The start to living pain-free starts with a one-on-one consultation with one of our chiropractors.
Chiropractor’s at Modern Chiropractic Center can help with:
- Preventing scoliosis from worsening
- Improving severity of scoliosis
- Improving body aesthetics
The foundation of our chiropractic practice is treating scoliosis. Claim our Free Scoliosis Screening, call us to schedule! (208) 629-1904
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine, as seen on Xrays, like in the pictures above. The spine will usually also be “twisted”, particularly at the center of the curve. If you live in Boise and have been told you have scoliosis, you likely already have had Xrays done. If not, you should get them as soon as possible. Sometimes scoliosis can be permanent, but in many cases, it can be improved.
What is Scoliosis?
The effects of scoliosis include: poor posture, shoulder humping, muscle weakness, and pain. In rare cases scoliosis can lead to heart and lung problems. Traditionally, a spinal curve is defined by measuring an angle of spinal curvature on a front-to-back view X-ray. To qualify as a scoliosis the curve must exceed 10 degrees. This simple measurement implies that scoliosis is a problem of the spine in just one view. However, scoliosis is really a complex 3-D change of the spine, ribcage and pelvis. Sometimes scoliosis can be permanent, but in many cases, with the right approach, scoliosis can be improved.
Traditional medical treatment in the U.S. is “watchful waiting” for most curves under 25 degrees. This “do-nothing” approach is frustrating for parents and patients alike who are seeking to be more proactive. This is not the general approach in Europe, for example, where it is commonplace to begin a “physiotherapeutic” program to prevent worsening. Scoliosis Specific Exercise programs have been commonplace throughout Europe for decades.
There are a number of ‘warning signs’ to look for to indicate that perhaps you or someone you know has scoliosis.
Should you notice any one or more of these signs, you should consult a trained Scoliosis Clinician for a full assessment.
Can Scoliosis Occur in Adults?
What many people don’t know is that scoliosis can also start in adulthood. This means that adults can have “adolescent-onset” scoliosis that they grew up with, or “adult-onset” scoliosis. Research estimates that up to 40% of older adults have scoliosis in their spines. This can be a very common cause of low back pain, or even sciatica.
Adults with “Adolescent-Onset” Scoliosis
While the adolescent with scoliosis is growing the bones grow asymmetrical and become deformed in an attempt to adapt to the pressure on the bones of the spine. This change in shape helps decrease the pressure on the bones and discs. However, a 50–year follow-up study on the progression of adolescent scoliosis into adulthood showed that these adults still have more degeneration (arthritis) than people their same age without scoliosis. They also found that they have more severe low back pain than people without scoliosis. 80% of people with adolescent-onset scoliosis are females as compared to an equal distribution of men to women in the case of adult-onset scoliosis.
Adults with “Adult-Onset” Scoliosis
In adults with adult-onset scoliosis the bones have never changed shape due to growing with the curve. So, they are under more pressure leading to degeneration of the bones (bone spurs) and discs (intervertebral disc disease). Another study on adults with painful scoliosis showed that adults with the adult-onset type of scoliosis tend to have much more severe pain with more pinched nerve symptoms. Symptoms of pinched nerves were present in only 7% of adults with adolescent-onset scoliosis, compared to 84% in adult- onset scoliosis.
Determining the Type of Scoliosis
The majority of adults that have adolescent-onset scoliosis have known about the curve since they were young. However, many people go undiagnosed until adulthood. In these cases it can be hard to distinguish between the age of onset of the curves. Since there is a difference in the two types with regards to rate of worsening and levels of pain, it is good to try to find out which type it is. One way to distinguish the difference is based on X-rays. Research has shown that scoliosis of adolescent onset is typically larger in size, though pain is generally less severe. The same study also showed that loss of the normal lumbar lordosis (curve form the side) is present with adult-onset curves, and may even be the initialing cause of the scoliosis. So a good set of Xrays that are evaluated by someone who truly understands the difference in the types of scoliosis is absolutely essential to identify which type of scoliosis is present.
