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Scoliosis

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a curve in the spine. There can be many causes, in children it manly
occurs in adolescent girls starting between 10 to 12 years of age, scoliosis will usually get worse with growth or age. Adults can also have scoliosis – stemming from adolescence or most commonly developing later in life.

If the bend in a spine gets above 50 degrees of the curve, surgery is often recommended. Patients with scoliosis can develop back pain, asymmetry in their body appearance, and postural deformity. See the images below:

Recognizing the signs of scoliosis.

There is no consistent formal scoliosis screening programs in place in schools across the country and it’s important that we all can recognize the signs. Summer especially is an opportune time to be checking kids’ backs for any signs of scoliosis

These signs may indicate a possible scoliosis and should be followed up with a qualified scoliosis clinician:

Standing Assessment:

  • Have the person stand in front of you with feet slightly apart
  • Let arms dangle down to their side
  1. Shoulders uneven
  2. Prominent shoulder blade
  3. Visible curve
  4. Hips uneven
  5. Waist asymmetrical

Forward bending assessment

  • Have the person bend forward with feet together and knees straight
  • Let arms dangle with palms together and fingers pointing down
  • For the lumbar check, have the child bend further forward
  1. Thoracic rib hump

  1. Lumbar bump

What about treatment?

Each case is different and requires expert assessment and the right treatment.

In small postural curves where the scoliosis is less than 10 degrees no scoliosis-specific treatment i.e. bracing or scoliosis-specific exercise is normally needed. Usual chiropractic care and rehabilitation are the first choices. Careful monitoring is also recommended.

When the scoliosis is larger than 10 degrees it is important to have a full assessment by a Scoliosis Clinician. Scoliosis-specific exercise is often the first choice of treatment for small scoliosis curves less than 20 degrees. In cases with a strong family history of scoliosis or where it is the patient’s preference, nighttime or part-time bracing can also be considered.

Specialized scoliosis bracing when prescribed for high-risk adolescent patients, has been shown to prevent the need for surgery in most cases. Bracing is an effective treatment method for AIS cases, characterized by positive long-term outcomes. Part-time bracing in adults significantly reduces the progression of curvatures and improves the quality of life.

Regular screening + detection = Better outcomes in treatment

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