I love slinkies.
We got one for my 3-year-old daughter for Christmas this year, and she played with it for hours. It “crawled” down the stairs, jumped from hand to hand and came right back to her hand when she threw part of it straight up into the air.
One of the most interesting things about slinkies is the power of the coil.
But have you ever tried to un-coil a slinky?
Trust me. It’s almost impossible.
The coil of a slinky curves from side to side, but it also twists forward and back. If you were to try to uncoil it, you’d have to re-shape the metal by doing two things:
- Removing the curve from side to side
- Untwisting the coil
Scoliosis in the Spine
Scoliosis in the spine acts in a similar way. Instead of natural curves forward and backward, the scoliosis curve makes the spine twist and curve to the left or right. It’s not as exaggerated as a slinky, but a scoliosis curve twists and bends the spine sideways – often causing pain.
The first signs of scoliosis are often visible in adolescence (when a young person is developing into an adult.) At a young age, a child may receive the diagnosis: “idiopathic scoliosis.” Let’s look at exactly what that means:
- Idiopathic: “Too idiotic” for us to understand the cause
- Scoliosis: a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty
What’s missing? The Cause
Too often, this is where the diagnosis stops. Doctors simply say in Greek that “your child has scoliosis, but we don’t really know why.”
We don’t think that the cause of your child’s scoliosis has to stay a mystery.
Some parents (and even a few doctors) may believe that “idiopathic scoliosis” means that no cause can be found, but the spine bends for a reason. The body always has a reason for how it acts or reacts. When doctors treat idiopathic scoliosis without seeking out the cause, they are ruling out the principal of cause and effect.
We believe that knowledgable and caring chiropractors CAN figure out the problem and how to fix it.
Three Possible Causes of Your Child’s Scoliosis
1. Scoliosis Caused by Nerve Stress or Tension
When the spinal cord is strained or tethered is some way, the vertebrae in the spine can coil down into a scoliosis curve. Nerve tension and nerve strain are the mot common cause of scoliosis. If the scoliosis curve happened rather quickly and was diagnosed as “idiopathic” it’s quite possible that a nerve tension or strain is the root cause.
Nerve stress can be caused by
- Tumors or cysts – These can cause tension in the spinal cord causing it to be pulled towards the tail bone.
- One side of the spinal card is pulled tight at birth.
- Sometimes the spinal cord does not grow as quickly or as long as the bones of the spine – leaving a shorter spinal cord as compared to the length of the vertebrae
2. Scoliosis Caused by Structural Problems
- Bones that are not shaped correctly – A half-formed vertebra or a leg that is shorter than the other can cause your pelvis to tilt, and when the pelvis tilts, the whole spine tilts.
- Damage to ligaments – Ligaments stabilize the spine, and when they are weakened or damaged, they may cause bones to tilt – resulting in scoliosis.
3. Scoliosis Caused by the Brain
Some conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy cause a breakdown in the nerves that connect the brain to the muscles. These conditions can make the muscles weak and unable to keep the spine straight.
Kansas City Treatment for Scoliosis Pain
The most-common treatment for scoliosis is careful observation. The vast majority of scoliosis cases are mild and not progressive. Therefore, careful observation along with chiropractic adjustments, exercises and physiotherapy that maintain mobility are all that is required.
Bracing is a secondary treatment for scoliosis and is usually only considered if the scoliosis curve is 25 degrees or larger. If caught early enough – before puberty, bracing can help to “guide” a child’s spine as it grows to develop a more normal curve before he or she reaches skeletal maturity (the time when the skeleton stops growing).
Surgery is only used as a treatment for scoliosis in rare cases when the scoliosis curve may affect vital organs.
The goal of treatment for scoliosis is two-fold
- Reduce Pain – Increasing strength helps to relieve pain and to prevent future pain. Scoliosis treatments that strengthen the back include:
- Chiropractic Adjustments – chiropractic treatment through spinal adjustments helps to keep your joints moving, freeing up any pressure on nerves and eliminating pain
- Physiotherapy – Physiotherapy decreases pain and inflammation that often result when joints are locked up.
- Increase Flexibility – Exercises that increase flexibly and range-of-motion can help people with scoliosis to live normal, happy lives. When done properly, they can help scoliosis patients to stay functional and maintain daily activities.
If you’d like to speak with on of our Kansas City chiropractors about how treatment for scoliosis through chiropractic care my benefit you, give our chiropractic office a call at 913-764-6237.