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The Role of Chiropractors In Scoliosis Management

Scoliosis, also known as the abnormal lateral curvature of the spine, is a condition boasting a myriad of potential symptoms. It can cause pain, discomfort, and limited mobility – in a nutshell, it’s just never fun for those who suffer from it. With all that being said, anyone who does suffer from scoliosis would want a treatment option that can effectively manage their condition by improving physical function and, ideally, maintaining or improving their quality of life. If this is something you’re looking for, then you might want to look into one of the newer areas of chiropractic care: the diagnosis and management of scoliosis. This article covers diagnosis, treatment, and the effectiveness of spinal adjustments.

Understanding Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition wherein the spine curves sideways and may take the shape of a C or S. It can be congenital (present at birth), idiopathic (of an unknown cause) or neuromuscular (due to conditions such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy). Scoliosis can cause one shoulder to appear higher than the other, a rib hump, back pain and diminished range of motion. The degree of spinal curvature can be classified as mild, moderate or severe, and, in some more severe cases, surgery may be required. However, scoliosis can be detected and managed early on to prevent curvature from progressing and complications from arising.

Chiropractic Diagnosis and Assessment

The first step a chiropractor for scoliosis does is the diagnosis and assessment of the scoliosis condition. The chiropractor performs some diverse diagnostic procedures and techniques to evaluate the degree of scoliosis and the progression of its development.

Initial Consultation

At the initial consultation, a detailed medical history is taken, and a physical examination is carried out. Symptomatology, the onset of scoliosis and any trigger factors will be assessed.

Imaging Studies

Imaging studies, such as X-rays, MRI or CT scans, are necessary for an accurate diagnosis of scoliosis. They allow chiropractors to make a complete assessment by determining the extent of curvature of the spine. A measurement called the Cobb angle is taken from the X-ray, which allows chiropractors to determine the exact degree of the curvature.

Postural Analysis

In addition, like osteopaths, chiropractors do a postural analysis to see where any asymmetries or imbalances are in the body. This can provide clues to how the scoliosis is affecting the person’s balance, alignment and posture.

Chiropractic Treatment Approaches

A scoliosis treatment plan often relies on several chiropractic techniques that are aimed at reducing pain, improving mobility and preventing the degeneration of scoliosis.

Spinal Adjustments for Scoliosis

Spinal adjustments (or chiropractor for scoliosis manipulations) are part of standard chiropractor treatment for scoliosis. The chiropractor uses a controlled force to correct the alignment and mobility of sections of the spine. By correcting the alignment through spinal adjustments, the curvature of the spine can be reduced.

Soft Tissue Therapy

Chiropractors for scoliosis also treat soft tissue issues, either in addition to or as an alternative to spinal manipulation. Sometimes imbalances in muscle or postural issues can contribute to joint stiffness or lead to joint dysfunction. Excessive tension in tight or tightening muscles can feel uncomfortable and can lead to chronic pain. The chiropractic toolbox for soft tissue treatment includes massage, myofascial release and trigger point therapy to help loosen up these tight muscles and enable better movement.

Therapeutic Exercises

Specific exercises for muscle retraining and better posture are often employed by chiropractor for scoliosis – when appropriate, the exercises will be prescribed in addition to manual therapy, and guided and supervised. Training is individualised to the patient; it may involve developing core strength, range of motion/flexibility or other aspects of physical function.

Posture Correction

Posture correction is another aspect of chiropractic treatments for scoliosis. Chiropractors can teach patients the correct posture, and provide strategies to be more aware of proper alignment during all their activities throughout the day. Good posture can ease the strain on the spine and help patients avoid developing more curvature.

Effectiveness of Chiropractic Care

Perhaps because of this, multiple studies – and even clinical observations – have examined the role of chiropractic care in controlling scoliosis. While it is not likely that a chiropractor can ‘cure’ scoliosis, there is ample evidence that they can relieve scoliosis symptoms for many, and make a real impact on quality of life.

Discomfort Relief

Other than the aesthetic aspects of pain relief, chiropractic helps to reduce muscle tension, loosen up the spinal segments, and protect the nerves from outside pressures and stresses. This allows patients to lead a more active life with reduced pain levels.

Improved Mobility and Range of Motion

This restores mobility and helps improve the range of motion by releasing restrictions in the joints and tightness in the muscles. Patients may feel freer in their movement, and their lives are much easier and more resilient when it comes to movement.

Opioid Reduction

As this form of care relies strictly on non-invasive techniques while implementing activities aimed at reducing pain, it can offer scoliosis patients a drug-free way to cope with pain and reduce the need for pain medication.

Physical Function

In line with this view are the goals of chiropractic care, which can be assessed without reference to any non-mechanical entity: as the spine is realigned, the patient’s overall physical functioning is improved. In theory, a person’s muscles that support the spine will be stronger, improving their posture and enabling them to perform their daily tasks with greater efficiency and less pain.

Headache Relief

Headaches are a frequent presenting problem for scoliosis patients: tension through the neck and shoulders due to muscular imbalance may be responsible, and disc derangement resulting from spinal misalignment is also a contributor. Chiropractic adjustments can reduce the spasm and subsequent headaches by correcting the vertebral dysfunction contributing to the abnormal biomechanics that cause pain.

Complementary Approach to Scoliosis Management

Overall, chiropractic is an integral part of a multi-modal approach to treatment for scoliosis alongside physical therapy, bracing, and medical management.

Collaboration with Healthcare Providers

Finally, to offer a more comprehensive clinical benefit for scoliosis patients, some chiropractors work cooperatively with one or more healthcare providers in other disciplines to ensure the appropriate coordination of care.

Patient Education

We have therefore to educate the scoliosis patient about scoliosis and chiropractic care and give instruction on self-care, exercise routines and/or lifestyle modification to apply to his/her condition.

Long-Term Management

Chiropractic can provide a course of long-term management for scoliosis. Follow-ups and maintenance are important for monitoring the condition as well as for preventing progression and addressing any new symptoms that might arise in the future.

Elia Chiro: Your Partner in Scoliosis Management in Essendon

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Overall, chiropractic care in the management of scoliosis provides a noninvasive and holistic approach to those who seek to avoid spinal surgery. Through spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and postural education, research studies have proven the discovery of improved quality of life through pain reductions, enhanced mobility and overall physical function. Through the cooperation of various health care specialities and an assisting hand in long-term management, chiropractic ensures scoliosis is managed as a whole, and its effects are subdued as much as possible. To learn more about how chiropractic care can help you with your scoliosis, call Elia Chiro.

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