June is National Scoliosis Awereness Month

June is National Scoliosis Awareness Month

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A GUIDE TO CHIROPRACTIC AND SCOLIOSIS

At The Healing Touch Chiropractic in Midtown, Sacramento, We’re Celebrating National Scoliosis Awareness Month

National Scoliosis Awareness Month takes place yearly in June with the goal of highlighting the growing need for education, early detection and awareness to the public about scoliosis and its prevalence within the community.  To help spread awareness about this common condition and how Chiropractic can help, in this newsletter we’re going to discuss:

  • What is scoliosis?
  • How is scoliosis diagnosed?
  • What are the common signs and symptoms of scoliosis?
  • How can Chiropractic help a patient with scoliosis?

1. WHAT IS SCOLIOSIS?

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine when viewed from the FRONT/BACK.  This can be a little confusing because when looking from the SIDE the spine is supposed to be very curvy (a topic we will explore in another newsletter).  Let’s use some examples of X-Rays taken here in our Midtown, Sacramento office.

The image at the top is a pair of digital X-Ray images taken in our office viewing the spine from behind as if the patient was facing away from us, looking at a wall.  The image on the LEFT represents a normal straight spine.  Each vertebra stacks up on top of the other, creating a healthy “pillar” like appearance.  The picture on the RIGHT represents a patient with a scoliosis with abnormal curvature both in the lower spine (lumbar scoliosis) and in the upper spine (thoracic scoliosis).

***BONUS***:  While the patient on the LEFT does have a STRAIGHT spine, can you find another part of their body that is clearly out-of-alignment? Scroll to the bottom for the answer

2. HOW IS A SCOLIOSIS DIAGNOSED?

Doctors of Chiropractic have special training in diagnosing AND treating patients with scoliosis.  Diagnosing scoliosis generally starts with a VISUAL INSPECTION where we look for clues that a scoliosis may be present.  Clues such as a high shoulder on one side, a high hip on one side, and sometimes an obvious “hump” on one side of the ribcage compared to the other can be clues that a scoliosis may be present and further testing is appropriate.

Once upon a time, scoliosis screenings were a standard procedure in school.  Many of you may remember visiting the school nurse where they would visually look at your posture and sometimes have you touch your toes as they observe how your spine moves and if any abnormal curvatures are present.  [This is a VISUAL INSPECTION known as “Adam’s Test”]

If a visual inspection suggests that a scoliosis may be present, the only way to 100% confirm a diagnosis of scoliosis is by using X-Rays.  Here at The Healing Touch Chiropractic in Midtown Sacramento, we have state-of-the-art digital X-Rays technology and routinely check patients to confirm/deny the presence of scoliosis.

3. HOW CAN CHIROPRACTIC HELP?

Chiropractic treatment offers a simple, natural way to help you manage your scoliosis symptoms.

Chiropractors Doctors are specially trained to treat patients with scoliosis and in some cases, the severity of the abnormal curves can be drastically reduced (sometimes, even eliminated!) This includes:

-Chiropractic corrective adjustments.

          -Specific corrective stretches and exercises.

          -Lifestyle recommendations.

Because a scoliosis patient’s spine has an abnormal curvature (as we discussed above) the patient is much more likely to have individual vertebra of their spine fall “out of alignment.”  This is just like a person with a healthy spine that practices poor posture.  When the individual vertabra falls “out of alignment” it can be painful and will put abnormal pressure on the nerve in that area that can cause other problems in the body. 

For example, an abnormal curvature in the lower back (lumbar scoliosis) can cause a LUMBAR vertebra to go “out of alignment” putting pressure on a nerve known as the SCIATIC nerve which will relay pressure down the leg.  An abnormal curvature in the upper/middle back (thoracic scoliosis) can cause THORACIC vertebra to go out of alignment putting pressure on the nerves that control your breathing leading to shortness of breath and asthma type symptoms.

4. COMMON SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF SCOLIOSIS

Here is a list of common signs and symptoms that suggest you may have a scoliosis:

  • Uneven hips, uneven shoulders, or an uneven waist when you look at yourself in the mirror.
  • Limited mobility/limited range of motion
  • Pain in the back, neck, shoulders, hips, or ribs
  • Pain that quickly returns after conservative treatments such as over the counter medication, massage, and/or stretching.
  • Muscle spasms

If you experience any the symptoms listed above, or if have been told you may have a scoliosis before, please don’t hesitate to contact us at The Healing Touch Chiropractic in Midtown Sacramento at (916) 447-3344 and we will be happy to help you.  A consultation in our office to discuss your situation is always 100% free and we are happy to talk with you.

***BONUS QUESTION ANSWER*** This patient has abnormal SHOULDER alignment, notice how the RIGHT collar bone (clavicle) sits higher when compared to the LEFT.   With a really keen eye, you can see the shift in his shoulder blades (the scapula) as well!

Sources:

https://www.srs.org/patients-and-families/additional-scoliosis-resources/scoliosis-awareness-month  

Journal of Chiropractic Medicine: Outcomes for Adult Scoliosis Patients Receiving Chiropractic Rehabilitation: a 24-month Retrospective Analysis, 9/11

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