What is Scoliosis?
When looking at your spine from the front is should be straight. Any curvature of the spine is referred to as scoliosis.
What are the signs & symptoms of scoliosis?
Symptoms can range from back pain, neck pain, muscle tightness and headaches. But very commonly scoliosis may have NO symptoms.
The signs of scoliosis can been seen by looking at posture. Look for things such as:
- One shoulder is higher than the other
- One shoulder blade sticks out more than the other
- One side of the rib cage appears higher than the other
- One hip appears higher or more prominent than the other
- The waist appears uneven
- The body tilts to one side
- One leg may appear shorter than the other
Simple, painless and quick spinal screenings can identify early stages of Scoliosis in children. Scoliosis is first diagnosed as part of a regular spinal check-up. The Adam’s Forward Bend Test is routinely used to screen for scoliosis. The test involves you bending forward with arms stretched downward toward the floor and knees straight, while being observed by your chiropractor. From this angle it is easy to see scoliosis symptoms which result in asymmetry in the spine or torso.
At The Back Dr we will take into account your medical history and perform a physical examination which includes the forward bend test. X-rays of the spine in various postures will be taken to confirm the scoliosis diagnosis and assess the magnitude of the curvature in the spine and how far it has progressed.
The “Cobb method” is a measuring technique that will be used to assess the degree of the curvature. The type of treatment will be determined by the degree of the spinal curve. There are also some rare instances where an MRI may be a necessary as a diagnostic tool for Scoliosis.
With curves which are 10 degrees or less, monitoring by your health professional with periodic physical examinations and X-rays will track the progress of the curvature over time to see if it worsens. If the curvature worsens, then you may be referred for one of the other treatment options below.
With curves less than 30 degrees, and for any patients where skeletal growth has stopped, chiropractic care may be used to address any bio-mechanical faults such as differences in leg length or pronation (where the leg rolls in or rolls out when you walk).
Chiropractic adjustment is designed to improve movement and posture which can help prevent further curvature progression. Regular chiropractic care can also reduce back pain that many adults with Scoliosis experience. When the curve is greater than 30 degrees and the young person is still growing, referral for back bracing or traction with our specialised CBP equipment is recommended.
With curves that are between 20 and 40 degrees and where the young person still has at least 18 months of growth, bracing may be used. A traditional brace is worn for between 16 and 20 hours per day until the young person has stopped growing.
At The Back Dr we offer an alternative to traditional bracing with our specialised CBP traction devices which apply a greater pressure for a short period of time to the spine to achieve the same result as bracing. This means that your young person can come in to the clinic for treatments on a regular basis and does need to experience the self-consciousness and embarrassment of wearing a brace. Many young people refuse to wear a brace for this reason, so our specialised traction treatment for Scoliosis offers an effective alternative.
With curves that are 40 degrees or greater and where the young person is still growing, referral to an orthopaedic surgeon is recommended. Surgery attempts to straighten the Scoliotic part of the spine and fuse it with using anchors connected to metal rods.
These anchors and rods act as an internal splint. Surgery is generally seen as an option only for those most severe cases as it is much more invasive and associated with greater risk of complications.