According to the American Chiropractic Association, scoliosis affects about seven million Americans. If you or your child are one of those people, then you know firsthand how difficult life with scoliosis can be. In addition to chronic pain, you may deal with the daily inconvenience of wearing a brace and worry about whether the disorder will progress. You may wonder: Can a chiropractor help with scoliosis or fix scoliosis to bring you relief?
What Is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is the most common spinal disorder, characterized by an S- or C-shaped curve or curves in the spine. This curvature can make the hips and shoulders look vaguely or severely uneven, and can cause a variety of health issues depending on the extent of the deformity. Scoliosis has no cure, although treatments are available. Symptoms include:
- Uneven hips, waist, or shoulders
- Back and joint pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Limited mobility
There are several kinds of scoliosis in two main categories:
Structural scoliosis. This is the most common category, in which the spine’s structure is damaged due to spinal rotation and curves from side to side.
Nonstructural scoliosis. The second category for scoliosis is much less common and involves spinal curving from side to side while the spine’s structure remains intact. Nonstructural scoliosis is generally caused by inflammation, muscle spasms, and legs of unequal height.
Types of structural scoliosis include:
- Idiopathic scoliosis. By far the most common kind of scoliosis, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons reports that roughly 80% of scoliosis cases are idiopathic (meaning they have no identified cause). The other 20% can be linked to cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and other health issues. Very rarely, it is caused by tumors or spinal lesions.
- Degenerative scoliosis or adult scoliosis. This type of scoliosis can develop as the spinal joints deteriorate with age.
- Neuromuscular or myopathic scoliosis. Muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and other neuromuscular conditions that prevent walking can cause this kind of scoliosis.
- Congenital scoliosis. This rare form of scoliosis is detected in the womb.
Regardless of its category, scoliosis can have a negative impact on self-esteem and quality of life. The current treatments for scoliosis include bracing, surgery, and pain medications.
Can a Chiropractor Help with Scoliosis?
It goes without saying that chiropractic does not offer a cure to scoliosis, but seeing a chiropractor can bring pain relief and increased mobility when incorporated in an overall treatment plan. However, chiropractic does not work well in all situations.
For example, chiropractic treatment might be an excellent option for an adolescent with mild to moderate scoliosis who is experiencing low back pain. It may not be a safe option, on the other hand, for an adult with severe scoliosis who is a candidate for surgery.
There are several factors that must be considered when weighing whether chiropractic can work for you. These include:
- The type of scoliosis you have
- The severity of the disorder
- The degree of spinal curvature
- Any pain or other symptoms you are experiencing
- Any other health conditions you may have
- Whether or not you’ve had surgery
- The cause of the scoliosis, if known
- Your age
- How scoliosis affects your quality of life
It’s important to have a conversation with your doctor before seeing a chiropractor to make sure it’s safe in your particular situation. If it’s safe for you, seeing a chiropractor regularly can improve your quality of life and bring you pain relief.
Chiropractic Treatment for Scoliosis
There are primarily three ways that a chiropractor can help with scoliosis:
Manual adjustments. Chiropractors who are trained to treat scoliosis know how to work with the spine’s twists and curves. Scoliosis-safe manual adjustments and gentle manipulation can relieve pressure on the nervous system, allowing the body to function more smoothly and efficiently as a whole. This release of pressure and tension offers pain relief along with mental benefits such as decreased stress and improved mood.
Massage therapy. When a spine that has scoliosis is correctly adjusted, the body requires a little more energy and effort to adjust to the change. Massage therapy is an excellent way to relax the muscles and help the body readjust. Additionally, it can relax the mind, which can aid in coping with this chronic condition.
Lifestyle advice that promotes wellness. Chiropractors with a strong background in scoliosis treatment can recommend physical therapy, stretches, and other exercises to help strengthen the core, increase mobility, and manage pain without exacerbating the condition.
With the right chiropractor and the right approach, chiropractic offers all natural, drug-free pain relief and increased mobility for scoliosis patients. However, seeing a chiropractor for scoliosis will only be effective if you find a chiropractor who is trained to diagnose and treat the condition. Otherwise, you could end up hurting yourself in the long run.
Patients without scoliosis typically visit a chiropractor to achieve spinal alignment. Their joints need to be put back into place, so to speak. This approach is ineffective for a spine with scoliosis. In fact, if a chiropractor attempts to adjust a scoliosis patient the same way he or she would adjust a patient with a traditionally misaligned spine, the patient could actually be injured and the scoliosis could worsen due to nerve aggravation. Make sure your chiropractor has experience with scoliosis so you can receive the best care possible.
If you have scoliosis and would like to take the next step on your path to pain management and wellness, get in touch with your doctor and a chiropractor to start the conversation. Adding chiropractic care to your scoliosis treatment plan can help you live your best life.
At All Star Chiropractic, our goal is to help our patients recover from back pain, neck pain, lack of mobility, joint issues, range of motion issues, and more—without the use of prescription drugs. Our chiropractors are trained to treat a range of health issues, including scoliosis. We believe in taking a holistic “whole-body” approach to your health. We don’t want to just temporarily fix your pain—we want to determine and treat the root cause so you live an active and pain-free life.
Call one of our locations today to schedule an appointment, or to learn more about how chiropractic care can help you.
Contact a Location Near You