Scoliosis and Chiropractic Treatment: What Should I Expect?

Scoliosis is a condition characterized by the sideways curvature of a person's spine, causing pain and stiffness. The cause of spine scoliosis is unknown, but studies have shown that the condition is more common in females and usually starts in childhood. If detected at an early age, a scoliosis chiropractic treatment program may help in preventing scoliosis from progressing in some cases and becoming worse that may lead to adult scoliosis. Often, the measured degree(s) of the scoliotic curvature can be improved over time by following a prescribed chiropractic treatment program as seen in the following examples:

According to the American Chiropractic Association, there are generally three treatment options for scoliosis—careful observation, bracing as demonstrated to the right, and surgery. Careful observation is the most common “treatment,” as most mild scoliosis' do not progress and cause few, if any, physical problems. Bracing is generally reserved for children who have not reached skeletal maturity (the time when the skeleton stops growing), and who have curves between 25 and 45 degrees. Surgery, when all else has failed, is generally used in the few cases where the curves are greater than 45 degrees and progressive, and/or when the scoliosis may affect the function of the heart, lungs, or other vital organs.

However, in treating scoliosis, chiropractors generally are pro-active and do not adopt a "wait-and-see" attitude to see if the scoliosis progressively worsens beyond a point of "no return". Chiropractors use different therapies in for each patient, depending on the severity of the condition. The primary method of chiropractic treatment involves the adjustment and mobilizations of the spine and joints. Chiropractors also use other therapies to support the main treatment. It involves several treatment modalities designed in helping the patient's body try to heal itself, allowing the patient to return to his or her pain-free life. Here are some of the therapies your chiropractor may ask you to follow:

Scoliosis physical therapy: When it comes to therapeutic exercises, the chiropractors usually prescribe several exercises to strengthen the neck, back and extremities of patients. Not only can these exercises prevent injuries, muscle deterioration and pain, it also promotes healthy joints as well as increased stability, strength and range of motion. Since these exercises are not the typical ones you do at the gym, your chiropractor will supervise you while exercising until you are able to do them on your own. In addition to exercises, therapeutic stretching can also be added into the regimen to prevent scar tissue formation, particularly after an injury.

Physiotherapy modalities: Chiropractors use physiotherapy in reducing pain and improving circulation for patients with postural scoliosis and other problems that affects the back, neck and extremities. It involves several therapies, such as: muscle stimulation, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS), therapeutic ultrasound, and ice/heat therapy.

Lifestyle changes: Chiropractors usually consult their patients about certain lifestyle choices, such as poor diet, smoking, lack of exercise, excessive mental stress, poor posture, improper lifting, excessive alcohol consumption and over-reliance on drugs. These lifestyle choices and habits often lead to other health problems and may reduce the effectiveness of chiropractic treatments.

Changes to diet and nutrition: Just like changing some lifestyle habits and choices, a chiropractor may also advice you about diet and nutrition, while designing a nutritional program based on your personal needs.

Most people with scoliosis lead normal, happy, and productive lives. Physical activity including exercise is generally well-tolerated and should be encouraged in most cases.

Call Dr. Pisarek at Advanced Healthcare - (416) 633-3000 for a postural and scoliosis assessment for yourself or your child to find out the options to help with the condition of scoliosis.

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