The spine consists of three curves—not just one. These are located in the cervical spine (neck region), which curves slightly inward, the thoracic spine (along the ribs), which curves outward, and the lumbar spine (lower back), which also curves inward. The curves of the spine can be overemphasized in any plane, which can lead to pain and deformities, as well as neurological dysfunction. While some abnormal curves require treatment, others are asymptomatic. In scoliosis, the spine is curved laterally (sideways), which can cause physical deformities if left untreated. The condition is most common in children, and the cause is still largely unknown.
What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a condition of the spine characterized by a lateral (sideways) curvature of the spine. Most cases of scoliosis are mild, but some curves worsen if the condition is not properly addressed. Severe scoliosis can be disabling. An especially severe spinal curve can reduce the amount of space within the chest, making it difficult for the vital organs, such as the lungs, to properly function. Individuals with mild scoliosis may be closely monitored (usually with X-rays) to see if the curve is getting worse. In many cases, no treatment is necessary. To stop the curve from worsening, some people may need to wear a brace.
What causes Scoliosis?
Although scoliosis has been studied for decades, the underlying cause is still not well understood. Some types of scoliosis have a cause that is directly identifiable, such as neuromuscular scoliosis. Neuromuscular scoliosis is typically caused as a direct result (sequelae) of muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy. In cases of congenital scoliosis, this can arise due to a failure of the bones properly forming. And due to degeneration of the spinal discs, degenerative scoliosis can occur in late adulthood. In addition, traumatic scoliosis occurs as a result of an accident or surgery. However, these types of scoliosis make up less than a fifth of diagnosed scoliosis cases. The vast majority (>80%) of scoliosis cases are termed idiopathic, which means they do not have an identifiable cause.
What are the symptoms of scoliosis?
Scoliosis can cause a wide range of symptoms, some more severe than others. These include:
- Mid-to-lower back pain and stiffness
- Curved posture
- Difficulty sitting or standing
- Difficulty walking from loss of muscle coordination
- Leaning towards one side
- Nerve damage, which results in numbness, weakness, and pain in the lower extremities
- Protruding rib
- Reduction in height due to curved spine
- Shortness of breath and fatigue
- Spinal stiffness
Do chiropractic adjustments help scoliosis?
Chiropractic adjustments certainly have the potential to improve scoliosis. Traditionally, chiropractors seek to improve the mobility of joints. However, with scoliosis, joint mobility is not the foremost issue; it is the abnormal location of the joints. Treating scoliosis with a traditional chiropractic approach can actually lead to the scoliosis worsening over time if more pressure is placed on the spinal joints, which leads to irritation of the surrounding nerves. First and foremost, the joints of the spine need to be repositioned, but to produce any long term benefit, there is much more that needs to accompany this repositioning. Muscles need to be relaxed and the brain needs to be retrained to use the muscles and spinal joints differently than what it is used to. This, however, is well understood by the chiropractors at Hoboken Integrated Healthcare, who practice the utmost care when treating scoliosis. They can implement these practices in a safe and effective way that eliminates the risk of worsening the condition and focuses on straightening the spine and strengthening the joints of the back.
If you have scoliosis, trust the professionals at Hoboken Integrated Healthcare to provide you with a higher level of care. Our kind and compassionate professionals have a deep understanding of the back and its anatomy, and they use this knowledge to improve patients’ conditions for a better quality of life. Call us today or book an appointment, or visit our clinic conveniently located at 90 Hudson St, Hoboken, NJ 07030. We look forward to serving you! We serve the surrounding areas of Hoboken NJ, Jersey City NJ, Union City NJ, Secaucus NJ, Newark NJ, and North Bergen NJ.