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Scoliosis Types and Non-Invasive Treatment Options

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Scoliosis is a common condition that affects more than 3 million people each year. It occurs when the spine curves abnormally. The severity of the curve can cause various problems for people who suffer with this condition. Thankfully, non-invasive treatment methods exist to help people have a full and meaningful life.

A Family Chiropractic Clinic treats many patients who suffer from scoliosis. This condition doesn’t have to control your life. Many people are able to live pain-free lives thanks to routine chiropractic care and other non-invasive treatment methods. We strive to help our patients understand everything about any condition that affects their lives.

What is Scoliosis?

Our spines aren’t straight. Natural curves occur in our spine at our neck, mid back, and lower back. These curves help the spine function and support our bodies in a way that allows us to move freely. However, despite the natural curves, when you view someone’s back from behind, the spine appears to be a straight line. This is because the natural curves occur from front to back within our spines. Scoliosis occurs when the spine curves left to right. This means that when you look at someone’s spine from behind, rather than a straight line it will appear to have an S or C shape.

When you stand upright and view your spine from your side, you will see that it naturally curves inward and outward. These normal curvatures are known as kyphosis and lordosis. Kyphosis occurs where your spine curves inward while lordosis occurs where the spine curves outward. The curves in your neck and your lower back are lordotic curves and the curves at your mid back and tailbone are kyphotic curves.

Curvatures from side to side or front to back that are greater than 10 degrees points to scoliosis. However, many people with curvatures less than 20 degrees don’t experience any noticeable signs of the condition. As the curvature advances beyond 20 degrees then the abnormality becomes more obvious to observers. Tilting to one side, or clothes hanging unevenly are common visual cues for the condition.

Types of Scoliosis

Scoliosis refers to more than just abnormal spinal curvatures. There are actually several different types of this condition. It is most commonly diagnosed in children but affects people of all ages. Congenital scoliosis occurs when the spine doesn’t develop properly in utero. Infantile idiopathic scoliosis affects children up to the age of 3. Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis is generally diagnosed between ages 4 and 10. And adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is diagnosed in adolescents aged 11 to 18. This condition is also diagnosed in people over the age of 18. In these cases it is referred to as adult idiopathic scoliosis or sometimes degenerative scoliosis. Degenerative scoliosis is typically caused by wear and tear on the spine.

Scoliosis caused by a brain, spinal cord, or muscular disorder is referred to as neuromuscular scoliosis. This type of the condition is usually caused by muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy. Similarly, syndromic scoliosis is part of an underlying disorder. Some schools offer scoliosis screenings for students during their adolescent years. Your child’s pediatrician will also examine your child’s spine for signs of early onset scoliosis. Most cases are diagnosed between the ages of 10 and 15. This age is a stage of rapid skeletal growth and the spine should be monitored for abnormal changes.

Different Spinal Curves

If the spine bends towards the right side of an individual it is considered to be dextroscoliosis. Spinal curvatures towards the left side, like the letter C, are called levoscoliosis. There are also names based on the location of the curvatures.

If the spine bends into the right side of your upper back then you would have a right thoracic curve while bending into the left side of your upper back would be a left thoracic curve. When the spinal curve begins in the upper back and ends in the lower back it is a right or left thoracolumbar curve. If the curved part of your spine begins and ends in the lower back it is called a right or left lumbar curve.

It is possible to suffer from more than one abnormal curvature of the spine. A double major curve typically involves both the thoracic area of the upper back and the lumbar area, or lower back. In very rare cases, someone may experience a triple curve.

Treatment Options for Scoliosis

Most cases of scoliosis are caught early while the child’s body is still developing. This condition rarely corrects itself on its own so treatment is strongly recommended. Physical therapy and treatment is typical the course of action. Using a brace is a common way to correct the spine and prevent the curvature from worsening as the child grows. Wearing a brace is typically a fairly effective treatment when the condition is diagnosed early enough. Therapy using a brace generally begins when the curve is at least 20 or 25 degrees. The child needs to wear the brace until they reach skeletal maturity.

Many cases don’t ever advance to the point of needing a brace. The majority of people who suffer from scoliosis have a curvature between 10 and 25 degrees. Chiropractic care is generally enough to keep these patients pain free. Regular movements sometimes cause back pain due to an abnormally curved spine. This pain could increase over time due to uneven wear and tear. The muscles in the back often try to overcompensate for the curvature.

Working with your chiropractor is a great way to prevent or manage pain. While the condition itself doesn’t cause back pain, the spine isn’t able to function as it normally would. Regular visits with your chiropractor will help keep your spine in the best possible alignment. Adjustments will also ensure that your spine maintains a greater degree of flexibility.

Living with Scoliosis

It’s possible to live a perfectly normal life with scoliosis. The condition itself doesn’t typically cause significant pain or other health issues. However, the imbalance can cause muscle spasms in the back as the body tries to compensate for the curvature. Some activities or movements may be difficult or uncomfortable for people suffering from the condition. It’s also possible that a person with scoliosis may be more susceptible to pain from injuries or falls.

Call A Family Chiropractic Clinic today at (940) 566-0000 for more information on the treatment options for scoliosis.

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