Updated: Feb 19
Living with adult scoliosis: what you need to know
What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine due to idiopathic "no known cause." Adult Scoliosis is a continuation of adolescent Scoliosis and is mostly a genetic malformation, Scoliosis by definition, is an abnormal curvature of the spine more than 10 degrees. There are two categories of Scoliosis: Functional and Structural. Functional Scoliosis which is usually due to muscle structure imbalances, and Structural, which is caused by bone structure.
An excellent clinician can distinguish between the two by proper examination.
An individual with Scoliosis has a lateral side curve in addition to the standard three curves of the spine. This painful side to side curvature may not be detectable with naked eyes, usually manifest as a have uneven shoulder, tilted waists, or detectable hip height differences.
What are the degrees of Scoliosis?
Any abnormal curvature more significant than 10 degrees is considered Scoliosis. Curves in ranges between 20-40 are considered moderate, and it usually gets monitored and treated with therapies, including Chiropractic care and or physiotherapy.
Chiropractic adjustments combined with other therapies, including ongoing care and proper exercise as well as the use of a supportive brace, can help reduce pain, improve quality of life.
What is adult Scoliosis?
Adult Scoliosis is typically a continuation of adolescent Scoliosis, which is commonly diagnosed during teenage years. Usually, these young patients are diagnosed with Idiopathic Adolescent Scoliosis (IAP). There are cases where adults can develop Scoliosis. However, the vast majority have had Scoliosis for much of their life.
Another categorization of Scoliosis divides them into primary and secondary Scoliosis. Secondary Scoliosis is caused by degeneration of the spine, mainly due to osteoporosis, and Osteomalacia that occurs in older adults. The role of Chiropractic at this stage is to inform patients to move in pain-free ranges of motion or how to strengthen and adequately stretched the spine to maintain a pain-free and active lifestyle. Chiropractic care can not cure, correct, or reverse the Scoliosis. Our job is mainly to educate and inform patients on how to take care of themselves by active care and by working on the muscles and joints that are stiff.
Yes, Chiropractors utilize different techniques for adjusting, often using gentle tools and methods like the Activator Method (a small device that allows the chiropractor to use a minimized amount of force for an adjustment). These alternative adjustments can achieve the same benefits as "typical" adjustments performed on patients without Scoliosis. Ask your chiropractor if he or she has experience treating a patient who has a Harrington rod or spinal surgery, and discloses any information regarding your operation before treatment.
At a chiropractic evaluation, you should expect to:
Discuss family and health history
Referral for X-rays of your spine if necessary
Receive an individualized treatment plan tied to specific goals
Breathing exercises to help open up the spine.
Treatment includes: 1- Activation and lengthen of proper muscles of the spine.
2- Correction of Vertebral rotation using breathing technique.
3- Elongation of the spine,
4- Restoration of the front to back curvature.
5- Improve activities of daily living to improve posture and over all health.