Chiropractic Care for Scoliosis
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. This condition affects about three to five of every 1,000 people, and is most frequently seen in adolescent girls. Fortunately, most cases of scoliosis are minor and only require careful monitoring by a doctor of chiropractic, like Dr. Ayouby.
For more severe or worsening cases, bracing or even surgery may be necessary. But promising new case studies and research suggest that alternative treatments, including chiropractic adjustments, may eliminate the need for surgery in some severe cases. Read on for details on scoliosis and how chiro-practic can help manage this condition.
What Is Scoliosis?
When viewed from the front on x-ray, a normal spine appears straight. When viewed from the side, it has two S-shaped curves. In scoliosis, the spine curves to the side in one or more places when viewed from the front.
Who Gets Scoliosis?
Scoliosis affects girls twice as often as it affects boys, and usually emerges in adolescence, although it has been seen in younger children and even infants. Scoliosis runs in families, but doctors often don't know the cause. When a cause
can't be identified, scoliosis is called idiopathic.
Adults can develop scolio sis too, but it is often a worsening of an untreated or undiagnosed condition that began in childhood. In other cases, scoliosis may result from a degenerative joint condition in the spine.
Sometimes, an underlying disease that affects the neuromuscular system, a leg-length discrepancy or a birth de-fect may cause scoliosis. Scoliosis can also begin during fetal develop ment. Congenital scoliosis is a type of birth defect
that affects the development of the vertebrae and may occur with other congenital problems, such as heart or kidney abnormalities.
Early detection of scoliosis is vital, since it's important to stop or slow a progressing curve to avoid surgical intervention. The curve generally progresses while a child is still gro wing, and stops once the child reaches skeletal
maturity. During these crucial and high-risk growth years (10 to 14 years), it's vital for youngsters to be regularly screened by a doctor of chiropractic, such as Dr. Ayouby, who is trained to provide accurate and thorough screening for this condition.
Many states also have in -school scoliosis screenings, which school nurses or physical education teachers typically perform. In some cases, other volunteers administer the screenings. However, since these screenings are often performed by people who are not spine experts, or even by people with little to no medical training, they have a high rate of inaccuracy. These screenings also frequently use inaccurate evaluation techniques. As part of one experiment published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), investigators sifted through data on 2,242 subjects who attended kindergarten or first grade in Rochester, Minn. between 1979 and 1982.
All participants underwent annual in-school scoliosis screenings in grades five through nine. A total of 92 children were referred for further evaluation, although only 74 percent of these students received chiropractic or medical follow-up.
Altogether, 27 of the students referred for evaluation were diagnosed with scoliosis b y age 19. However, only five of these subjects were treated for the disorder. The study's authors concluded that in-school scoliosis screening is not effective.
Instead, they stress that parents and healthcare practitioners should monitor youngsters for signs of scoliosis (JAMA 1999; 282:1427-32).
Your child's physician may also screen for scoliosis; however, nothing can replace a screening by Dr. Ayouby.
How Is Scoliosis Treated?
Chiropractors undergo in-depth training in spinal health. Therefore, your doctor of chiropractic should be your first line of defense against scoliosis.
In most cases of minor scoliosis, chiropractors will closely monitor the curve to ensure it isn't worsening or causing any other health problems. Spinal curves are measured in degrees, and curves that measure 25 degrees or less in a patient who is still growing are not considered severe.
For other cases, your chiropractor may recommend a partnership between himself or herself and an orthopedic specialist or other professional, such as a physical therapist. Curves that progress rapidly or are over 30 degrees usually require treatment. If left untreated, severe scoliosis can cause a variety of problems such as: