the spine continues to grow.
At South Bellevue Chiropractic & Massage, we have extensive experience in managing structural scoliosis. Our approach involves manual adjustments and mobilizations aimed at improving flexibility, function, alignment, and mechanical balance of the spine. Chiropractic care also plays a crucial role in pain management. We often recommend proprioceptive exercises, which enhance body position awareness. These exercises can include activities on an exercise ball, rocker board, wobble board, or vibration platform. Additionally, practices like Yoga and Tai Chi help improve balance and overall well-being. Our chiropractic care, combined with proprioceptive exercises, serves to retrain the central nervous system, promoting better posture and muscle balance. Furthermore, we prescribe specific corrective exercises to stretch tight muscles and strengthen weaker ones, ideally performed daily. Deep breathing exercises and awareness of proper sleep posture are also integral parts of our scoliosis management program.
The Risks Associated with Scoliosis
Scoliosis, whether postural or structural, comes with certain inherent risks. While many individuals with scoliosis may lead normal lives without experiencing significant issues, there are considerations to keep in mind:
Pain and Arthritis
Statistically, larger scoliotic curves are often associated with more pain and earlier onset of arthritis due to uneven wear and tear on the joints.
There’s also the risk of scoliosis worsening, particularly during adolescence when the spine is still growing. With structural scoliosis, there is concern about compression of internal organs when the curves progress beyond a certain point.
Diagnosing scoliosis typically involves a physical examination and, in some cases, x-ray imaging. Our chiropractors are trained to detect posture abnormalities such as uneven shoulders, pelvis, hips, knees, and feet, which may indicate underlying scoliosis.
Medical Management of Scoliosis
The conventional medical approach to managing structural scoliosis primarily consists of monitoring, bracing, medication, and surgery:
For patients who are still growing, the progression of scoliosis is closely monitored. This includes taking a baseline x-ray and conducting follow-up x-rays every few months.
If the curve progresses, a spinal brace is usually recommended. However, patient compliance can be a challenge as spinal braces tend to be uncomfortable and may lead to self-consciousness, especially among adolescents.
In cases where scoliosis progresses significantly, spinal surgery may be recommended. This invasive procedure involves surgically fusing a metal rod to the spine to straighten it. While surgery can be effective, it carries inherent risks.
Why Choose South Bellevue Chiropractic & Massage for Scoliosis Care
Given the various options available for scoliosis management, South Bellevue Chiropractic & Massage offers a patient-centered and holistic approach that prioritizes your well-being. Here’s why you should consider us:
Non-Invasive and Drug-Free
Our chiropractic care is a hands-on, non-invasive, and drug-free method. We aim to address the underlying mechanical problems associated with scoliosis, naturally alleviate pain, and empower you to continue appropriate home care, including corrective exercises and postural awareness.
Potential for Improvement
While we cannot guarantee the correction of structural scoliosis, there is evidence suggesting that our chiropractic care can slow the progression and improve the curvature in some cases.
At South Bellevue Chiropractic & Massage, we focus on you and your unique needs. We understand that healing takes time, and our comprehensive course of care is often recommended, with regular progress assessments to objectively evaluate changes.
Take the First Step Towards Better Spinal Health
If you or a loved one is dealing with scoliosis, we invite you to explore the benefits of chiropractic care as an alternative to the medical model. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and embark on your journey towards improved spinal health.
Q: Is chiropractic care the only alternative to medical treatment for scoliosis?
A: Chiropractic care is one alternative, but there are other approaches, including physical therapy and exercise-based treatments. The choice of treatment depends on your specific needs and preferences.
Q: Can scoliosis be completely cured through chiropractic care?
A: Chiropractic care may help improve the curvature of the spine and alleviate associated symptoms, but it cannot guarantee a complete cure, especially in cases of severe structural scoliosis.
Q: Are there age limitations for undergoing chiropractic care for scoliosis?
A: Chiropractic care can be suitable for individuals of various ages, from children to adults. However, the treatment approach may vary depending on your age and condition.