Scoliosis, an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine, primarily affects girls between the ages of 8 and 18. It will often onset with what appears to be a postural distortion: one shoulder higher than the other or the torso shifted or twisted to one side. However, if it is allowed to advance it can become a permanent deformity and may interfere with the function of vital organs such as the lungs and heart.
The Three Reported Causes of Scoliosis
- Congenital: if multiple family members are affected this is often time attributed to a genetic predisposition
- Habitual: taking part in activities that are asymetrical such as carrying a school bag on one shoulder.
- Idiopathic: When the doctors shrug their shoulders and say, “We have no idea!” This literally means the cause is unknown.
Regardless of what the cause may be the sooner it is identified the more likely a solution or plan for managing the condition can be implemented the better the long term outcome will be.
The Obvious Warnings
As humans when we look at one another we most often focus on the features of the face. This is also true when we look at ourselves in the mirror. It is very important as a parent to also be alert to your childrens posture. Some of the most obvious postural warnings to see include: their head tilting to one side consistently, a high shoulder or low hip may make clothes fit improperly or uneven tread wearing on the soles of the shoes. Teens that report regular bouts of back and leg pain should never be dismissed as “growing pains” as this can also be an early warning sign.
What are the Options if Your Child has Scoliosis?
Most parent start by using the “wait and see what happens” approach. With many health conditions such as a cold or a flu this can be the best approach. However, if the type of scoliosis a child has is progressive allowing it to “run its course” will simply allow the condition to worsen. In severe cases this could ultimately lead to unsightly bracing or even surgery that attaches steel rods to the spine to force it into a straighter position.
Chiropracic: The Natural Approach
A schedule of specific chiropractic adjustments combined with exercises designed to improve posture may help to improve the function and structure of the spine. Improving the strength and condition of the postural muscles may improve the overall condition of the spine. Bring your child in so we can discuss your concerns and explore the possibilities.
FAQs on Scoliosis:
Isn’t a certain amount of sideways curvature normal?
Any sideways curvature of the spine is considered abnormal. From the back or front, the spine should appear straight and be centered and balanced. When scoliosis is present, there are usually two curves. A primary curve in one direction and a compensatory curve in the opposite direction.
Is scoliosis related to a calcium deficiency?
No. However, there are a growing number of people who believe uncorrected spinal damage from the birth process may be involved while others theorize that “early walkers” may prematurely interrupt the crawling stage that is essential for proper spinal development.
Can heavy backpacks or school bags cause scoliosis?
This is a significant concern for many parents. However, there is very little evidence that would suggest that the heavy bags would be the cause of scoliosis but it may be a contributing factor to the progression of the condition. Be sure that your children use both shoulder straps on their back-packs so the weight is evenly distributed. Weigh their bag and avoid it exceed 10% -15% of their body weight.
For Your Health,
Dr. Joseph Gambardella, Dr. Todd Brown and Dr. Benjamin Erb