Lisburn Chiropractic Clinic | Belfast | Northern Ireland
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Scoliosis is a medical condition in which a person’s spine is curved from side to side. Although it is a complex three-dimensional deformity, on an x-ray, viewed from the rear, the spine of an individual with a typical scoliosis may look more like an ‘s’ or a ‘c’ rather than a straight line.

Patients who have reached skeletal maturity are less likely to have a worsening case. Some severe cases of scoliosis can lead to diminished lung capacity, putting pressure on the heart and restricting physical activities.

The signs of scoliosis can include:

- uneven musculature on one side of the spine
- a rib prominence and/or a prominent shoulder blade, caused by rotation of the ribcage in thoracic scoliosis
- uneven hips/leg length
- asymmetric size or location of breasts in females
- slowed nerve functioning

There are various stages of treatment, depending on the patient’s age, how much he/she is likely to grow, the severity of the curve and the type of scoliosis. The most common form of scoliosis is called adolescent idiopathic scoliosis the cause of which is unknown. The other causes include severe muscle spasm, birth defects, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and arthritis.

Most cases of scoliosis are mild and you will just need regular check-ups to monitor the curvature. These check-ups will probably be every four to six months. Treatments vary according to the severity of the scoliosis.

Your doctor may recommend a back brace for children if the spinal curve is more than around 20 degrees. You should discuss this treatment option thoroughly with your doctor. A brace only works for children who have not finished growing. It will not correct scoliosis, but can help to stop the curvature getting worse. Depending on the degree of curvature, your specialist may recommend surgery. Surgery aims to reduce the amount of curvature of the spine and prevent it from getting worse. The most common technique is spinal fusion, in which the affected bones of the spine are straightened and then fused (joined) together. The curvature is largely corrected by metal rods and screws fitted to the spine.

A chiropractor can confirm whether scoliosis is present by performing a thorough physical, orthopaedic and neurological examination, as well as taking x-rays of the spine. Many patients who seek chiropractic care for scoliosis report relief from the discomfort related to joint and muscular pain resulting from their condition. Upon examination on your initial consultation your chiropractor will determine whether a scoliosis is present or not. Various tests will further classify the scoliosis as a structural or functional curve.

Structural curves cannot be altered by chiropractic care. Much relief can be obtained, however, and often care will be directed towards pain relief and improving general function.

Functional curves, on the other hand, can be slightly altered and are generally well managed by chiropractors. During your report of findings your chiropractor will explain how a course of chiropractic adjustments, exercises and even a dietary change can influence curvatures of the spine.

Scoliosis is a complex condition requiring proper diagnosis and careful attention. Your chiropractors are well versed in understanding what can be done to help your spine.

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