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Scoliosis of the Spine

Spine Health: What is Scoliosis

The term scoliosis comes from the Greek language describing a twisted or crooked spine. It is defined as a spine that curves to the side. The normal spine should be straight up the middle of the back. Depending on the amount of bending of the spine to the side, scoliosis can compress some of your internal organs such as the heart and lungs. What causes scoliosis?

Scoliosis can be cause by trauma, sickness (disease), birth defect, and most commonly idiopathic (unknown) scoliosis. Trauma such as a back or leg injury can cause scoliosis. Scoliosis can also be caused by a sickness such as cancer, muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy. Birth defects of the spine such as malformed spinal vertebra or pelvis can also cause scoliosis at birth. The most common form of scoliosis is idiopathic scoliosis. This type is thought to be passed on by a mother or paternal grandmother. Girls are ten times more likely to develop idiopathic scoliosis. Idiopathic scoliosis is a slow process that starts around 10 years of age and will end at when growth has stopped. Idiopathic scoliosis has two types.

What are the types of scoliosis?

Scoliosis can be described as two types. These are simple and rotatory scoliosis. Simple scoliosis is a side bending of the spine without any twisting of the vertebra. This type is easier to treat and has a better treatment potential. Rotatory scoliosis is a much more complex curvature of the spine. In this type of scoliosis along with side bending of the spine, there is also a twisting of the vertebra either into or away from the bend. Rotatory scoliosis can cause many more structural misalignments of the skeleton, such as with the pelvis, hips, shoulder blades, rib cage and shoulders.

How do I know if I have scoliosis?

Some of the signs and symptoms of scoliosis are back pain, fatigue, uneven shoulders and hips, and shoulder blade differences with shoulder blade on one side sticking out. In severe cases, breathing heart and digestive problems can occur due the compression of the internal organs. To determine if you have a scoliosis have a friend to look at your back to see if your spine bends and you shoulders, hips and shoulder blades are uneven. If you see any signs or symptoms of scoliosis or have any concerns see your healthcare practitioner for the correct diagnosis.

What are scoliosis symptoms and warning signs?

  • The person's hips are unlevel. One hip is higher than the other, or is tilted unevenly.

  • The shoulders are of different heights. One seems lower than the other.

  • One shoulder blade sticks out more than the other or protrudes unevenly.

  • The waist appears uneven or the trunk is not centered.

  • One side of the rib cage is more prominent.

  • The entire body doesn't appear to be centered at midline.

  • One arm appears to hang lower than the other.

  • When lying down, one leg seems shorter than the other.


What are the treatments for scoliosis?


Scoliosis can be treated with chiropractic adjustment, physical therapy, exercise and stretching and in some cases spinal support bracing. The last and most invasive treatment is surgery, which is has a considerable amount of added risk such as anesthesia, infection, surgical error and long term consequences. The least invasive treatment is always performed first and regular checkups are necessary to maintain if treatment is working and to reach treatment goals.

Scoliosis is mostly seen by pediatricians, chiropractors and school screenings due to the age of the person seen with it. If you parent of a child with scoliosis or you suspect that your child might have scoliosis, it is important to seek professional care as soon as possible. The “watch and wait” scenario will only allow the scoliosis to worsen and will make treating it much harder in the future. Imaging such as x-rays is often necessary to monitor the progression of this spine condition.

Spine examination for scoliosis
Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

Did you know that 2 to 4 percent of teens have Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis? Most of these teens don't realize they have this spine condition.

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis is much more common in females than males. Scoliosis can begin with hormonal changes at the onset of puberty. Sometimes scoliosis can begin to affect children at 10 years of age.

It is very important to notice the warning signs of scoliosis in a young person as soon as possible. With early detection, comes many more options for treatment. Although surgery is sometimes necessary in advanced cases, if scoliosis is detected soon enough, chiropractic treatment can oftentimes slow or halt the progression of Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis.

A chiropractor's objective is to stop the progression of scoliosis until the young person's bones ossify (become completely hardened) around age 18. At this time the curvature in the spine will stop advancing. Our Flagler Beach Chiropractic team of doctors provide a variety of safe and effective treatments designed to keep the backbone as straight as possible.

​Adults with Scoliosis

Adults who have scoliosis are sometimes more prone to back pain, neck pain, and hip pain, depending on the location of their scoliosis and how severe the curve in their spine is. Adults with scoliosis often have one leg shorter than the other, which affects the way they stand and walk, and can leave them more prone to back strain and injury. People with spine curvatures sometimes require massage therapy and chiropractic treatment more often than those without scoliosis.

Our chiropractors have been helping patients in Palm Coast, Bunnell, Ormond Beach and Flagler Beach with their scoliosis problems since 2002.


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