The Treatment of Scoliosis at our Monmouth County Rehabilitation Facility in Red Bank New Jersey
You’ve probably never heard of scoliosis, but by the time you’ve finished reading this page, you’ll not only know what it is, you’ll be able to recognize it and also perform a simple, minute-long test to determine if your child has this potentially disfiguring spine defect.
Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine (illustration 1). A normal spine is straight when viewed from behind. Any time the spine deviates (to one side or the other) form its upright position, there’s the possibility of scoliosis.
It usually develops during a child’s rapid-growth period-between the ages of ten and sixteen, but it can also occur in infants. The disorder occurs six to eight times more often in girls then boys.
Scoliosis has no known definitive cause; however there is clearly a genetic link to it. Additionally, a leg length inequality can transform the spine over time into a scoliosis.
Scoliosis is not ordinarily life threatening. However, scoliosis does create abnormal function in some of the nerves associated with the curvature which can cause muscle dysfunction and in some cases organ dysfunction. At the very least, the abnormal curvature of a scoliosis always creates additional physical stress on the body which over time is never a good thing.
Severe cases of scoliosis may affect the heart and lungs. When the degree of spinal curvature is great, the ribs on the concave side of the curve collapse toward each other, and the ribs on the convex side flare apart. This obvious posture deformity may ultimately contribute to cardiopulmonary problems.
Mothers used to notice scoliosis (although they didn’t know what to call it) when they tried, but failed, to even the hems on their daughter’s dresses. Today, there’s an easier way to test and it works for boys as well as girls.
Here’s a simple, minute-long test you can perform to determine if your child has scoliosis and needs to see a chiropractor who specializes in scoliosis:
Have your child disrobe above the waste. To test your youngster, sit in a chair and have the child face away from you. Carefully observe the child’s back while he or she stands erect, feet together, arms hanging straight down.
• Is the shoulder level unequal?
• Is the hip level unequal?
• Is the waistline uneven?
• Is the spine curved to one side or the other?
• Is one shoulder blade more prominent than the other?
• Is the distance between the arms and body unequal?
Next, ask the child to turn around and face you. Have him bend forward, with the hips forming a 90 degree angle between angle between the back and legs. The child’s legs and knees should be straight, and feet together. His arms should hang straight down from the shoulder, palms together. Carefully observe the child’s upper and lower back while looking down the back from the neck to the waist.
• Is there a difference in level between the two sides of the back?
• Is there a hump on one side of the upper back?
• Is there a compensating hump on the other side of the lower back?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, there is a possibility of scoliosis. The sides of the back should be symmetrical. If you suspect scoliosis, have your child examined as soon as possible by your family chiropractor or a chiropractor that specializes in scoliosis.
A chiropractor that specializes in spinal correction or Clinical Biomechanics of Posture will take a standing xray to analyze the exact curvature in the spine.
In some communities, scoliosis screening is already being done by school systems and other community groups. Twelve percent of the youngsters screened for the Chicago Park District by Drs. Michael Morgenstern and Albert Rosanova showed signs of scoliosis. This percentage is similar to the results of schools of Wilmington, Delaware; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Los Angeles and Oakland, California.
Follow-up examinations in all cases were encouraging-only two to three percent of the newly discovered scoliosis cases needed corrective treatment.
Two commonly used, effective treatments for scoliosis are specialized chiropractic care using traction and exercise. For very severe cases of scoliosis, there is a possibility of surgery. Because there are perfectly valid arguments in favor of treatment, parents and youngsters are advised to discuss all options with their physicians. If you question the course of treatment your physician recommends, seek a second opinion. Luckily, most scoliosis is easily treated. In any event, the earlier the condition is discovered, the easier it is for the doctor to treat. Why not take a minute right now and check your children?
If you have any additional questions or comments in regard to Scoliosis testing and treatment, or to schedule an appointment at Monmouth Pain & Rehabilitation, please Contact Us.