Scoliosis is a progressive, lateral curvature of the spine. When viewed from the side, the spine should have curves. But when viewed from the front, the spine should be straight.
The most commonly found type of scoliosis is called “adolescent idiopathic scoliosis”. Idiopathic means “of unknown origin”. But recent research into the cause of scoliosis seems to suggest that there is often a genetic factor which affects the control of the growth of the spine. Scoliosis can affect both children and adults. In children it can be a more serious condition because it can rapidly progress as the child grows.
Scoliosis is usually first seen in children between the ages of 10 and 15. However, it can occur in younger children aged 3 to 10 years (juvenile scoliosis) and in babies (infantile scoliosis). Scoliosis can also occur in adults with no previous history, due to spinal degeneration and advancing age. This is called (De Novo scoliosis).
The effects of scoliosis include: poor posture, shoulder humping, muscle weakness, and pain. In severe cases scoliosis can lead to heart and lung problems. If scoliosis is detected and treated early, patients can avoid these symptoms in many cases. If left untreated, scoliosis can sometimes require surgery.
Treatment of Scoliosis
Conservative scoliosis treatments have the best result when the condition is detected early and treated with appropriate and proven methods. Your chiropractor is trained to detect the early signs of scoliosis and refer for an x-ray if indicated, which is the only reliable way to detect measure scoliosis.
Research into scoliosis treatment methods is always advancing. New methods of bracing have been developed which are reducing the frequency of spinal surgical fixation. If a significant scoliosis is detected in a patient at Mawson Lakes Chiropractic, I generally refer to a Scolicare clinic (www.scolicare.com.au) where scoliosis specialists work in consultation with orthopaedic surgeons in Adelaide such as Dr Mike Selby at the Adelaide Spine Clinic (www.spine.com.au)
The treatment program and bracing requires a commitment by the patient and their family, but if undertaken enthusiastically it has the potential to prevent the need for much more drastic treatments later on.