The human spine is an engineering marvel which, although it is very strong, also provides for considerable movement of the entire torso as well as protection of the vital spinal cord.
The spine is engineered with curves in the neck, mid- and low-back. These three curves are directed toward the front of the body, in the case of the neck and low-back, and toward the back of the body in the mid-back. However, the spine can also develop side-to-side curves. These are always abnormal.
The term for any side-to-side curve in the human spine is scoliosis. Although never normal, scoliosis varies in severity from relatively mild all the way to life threatening: When the curve becomes severe in the mid-back it can restrict the normal operations of the heart and lungs.
Scoliosis which has become that severe generally require surgery in which steel rods are inserted alongside either side of the spine and then actually grafted onto the spine with bone chips taken from elsewhere in the person’s body. Fortunately, most scoliosis doesn’t progress that far. As with many conditions affecting the human body, early detection is a key toward easier and more complete scoliosis treatment.
Since scoliosis usually develops during childhood and adolescence — with a higher proportion of young girls affected than young boys — it is critical to screen children early so that correction can begin before the disease has progressed significantly.
Our office is well-suited to perform this screening. Should we suspect scoliosis, we will take x-rays to see the severity of the problem If caught early, scoliosis can often be stopped from progressing further and even reduced with chiropractic adjustments.
Scoliosis treatment consists of chiropractic adjustments and various forms of physical therapy and exercise designed to increase the flexibility of the spine and correct the scoliosis curves. Neurological deficits are also thought to play a role in the process of an individual developing the illness. Specifically, it is thought that children’s spines develop faster than their ability to realize where their bodies are oriented in space.
In other words, their brain doesn’t realize that their spine isn’t straight. We have our patients perform specific exercises to help them develop this sense. Chiropractic adjustments for scoliosis also have been demonstrated to help in this regard.