Lake Union Wellness checking for scoliosis on male youth

Seattle Chiropractor, scoliosis, scoliosis treatment, Chiropractic care, neck pain, back pain, adjustments


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This week’s topic we tackle at a more serious topic. It’s one that most people generally know about – but do not understand the nuances of it that well. While Disney movies and their characters taught us to remove judgement when we meet people. Today’s topic includes one condition a well-known character lived with. This week’s topic is scoliosis. Unlike Quasimodo, you have access to Seattle’s best chiropractors at Lake Union Wellness; we are trained to help you live your best life.

What is Scoliosis you might ask? Scoliosis is an abnormal “S” shape or “C” shape curve of the spine. Most commonly in the Thoracic, Thoracolumbar, and/or Lumbar spine. While we do not know exactly why this condition occurs, we do know many things about it. This condition generally begins in childhood and affects girls more than boys. More often, scoliosis develops from an unknown cause in childhood or from spinal degeneration during adulthood. The ‘gold standard’ of assessment is X-ray analysis of the spine and having a Cobb angle greater than 10 degrees.

Visual cues and early signs to look for in a developing child are: one scapula higher than the other, one scapula that sticks out more than the other, uneven hips, rotating and/or protruding ribs, problems breathing, forward head posture, and back pain.

As chiropractors, we see four types of scoliosis:

  1. Idiopathic Adolescence Scoliosis: This is the most common form of scoliosis. While the origin is unknown, it’s possibly due to genetics.
  2. Degenerative Scoliosis: This mostly occurs in adults and is likely caused by joint and spine degeneration. Abnormal postures play large roll in development.
  3. Neuromuscular Scoliosis: Caused by neuromuscular conditions – i.e. muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy.
  4. Congenital Scoliosis: Think of Quasimodo. This form develops in utero. While it’s rare, it results in malformations in vertebrae development. In most cases spine curve must be corrected surgically.

Scoliosis is a chronic progressive condition and often associated with a family history. If this is true to your family, have your child checked early and often. Early intervention is the key to a lifetime of success. If left untreated, as the scoliosis progresses, intervention becomes more difficult and negative outcomes more likely. Those outcomes include arthritis, degeneration, visual aesthetics issues, and visceral system issues.

Treatment has varied over the years as understanding has changed. Medical doctors commonly use the ‘watch and wait’ method when there has been early detection. They are ‘waiting’ to see how severe the scoliosis will progress. Once the curve progresses typically closer to 30 degrees, they will prescribe rigid bracing, where the child will have to wear a brace 23 hours a day. This method of treatment has many side effects. Lastly, if the scoliosis is severe enough to effect other systems of the body or typically around 50 degrees, surgery is recommended. This will include either spinal fusion or inserting metal rods along the spine to ‘hold’ the vertebra into a position. Surgery inherently has many side effects.

The key to management is early intervention so children can start muscle retraining exercises, mirror image therapy, maintain ideal normal posture, and reduce force and repetition strain. At Lake Union Wellness, we are Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) certified. This training empowers our team in these therapies to ensure, to the best of our ability, a normal healthy life for both the developing adolescents and adults alike.

If scoliosis is suspected, a thorough orthopedic and structural evaluation, including X-ray analysis, are warranted to determine the degree of the condition. Thus, we will determine the necessary treatment intervention. If treated early enough, a normal healthy life is very possible.

If you know you have scoliosis or were told you did as an adolescent and have not had it checked or X-rayed in years, I recommend coming in for an exam for an update. Also, if you’re a parent with a history of scoliosis in the family, it’s a good idea to have your child examined.

As a person living with scoliosis can only coast downhill. If scoliosis is present, that is a very steep hill. CBP doctors are trained in the detection and intervention for scoliosis and other conditions alike. This training makes us South Lake Union’s best choice as your chiropractor.

Give us a call if this is you. We are excited to help you live your best life!

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