A scoliotic curve may be noticed on the surface through tilting shoulders or hips, or in other cases a hump like appearance may be seen at the upper back.
In many cases aches and pains around the back, neck and shoulders will occur, but in others no pain will be felt until degeneration due to uneven pressures on the spine has already occurred.
Chiropractic care can help to treat these curved spines. Research shows that early intervention in scoliosis care greatly improves treatment outcomes and maximizes the chance for curve reduction.
What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a spinal condition in which there is a ‘S’ or ‘C’ shaped curve of the spine.
The prevalence of scoliosis of > 10 degrees in the general population is estimated to be between 2 - 4%. The spinal curvature can occur anywhere between the neck and low back. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of scoliosis, presenting around the onset of puberty and before maturity. This type of scoliosis affects girls more than boys, and in Singapore, 1.4% of girls at 11-12 years of age and 2.2% of girls at 13- 4 years of age have scoliosis.
What are the different types of scoliosis?
There are 4 different types of scoliosis, and the degree of the curve can be mild, moderate, or severe.
- Congenital scoliosis: The spinal curvature is due to a misshapen vertebrae in the spine, already present at birth
- Idiopathic scoliosis: This is the most common form of scoliosis, primarily affecting adolescents. Idiopathic means the cause is unknown.
- Neuromuscular scoliosis: A spinal curvature due to disease or loss of function of nerves and muscles that support the spine. The common causes of this form of scoliosis are neuromuscular diseases such as spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, or cerebral palsy.
- Degenerative scoliosis: This scoliosis occurs later in life due to wear and tear or injury of the joints
What are the symptoms of scoliosis?
- Uneven shoulder height
- Difference in shoulder blade position
- Uneven hip height
- When bending forward, a rib hump is seen on one side of the body
- Leaning to one side when standing
- Clothes does not fit nicely
- Low back pain/ stiffness
- Neck and shoulder pain
What is the cause of scoliosis?
In idiopathic scoliosis, which accounts for up to 80% of cases, the cause is unknown.
How can I prevent scoliosis?
There are no known ways to prevent scoliosis from happening. It is not a result of poor sitting or standing posture, carrying heavy school bags, or a lack of certain vitamins. There are, however, ways to prevent the spinal curve from progressing, and ways to function and feel better with a scoliosis.
How do you diagnose scoliosis? What should I expect for my visit to a chiropractor?
An xray of the spine is used to see how the spine curves and determine the degree of spinal curvature.
At One Spine, in addition to analysing your x-ray, we take detailed history of your health and perform an assessment that will give us valuable information about how your body is balanced and structured. We then create a care plan to help reduce your pain, prevent further progression and degeneration of the spine.
How will scoliosis affect me or my child?
Although mild scoliosis is painless in most people, some may experience pain and discomfort in the neck, shoulder, and back. In severe cases, symptoms like breathing difficulty may arise as the lungs become constricted by the spinal curvature. This can be distressing, and can affect quality of life. There is also the psychosocial aspect of having a scoliosis. Scoliosis can change outward appearance and body shape, and may affect self-esteem of a growing child. It is important to understand what scoliosis is, and what can be done, so that you can take charge of your spinal health. With the right support and care, most children or adults can go on to lead healthy and active lifestyles.
What are the treatments available for scoliosis?
Treatment for scoliosis depends on age, degree of curve, and the risk of progression. Early conservative treatment with the goal of preventing progression of curve and improving quality of life usually yields favourable results. Common conservative treatments for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis include bracing, exercise, and chiropractic care.
For individuals with progressing curves between 25° and 50°, bracing may be indicated. The goal of bracing is to prevent the curve from worsening, it does not correct or improve the curve. Examples of braces are the Milwaukee brace and Boston brace. For more severe cases of scoliosis, treatment options include surgery to correct spinal alignment.
How can chiropractic help?
A curve in the spine poses stress and excessive loading on certain structures of the spine and can lead to degeneration. This can result in pain or discomfort. Later in life, these degenerative changes can also increase the spinal curvature by an average of 15 degrees.
The goal of chiropractic care is to:
- Prevent progression of the curve
- Slow down wear and tear of the spine
- Improve function of your spine and nervous system
- Reduce pain and discomfort in the neck, shoulders, or low back
Contact us online or call One Spine at +65 6259 9463.
M.W Morningstar, D Woggon, D Lawrence. BMC Musculoskeletal disorders, 5:32 September, 2004. Scoliosis treatment using a combination of manipulative and rehabilitative therapy; a retrospective case series.