The Curvature of the Spine
Scoliosis affects from 2 to 5% of the population and usually begins between ages 10 and 12 years. Because it causes no symptoms in its early stages, it is often not obvious to the child who has it. However, because it can cause serious complications if it is allowed to progress or increase, it should be detected early when treatment is the least difficult and the most successful. All children 10 to 12 years old should be examined for scoliosis.
At present, the exact cause of scoliosis is not known. It appears to occur when a child begins to grow quickly in height and the body’s balance or straightening mechanism develops too slowly. At this critical time during growth, the spinal balancing or straightening mechanisms just seem to be overwhelmed in some children.
The treatment of scoliosis has involved a “wait and see” policy because few early treatment options have been available. In the later stages, spinal bracing and surgery are the two common treatments. Chiropractic treatment, however, offers a good alternative in the earliest stages of scoliosis when the disorder is most correctable. Many cases can be stabilized avoiding the need for bracing or surgery.
Indications that scoliosis may be developing are uneven heights of the shoulders, unevenness of the back surface from side to side, or unevenness of the ribs in the front or on the side. All children should have a periodic screening examination for scoliosis, particularly if any of the above indications are observed.
Adult scoliosis presents a unique problem. Perhaps the most common difficulty adults face with scoliosis is that of back pain. It is both extremely common and difficult to treat in adults. Chiropractic manipulation has been shown to be one of the most effective treatments for back pain. It may offer ongoing relief for the disabling back pain that can occur in adults with scoliosis.
Early detection and treatment of scoliosis is the best way to control this problem preventing the need for more drastic treatments in many cases.