How to navigate Scoliosis for your loved ones.
You’ve probably heard about it, you know someone with it, or perhaps you have it. Scoliosis. Despite how common it is, there are so many things that the general public doesn’t know about scoliosis. So we’re determined to equip you with the tools you to need in order to:
- recognise it in your loved ones / test for it
- Have mobility, strength, and balance with scoliosis (it doesn’t have to impede on your life)
- Understand scoliosis on a deeper level. Why it’s there, and how it can be addressed holistically
So are you ready? You’re going to want to take notes or save this somehow, because we’ll be giving you some practical things to do as well as the theory. Don’t worry, this one is easy to follow along and read - we won’t bombard you with too much information either.
1. Scoliosis needs to be acknowledged from day 1.
Do you or your child have scoliosis? It’s important to find out right from the beginning because it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive for your kids.
Here are some steps you can take to assess whether your child or a loved one has scoliosis. You don’t need any tools except for your eyes!
There are 2 ways to do it:
- while your person is standing upright
- and while your person is bending forward
We recommend you do both types of assessments. Here we go…
When standing, get your person to stand in front of you with their back facing you:
1. First start by looking at their shoulders. Are they asymmetrical? Is one shoulder looking higher than the other at all?
2. Next, move your eyes down to their shoulder blades. Are any of the shoulder blades raised, or more prominent than the other?
3. Next, look down the middle of their back, from their neck down to the base of their spine. Does their spine appear to have a curve instead of being a straight vertical line?
4. Move down to the waist now. Look at their waistline. Is one waistline looking more curvy than the other (instead of the curves being equal)?
5. Now take a look at their hips. Especially the hip bones at the top of the pelvis. Are they asymmetrical, for example, is one of them higher than the other?
Then, get them to bend forward, still with their back to you:
1. Look at their upper back. Is there a “hump” or a “raise”?
2. Now how about their lower back? Is there a “hump” or a “raise” there?
If you answered yes to even ONE of those questions, it’s time to talk to a chiropractor and get checked. The scoliosis could be obvious, but sometimes it’s not very obvious! As chiropractors, we will help you identify if it is the case & then develop a treatment protocol that prevents the scoliosis from progressing and from impeding on your day to day lifestyle!
If you’re sure, unsure or even slightly unsure, talk to a chiropractor. Why is it so important? This brings us to the next part:
2. When it comes to addressing scoliosis, the earlier the better
Why would we encourage people to check their children for scoliosis? Because statistics are important and the numbers don’t lie!
Did you know:
- Scoliosis occurs in up to 3% of the population? That means 1 in 33 people have it
- Scoliosis often shows up from a young age - especially in adolescents.
- A girl is 3 times MORE likely to have scoliosis than a boy
- 80% of scoliosis cases are idiopathic, meaning the cause is UNKNOWN
- an unattended scoliosis curve gets worse every year that it’s left unaddressed
- Scoliosis shouldn’t have to cause pain or limit your life
- Most often times than not, you don’t need surgery to address scoliosis
Several scientific studies have shown that chiropractic care can help reduce a scoliosis curve, improving mobility and reducing pain, especially with earlier intervention! For all these reasons, this is why we recommend identifying scoliosis right away, and then seeing a chiropractor to get non-invasive support right away.
3. So then how do you get treated for Scoliosis?
Most people when they hear the word scoliosis, their mind goes straight to SURGERY. In fact, only the very severe cases need surgeries and they are very rare. Otherwise, it can be managed conservatively by us. Rest assured, if someone we checked potentially needs a surgery, we refer you out straight away.
At Capital Chiro, we look at scoliosis holistically. There are 3 fundamental components you need to know about when we look at treatment for scoliosis. Depending on what we do with these components (whether we address them or not) it can make the scoliosis worse or better.
Ready for the 3 fundamental components? Think of them as the different layers that we address:
Layer 1: bone
That’s right. Scoliosis has a lot to do with the bone. The spinal structure. The way the bones sit on top of each other. If they are out of alignment, scoliosis curves show up and get worse.
So how do we address it? With physical adjustments. We start manipulating them and influencing the way these vertebra (spinal bones) sit on top of each other. Makes sense right?
But this is where most people stop, and they forget about the other layers. So stay tuned:
Layer 2: muscles and ligaments
Yes. The soft tissues, such as muscles, tendons and ligaments, have an impact on the alignment of the spine too. If some are too tight, or too weak, they start pulling on the spine and bending it out of alignment. This is why we as chiropractors address this too. So how do we do that? Through different exercises of course. These exercises are unique to the individual, depending on where the tightness and scoliosis curve is - it’s not just a plug and play, we need to take a look to tailor the right exercise for you.
Layer 3: the nervous system
Ah, did you think we were going to skip talking about the nervous system for this one? No way. The nervous system is intricately involved with everything that’s going on.
Your brain “thinks” that the baseline of how your spine sits is normal, so it sends innervations to maintain this baseline. Remember, we talked about this in our posture blog! (check it out over here → capitalchiro.com.au/2023-04-07-things-you-did-not-know-about-your-posture ← if you’d like a refresher). This is also the case in scoliosis. The brain sees those curves as normal, and hence maintains the angles.
This is where a chiropractor steps in - and by the way, not all chiropractors do this, some purely work with bone. What we do at Capital Chiropractic is retrain and rewire the brain so that a “new map” is encoded. As we retrain the brain on the map of the spine, it allows the adjustments to take hold better, and in fact, the brain adapts to the beneficial changes.
In summary, there are so many things most people don’t know about scoliosis, but the biggest takeaways are:
- Remember to check for it in your children, especially because the probability is quite high, follow the steps and if you answer yes to even ONE of the questions, talk to a chiropractor.
- Earlier intervention will get you better results - so be proactive, not reactive.
- Seek holistic treatment for scoliosis, address the bones, the soft tissue and the nervous system for more powerful and noticeable results
And lastly, share this blog with a loved one that may benefit from it! Well both thank you for it.
We are always here to help. So give us a call on (02) 5123 9800 , every person is different, which means every treatment protocol is unique!