One common question we hear at Trinity Chiropractic is, “Can chiropractic help scoliosis?” Before we talk about chiropractic helping scoliosis, let’s go over what this term means and how it can affect your health.
When we look at the spine from the side, it is designed to have curves to it. Your neck should have a forward curve, known as lordosis. Your upper back should curve to the back, known as kyphosis. And your low back should again curve to the front like the neck. These curves are normal and should be present in everyone’s spine. When we look at the spine from behind, it should be totally straight. If it curves to one or both sides, this is known as scoliosis and is not normal.
Scoliosis can be due to a number of causes. Congenital scoliosis occurs when a baby is still developing in the womb. Sometimes the spinal bones, known as vertebrae, do not develop properly and can result in a structural abnormality, causing scoliosis. Neuromuscular scoliosis occurs as a result of conditions like cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury or spina bifida. These conditions may damage the muscles that support your spine and result in scoliosis. Degenerative scoliosis occurs because of severe degeneration of the discs and bones in the spine, typically in the low back. Idiopathic scoliosis is called such because the cause is not known. (1) There are different theories on causes of idiopathic scoliosis. One theory is that the brainstem and spinal cord need to have a certain amount of tension on them to function properly. If there is excess tension, caused by a misalignment of one or more spinal bones (known as a subluxation), the body will distort the spine, thereby sacrificing the musculoskeletal system in an effort to preserve the integrity of the nervous system.
Scoliosis often results in uneven shoulders, one shoulder blade to stick out more than the other, and uneven hips. The imbalances in the spine resulting from scoliosis can cause problems like chronic back pain, leg pain, numbness or tingling, and chronic headaches, just to name a few. If the scoliosis is severe, it can put abnormal pressure on the heart and lungs, making it difficult to breathe and affecting the heart’s ability to pump normally. People who suffer from scoliosis also tend to become self-conscious about their appearance if the scoliosis is severe or worsens.
Scoliosis is a challenging condition to treat no matter what approach is chosen. While no treatment option available can guarantee improvement in scoliosis, its associated symptoms or physical side effects, chiropractic has been shown through research to be a safe and effective alternative to surgery and cumbersome braces. Chiropractors typically use specific chiropractic adjustments to correct spinal misalignments (subluxations) along with therapeutic modalities and specific exercise programs to address the muscular components to help patients suffering from scoliosis. One study conducted on 28 adults with scoliosis found that the patients reported “improvements in pain, Cobb angle, and disability immediately following the conclusion of treatment and 24 months later.” (2)
If you or someone you love is suffering from scoliosis, chiropractic may be an option. We would love to help.