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Anatomy of scoliosis

The word “scoliosis” is a descriptive term to describe an abnormal curve or curves in the human spine. An abnormal curve is more correctly referred to as a “curvature”. Before we can define a spinal curvature as “scoliosis”, we need to determine the Cobb angle. This is a measurement of the lateral curvature and must exceed 10 degrees to diagnose and use the word “scoliosis”. There are many E.G. some are congenital, ideopathic, juvenile, hemi vertabrae, degenerative etc.

child with scoliosis

Sub categories describing the curvature E.G. S, double S, or C curvature are some. Mild non-progressive scoliosis may not cause any specific symptom pattern, and many of these people function quite normally. An age-related osteoporotic type scoliosis is more devastating as the internal organs are cramped and literally smothered in their day to day function, and is progressive.

Diagnosis of scoliosis

To determine if your child has scoliosis simply ask them to lean forward as if touching their toes and observe the position of their spine. A normal spine will demonstrate a fairly straight line down their back. A scoliosis will show an obvious deviation in the upper or lower back to one side. If you have any doubt to what you are observing then ask your doctor of Chiropractic or your GP.

Remember Chiropractors are very familiar with spinal conditions and well trained in differential diagnosis in spinal conditions. Aged scoliosis is typically associated with osteoporosis and is quite obvious on spinal x rays and a bone density scan to determine the health of the bone matrix itself.

Chiropractic treatment and management of scoliosis

Babies and children should be checked and spinal treatment commenced at an early age. Gentle adjusting techniques designed specifically for babies and children are used safely in our practice. Spinal segments can be kept free and the spine balanced so the infant grows into childhood, adolescence, and adulthood in their optimal functioning condition, even if a congenital scoliosis is identified. A slightly bent spine, a slight curvature, is not going to necessarily cause a problem as long as the nervous system and spinal segments are free to adapt under the control of the central nervous system (the purpose of Chiropractic adjustments), and appropriate weight-bearing exercise, good nutrition is maintained naturally.
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