At AICA Atlanta, one of the conditions we frequently see in our office is scoliosis.
While children are the largest groups affected by this condition, adults can suffer as well.
Find out what else you need to know about this common condition and how chiropractic treatment can help.
What Is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a spinal disorder commonly defined as a horizontal curvature (or curvatures) of the spine.
The curves often appear C-shaped or S-shaped.
The most common form of this condition is idiopathic, which accounts for approximately 80 percent of scoliosis cases.
Unfortunately, idiopathic means “without known cause,” meaning experts don’t always know why this condition occurs.
Other forms of this condition are:
- Congenital Curve (meaning you had this issue at birth)
- Myopathic Deformity (meaning the muscles don’t function properly)
- Paralytic Curve (meaning the muscles don’t work)
- Secondary (caused by an underlying condition, such as osteomalacia, osteoporosis or degeneration)
Who Is Affected?
Scoliosis affects somewhere between 6 and 9 million people—about two to three percent of the population—in the United States.
Of those afflicted with the disorder, children between the ages of 10 and 15 are the largest age group, and girls are often more affected than boys.
While it is common in this age and gender group, there is a growing population of adults being diagnosed with scoliosis.
What Causes Scoliosis?
As noted above, most cases of scoliosis are without an established or identifiable cause.
Some cases, such as congenital scoliosis, do have a known cause.
It is thought that with congenital scoliosis, the curves are due to abnormally formed vertebrae in the womb.
What Are The Signs and Symptoms?
Those who have scoliosis typically don’t experience back pain, so it’s important to look for physical signs such as:
- A lower back hump (lumbar prominence) or a rib hump (rib prominence) when bending forward
- One hip may appear higher than its counterpart
- A shoulder blade that protrudes farther than the other or uneven shoulders when standing
The Cobb Method
The primary method of determining the presence of scoliosis of the spine is the measurement of the curve using the Cobb method.
A positive diagnosis is indicated by a curve greater than 10 degrees.
A curve greater than 25 degrees is considered serious. And a curve exceeding 45 degrees is considered severe.
How Is Scoliosis Diagnosed?
Scoliosis can be diagnosed using X-rays of the spine, a physical examination and medical and family history.
Be sure to be examined by a professional, as the signs of scoliosis are subtle and can easily be missed.
What Are The Treatment Options?
There are several options for treatment, such as chiropractic, observation, and bracing.
Studies have shown that active chiropractic treatment has improved the Cobb angle and pain scores.
At our Atlanta office, we offer an adult brace that helps to improve posture, relieve pain, reduce pressure, and more.
Experts agree that scoliosis is best treated when found in its earliest stages—so if you suspect scoliosis or are unsure, it is best to schedule an examination right away.