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Scoliosis | Lake Union Wellness 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:
Idiopathic Adolescence Scoliosis: This is the most common form of scoliosis. While the origin is unknown, it’s possibly due to genetics.
Degenerative Scoliosis: This mostly occurs in adults and is likely caused by joint and spine degeneration. Abnormal postures play large roll in development.
Neuromuscular Scoliosis: Caused by neuromuscular conditions – i.e. muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy.
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!
Lake Union Wellness
Address: 235 Westlake Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
Phone: (206) 749-5253
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Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. It is diagnosed on Xrays where the spinal curve can be measured. A curve over 10 degrees is a scoliosis. It most often starts in the teen and pre-teen years. Girls are most likely to develop scoliosis between the ages of 10 and 12, while boys are more likely to develop the disease between the ages of 12 and 14.
The Society on Scoliosis Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Treatment (SOSORT) recommends that young children be screened at these ages, so the disease can be caught early on, and treatment can be more effective. If you bring your child into our chiropractic facility at Lake Union Wellness, we’ll be able to provide you with a free exam that will tell you whether or not your child has indications of scoliosis.
Our non-surgical, non-invasive treatment methods can help prevent the progression of scoliosis, and in many cases it can even improve the curvature of the spine. If scoliosis goes undetected and untreated, it will generally continue to progress, causing more and more spinal curvature, until a person has a severe case which might require surgery.
Scoliosis Screenings are totally safe
Early screening is absolutely essential for detecting scoliosis, and improving the chances for successful treatment of the disease. The longer it goes untreated, the more difficult it will be to control scoliosis, and to try to reverse the symptoms it has brought on. If allowed to progress, scoliosis can begin to cause pain and discomfort while sitting or standing. Other activities can also become progressively more difficult to perform.
By screening your child at a young age, you’ll instantly have better monitoring of the disease, there will be a great many more options for treatment, especially non-surgical options, and you will almost always have improved outcomes after early screening. Some of the most noticeable symptoms of scoliosis include the following:
- visible curvature of the spine
- a hump around the rib area
- asymmetrical shoulders
- asymmetrical waist
- asymmetrical hips
- prominent shoulder blade.
There is no danger whatsoever in having your child screened for scoliosis, because it’s a non-invasive, pain-free process which is only used to detect the presence of the disease.
How screening and detection work
The board-certified chiropractic doctors at Lake Union Wellness will perform a simple scoliosis screening to detect the presence of the disease in your child, and will often perform some other tests which are designed to identify early signs of the disease. These include all of the following:
- visual screening
- hip examination
- postural evaluation
- examination for skeletal flexibility
- checking for patches of hair around the spine that may indicate underlying spine or spinal cord lesions
- hip examination
- physical assessment
- check for tenderness around the spine
- measurement of height while standing and sitting
If the scoliosis screening detects a likelihood of scoliosis, a set of Xrays will be taken to measure the curve. After the location and size of the curve is determined, treatment option can be discussed that will be uniquely designed for each case. Every single case requires that the treatment plan be customized by the chiropractic specialists at Lake Union Wellness.
Do you have a child between the ages of 10 and 14?
If so, now is the time for you to bring that child into Lake Union Wellness chiropractic center and have them screened for scoliosis. Since this is the time children are most susceptible to developing scoliosis, it makes sense to find out right away if they have any of the symptoms. That way, early detection can lead to early treatment, and you can be much more confident of avoiding the worst outcomes. Contact us at Lake Union Wellness for a free exam and consultation, and be sure about your child’s spinal health.
Are you an adult who has scoliosis?
We have unique treatment methods that often help adults with scoliosis, especially when scoliosis is already causing pain and other symptoms. Scoliosis worsens through adulthood…
don’t let your keep getting worse, contact us at Lake Union Wellness for a free exam and consultation.