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Scoliosis is the lateral deviation of the spine and affects not only adults, but more commonly affects children and adolescents. In today’s society, there is a great concern about scoliosis. Children are checked in elementary school and high school to see if this menace has gotten a hold of them.
About 80 percent of scoliosis cases are "idiopathic", meaning the cause is unknown. There is no research evidence that chiropractic treatment can cure idiopathic scoliosis. But, chiropractic treatment can help give relief for some of the pain caused by idiopathic scoliosis. That will help your child to stay active which is important for their general health and well-being.
Adults who had scoliosis as children are more likely to have chronic back pain than people in the general population. Therefore, the most important thing is to detect the scoliosis in the first place, diagnose the cause of the scoliosis and then treat it appropriately.
Scoliosis can run in families. A child who has a parent, brother, or sister with idiopathic scoliosis should have regular check-ups.
4% of children aged 10-14 have detectable scoliosis. 60-80% of those affected are girls. While most cases of childhood and adolescent scoliosis stop progressing once spinal maturity is reached, progression of the curve past spinal maturity is not uncommon.
General Types of Scoliosis
As the spine improperly twists and bends, the nerves emitting between the vertebrae (spinal bones) have the potential for being compressed and irritated. Once irritated, these nerves will lead to abnormal function in the organ that they control.
There are two general types of scoliosis, a structural scoliosis and a functional scoliosis.
The structural type is due to an improperly formed bone. The bone may have been malformed by a birth defect, or may have developed from a fractured bone which healed with an abnormal shape. Since gravity is always pulling down on the body, the structure which is resting on top of the malformed bone may not sit level. This is the beginning of a tilt to the spine.
Functional scoliosis, the most common type, is due to the tilting of an intervertebral disc (the shock absorber) between the vertebrae. The functional scoliosis is usually due to some type of spinal injury. Such an injury may be obvious like a physical trauma, or may not be so obvious, like carrying a heavy book bag over one shoulder.
Specific Types of Scoliosis
Common Physiological Effects of Idiopathic Scoliosis on the Body:
The above is a simplified version of the problems experienced by the person with Idiopathic Scoliosis, but hopefully it has shed some light on the complexity of this disease. Being a multifactoral disease, a multi-faceted approach is required to treat this disease.
Here is a home test for childhood scoliosis (courtesy of Dr. Fred Barge, Chiropractor, from his text “Scoliosis”) that may aid in the early detection of scoliosis. Have the child strip to the waist and observe her/his posture from behind:
If any of the above tests appear positive, then have your child checked by a chiropractor for scoliosis.
Since the abnormal curvature may not be obvious upon inspection of the back, even to the trained eye, an uneven shoulder height or clothes not appearing to hang off the body symmetrically may be the first indication. Also, a complaint of back pain, ache, discomfort or fatigue may be present. However, this does not generally occur until later stages after the spinal ligaments and muscles have been chronically irritated.
While most cases of childhood and adolescent scoliosis stop progressing once spinal maturity is reached, progression of the curve past spinal maturity is not uncommon. If the lateral curvature continues to progress, cardiovascular compromise can result - ultimately leading to severe disability or death.
Scoliosis treatment in the child consists of:
Like regular Dental care to maintain your teeth, it is essential for children to have regular spinal check-ups. The earlier detection of scoliosis, the easier it is to correct. While a scoliosis becomes readily visible in adolescence, with the pubertal growth spurt, it is more easily corrected prior to puberty. The longer you wait to correct a functional scoliosis the more likely it is to become a structural scoliosis. This results because of the constant abnormal force being placed on spinal bones – they remodel, changing their structural shape.
It has been proven that correction started early can speed the healing process, due to a young spine being more responsive to treatment than an order spine. Chiropractic care involves specific adjustments of the spine, as well as rehabilitative exercises. The goal is to eliminate discomfort and prevent progression of the lateral curvature. If the curvature continues to progress, severe spinal deformity can occur resulting in physical disability and cardiovascular compromise.
Chiropractic care maintains the mobility of the joints of the spine and allows the spine to develop normally. Proper treatment,especially if commenced earlier than later, can prevent progression of the curve and may help reduce it. With scoliosis particularly, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
For further information or to schedule a postural and scoliosis assessment for yourself or your child, please contact Dr. Pisarek at Advanced Healthcare - (416) 633-3000.
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I have been a patient of Dr. Pisarek for a few years now. Every morning I have to say "thank you Dr. P.!". Your care and your treatment renew my energy... no more pains in my lower back, knee and foot. With your help I lost 20 pounds and I am keeping it off. I am really grateful to you and your wife Hilda for taking care of me. My retirement got a new meaning, thanks to you.