Scoliosis is a common spinal condition in which the vertebrae rotate causing the spine to curve abnormally. The degree of curvature varies based on the patient and can range from very minor misalignment to almost an S-shaped or C-shaped curve. For patients with minor conditions, symptoms may not be severe or need treatment. However, scoliosis can progress without observation and treatment and can become a debilitating condition significantly impacting ones’ day-to-day life. The increasing curvature can begin to impact muscle function, movement, and restrict breathing.
Many cases occur during growth spurts in puberty, but other causes can include cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or be the result of a congenital condition present at birth. Though commonly associated with teenagers or children, adults can develop this condition later in life as they age.
Signs & Symptoms
The physical signs of scoliosis can include the following:
- Chronic back pain or muscle spasms
- Difficult breathing
- One hip higher than the other
- One shoulder blade may appear more forward than the other
- Uneven shoulders
In severe cases, due to the curvature of the spine, the rib cage may appear prominent on one side more than the other.
Diagnosis begins with a full review of medical history, followed by a thorough physical examination. A neurological exam may also be conducted to check for muscle weakness or abnormal reflexes. Imaging tests such as X-rays are the most accurate way to fully diagnose a patient with scoliosis. A positive diagnosis is confirmed with a curve greater than 10 degrees. A significant curve is considered between 25 to 30 degrees, and a curve exceeding 45 to 50 degrees is seen as severe.
For those with minor scoliosis symptoms, treatment may consist of monitoring the condition with X-rays to check that the curve isn’t worsening, physical therapy, and bracing to help straighten the spine and support proper curvature. For patients with mild to moderate scoliosis, chiropractic care can also be an ideal treatment option to help relieve symptoms and assist in correcting posture.
If you are struggling with the symptoms of scoliosis, seeking care at our facility can be the first step in helping you experience a better, more comfortable life. Our experienced team can help reduce pain and discomfort, and can tailor a treatment option for your specific needs. For more information on how we can help with scoliosis or to schedule a consultation, contact American Neurospine Institute, PLLC today.