Many people who live with scoliosis are looking for a treatment option that can improve their quality of life, and reduce the pain that they experience. Chiropractic care is a treatment option that can often do both of those things, without the need for surgery or painkillers.
What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a condition where the spine curves sideways. It usually appears right after the pre-puberty growth spurt and affects 3% of adolescents. Scoliosis is usually mild but it can get more severe over time, and adults who had scoliosis as children are more likely to have chronic back pain.
The symptoms of scoliosis can be quite noticeable and include:
• uneven shoulders/uneven waist
• one shoulder blade more prominent than the other
• one hip higher than the other
The cause of most cases of scoliosis is unknown, but in some cases, it is due to a congenital deformity such as spina bifida or cystic fibrosis.
What is chiropractic care?
Chiropractic care revolves around hands-on manipulation of the spine and joints in order to relieve pain and to increase the range and quality of movement.
The chiropractor will meet with the patient and run tests to come to a diagnosis. If the patient is dealing with a problem that chiropractic care could help with, a treatment plan is devised. This usually involves the use of manual adjustments to the area that is affected, using a controlled and sudden force.
There is often exercise rehabilitation or counseling included in the treatment plan.
How chiropractic care can help with scoliosis
Chiropractic care can be an alternative to surgery for people who are dealing with long-term back pain or disability as a result of scoliosis. It isn't likely to be able to completely reverse the curve in the spine, but it can help to relieve the pain and discomfort that the patient experiences.
Most often, the goal of chiropractic care for scoliosis includes the following:
• promote motion to keep spinal discs healthy
• support the muscles in the back to improve spinal flexibility and stability
• retrain the sensory feedback mechanisms in a way that will help to keep the spine aligned
• improve posture, balance, and equilibrium to reduce strain on the back
• deal with spinal misalignments that are common in scoliosis
Does chiropractic care for scoliosis work?
In one study that looked at the outcomes in 28 adult patients with scoliosis, after chiropractic rehabilitation, there was an improvement in pain scores, Cobb angle (the angle of the curve in the spine), and levels of disability. This was the case immediately after treatment ended and at a follow-up two years later (link).
Surgery is a treatment option for scoliosis and drugs are a treatment option for the chronic back pain that is common in scoliosis patients. Many people do not wish to go down the route of surgery and painkillers. For them, chiropractic care could be a viable treatment option. While it may not reverse the curvature of the spine, chiropractic care can improve patients' quality of life and reduce the pain that they live with. For many people, this is exactly what they are looking for.