"Stand up straight," your mother said. Well, she was partly right. Standing tall counteracts the effects of gravity and relieves your muscles and joints of added stress and pressure.
Surprisingly, the human spine is not supposed to be straight. When you were an infant, your spine was in one long C-shaped curve from head to rump. As you learned to lift your head while laying on your stomach or crawling, your neck acquired an opposite curve. As you learned to stand up straight, your lower back also acquired an opposite curve in order to help with balance.
Just as a road curves in order to fit the landscape, so too your spine curves to fit your ability to move. The three gentle curves should be towards your front or back: a gentle curve towards the front in your neck, towards the back in your mid-back, and towards the front in your lower back. As the spinal column curves, it protects the spinal cord inside it.
But sometimes (and frankly, science usually does not know why) the spine takes on other shapes. It will twist or curl or curve to the side. Whenever the spine twists to one side, it usually also rotates because of the shapes of the vertebral bones. If this extra twisting and rotation is strong enough, it is called scoliosis.
Scoliosis can be a serious condition for three main reasons: 1) the spinal cord can get tugged, stretched, or twisted, causing problems in the nervous system; 2) the heart and lungs, which are encased in the ribs, can become deformed or malformed due to the pressures put on them; and 3) pain and physical deformity can develop in severe cases. Scoliosis remains the most common deforming orthopedic condition in children.
There are many treatment options for scoliosis patients, ranging from non-invasive procedures to bracing to surgery in extreme cases. Scoliosis is always a very complex, multidimensional condition that is different for each patient. The relevant question for this blog is: Can chiropractic help scoliosis patients?
How We Can Help Your Scoliosis
Beyond the cosmetic issues and health issues, scoliosis can be very painful! Chiropractic has always found great success in dealing with musculoskeletal pain.
If your scoliosis has not progressed beyond the conservative management range (generally regarded as scoliotic curves less than 40 degrees), you may benefit from chiropractic care. If you have already reached the age of skeletal maturity (which varies, but generally occurs prior to age 18), it is even possible that through chiropractic management your curves will lessen in severity. But even if you are already skeletally mature, you may find relief from your pain through chiropractic care.
I have treated multiple patients with scoliosis, and each have reported decreased pain and increased ability to remain active in their chosen hobbies. I am always encouraged to see these patients feeling better, knowing that without chiropractic care they would still be in pain. Since the gentle and safe Activator Methods technique is used at Johnson Family Chiropractic, each patient knows that their treatments will not cause additional pain.
A groundbreaking adult scoliosis study published in 2011 revealed that adult scoliosis sufferers had less pain, better breathing, smaller abnormal curves, and less disability following a six-month chiropractic program. And, even more exciting, these improvements were maintained even two years later!
Chiropractic can be effective for scoliosis for several reasons. The additional motion that the chiropractic adjustment provides to the spinal joints allows the spine to be flexible instead of tightening up in a abnormal position. Tight muscles which pull the bones out of position are relaxed. And there are several other complex theories of why chiropractic may help scoliosis.
If you are curious to learn more about chiropractic and scoliosis, feel free to contact Dr. Johnson to set up a consultation or examination.