June is the official month of Scoliosis Awareness. It’s time to speak up about your experiences so we can encourage others to screen for scoliosis. Early detection of abnormal curvature of the spine is key to preventing serious complications. By encouraging others to screen and highlighting educational resources, we can prevent and correct the advancement of scoliosis in our communities.
“Most of the time scoliosis symptoms are mild, and in fact, many people are completely unaware they have scoliosis,” said Dr. Seth Smith, Chiropractic Physician at The Medical Group of South Florida. “They may be aware of a visual change that they see in their shoulder or their hips, which will appear elevated on one side. Scoliosis is a progressive disease, in the sense that the curvature will get worse with age or degenerative changes. It can trigger pains in the back, often to do with imbalances in the hips. But in more extreme and rare cases, it can cause breathing or even cardiac problems.”
How Can Chiropractic Care Help Those with Scoliosis?
Chiropractic care can be a great way to manage and relieve pain and discomfort caused by scoliosis. Routine chiropractic care provides patients with scoliosis treatment that’s a safe, non-invasive, non-addictive alternative to prescription medications or over-the-counter pain medications, which are commonly prescribed to patients to help them manage their pain.
Chiropractors deliver a gentle, non-invasive, non-addictive therapy, known as a chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractic adjustments reduce joint restrictions or misalignments in the spine and other joints in the body in an effort to reduce inflammation and improve the function of both the affected joint and nervous system. By increasing joint mobility and improving your nervous system function and spinal health, your body has the ability to better manage symptoms caused by scoliosis.
What are scoliosis symptoms and signs?
The most common symptom of scoliosis is an abnormal curve of the spine. Often this is a mild change and may be first noticed by a friend or family member or physician doing a routine screening. Those affected may notice that their clothes do not fit as they did previously, they may notice an uneven waist or that pant legs are longer on one side than the other.
Scoliosis may cause the head to appear off-center, leaning to one side, or notice one hip or shoulder to be higher than the opposite side. Someone may have a more obvious curve on one side of the rib cage on their back from twisting of the vertebrae and ribs. If the scoliosis is more severe, it can make it more difficult for the heart and lungs to work properly. This can even cause shortness of breath and chest pain.
In most cases, scoliosis is not painful, but there are certain types of scoliosis that can cause back pain, rib pain, neck pain, muscle spasms, and abdominal pain. Additionally, there are other causes of these nonspecific pains, which a doctor will want to look for as well to rule out other diseases.
What tests are used to diagnose scoliosis?
If someone thinks he or she has scoliosis, see your doctor for an examination. Your doctor will ask questions, including if there is any family history of scoliosis, or if there has been any pain, weakness, or other medical problems.
The physical examination involves looking at the curve of the spine from the sides, front, and back. The patient will be asked to undress from the waist up to better see any abnormal curves, physical deformities, or uneven waist. The patient will then bend over trying to touch their toes. This position can make the curve more obvious. Your doctor will also look at the symmetry of the body to see if the hips and shoulders are at the same height, leaning to one side, or if there is sideways curvature.
If your doctor believes you have scoliosis, you may obtain X-rays of the back. If X-rays are obtained, they can make measurements from them to determine how large a spinal curve is present. This can help decide what treatment, if any, is necessary. Measurements from future visits can be compared to see if the curve is getting worse. Also, if there are any changes in the function of the nerves, they may order other imaging tests of your spine, including an MRI or CT scan to look more closely at the bones and nerves of the spine.
We are here for you
As chronic pain continues to rise within the US healthcare system, chiropractors utilize proven methods to reduce pain and disability without medications and surgery. These are a few primary reasons that make chiropractic the undeniable best choice for managing pain and improving overall function. From spinal wellness to injury recovery, our chiropractic team has your back.
Both chiropractic care and massage therapy are tools that work in conjunction with each other as well as your existing treatment plans. By removing the obstacles of misaligned joints, stretched muscles, and compressed discs, a chiropractor can maximize your well-being without drugs or surgery.
Want to experience it for yourself? Visit us at The Medical Group of South Florida, and talk to Dr. Seth Smith, Dr. James Perkins, or Dr. Paula Newmark about developing a treatment plan that’s individually tailored to you. Call 561-622-6111 today or visit our website to make an appointment.