Treatment for Adolescents and Adults with Scoliosis
There are many different treatments for painful scoliosis. Medical Doctors prescribe drugs and perform surgeries. Drugs hide symptoms only and come with a vast array of side-effects. Surgery for low back pain is notoriously unsuccessful. Physical therapists perform rehabilitation that has goals to strengthen the spine, provide increased mobility, etc. These are good for the function of the spine, but do nothing for the actual alignment. None of these things can reduce a scoliosis. Only two things have been shown to successfully manage scoliosis non-surgically… scoliosis specific exercises and bracing.
Specific Exercises: The scoliosis specific approach used throughout Europe is not to be confused with standard physical therapy as practiced in the U.S. These European therapists are trained in methods specific to scoliosis management. At Modern Chiropractic Center, we have a 20+ year history of using rehabilitation methods like those used in Europe, longer than some of those methods have been in existence. In fact, our clinic director Dr. Joe Betz has authored chapters in a textbook on this very topic.
Mechanical Traction: In addition to the specific scoliosis exercises at Modern Chiropractic Center our doctors are trained in advanced principles of applying mechanical traction (stretching machines) to help aid in the improvement of the scoliosis. Dr. Betz has been using these methods for over 20+ years on patients with scoliosis from ages 5 to 95.
Boston Brace: The most common “brand” of scoliosis brace prescribed in North America is called the Boston Brace. This brace is fitted to the child’s body and custom molded from plastic. It works by applying three-point pressure (works primarily in one-dimension only) to the curvature to prevent its progression.
Charleston Bending Brace: This brace is different in that it is only worn while sleeping. This brace is molded to the patient while they are bent to the side, and thus applies more pressure and bends the child against the curve. This pressure improves the corrective action of the brace. This type of brace is worn only at night while the child is asleep. Many studies have shown that the Charleston Night time brace is as effective as the above-described 23-hour-a-day brace wear, but only for certain types (locations) of curves.
The Modern “ScoliBrace” The new ScoliBrace is unique and different from the above traditional braces. Unlike the older generations of rigid spinal braces, a ScoliBrace is designed to position the patient in an over-corrected position that is essentially the “mirror-image” of the patient’s original deformity. The outcome is a reduction of the abnormal curvatures in the majority of cases, in addition to decreasing rib humping, shoulder unleveling, and other postural distortions. In most cases the overall posture and appearance of the patient’s body is greatly improved.
The ScoliBrace is patient friendly. It opens and closes at the front making it easy to wear and remove without assistance. This is in contrast to the inconvenience of the Boston Brace which opens in the rear of the brace. The brace is a lower profile that allows freedom of movement and concealment under clothing.
Scoliosis is a 3 dimensional condition. Effective treatments need to be 3 dimensional too. Each ScoliBrace is custom made by using 3D bodyscans in conjunction with X-rays and posture photos. Each brace is then designed using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software and custom made. Modification can be made in-office, allowing the doctor to “personalize” the brace even further for both comfort and effectiveness.
Bracing is most beneficial for curves between 20 and 50 degrees. However, we have experience bracing curves over 70 degrees for those patients who could not or would not have surgery.
The ScoliBrace process:
3-D BRACESCAN, POSTURAL PHOTOS and X-RAYS
CUSTOM CREATION OF YOUR SCOLIBRACE
PROGRESS REVIEWS AND FOLLOW-UPS
You can call our office to schedule a free consultation to see if in-office rehabilitation and/or the ScoliBrace may work for you and your specific scoliosis curvature. We even see patients from out of the area by making arrangements for both in office, intensive treatment for a period of 1-4 weeks, sometimes combined with scanning and fitting of the ScoliBrace. Call us today to make arrangements to see if you may qualify as an out-of-town patient.
Did you know that Corrective Chiropractic Adjustments can help with:
- Correct alignment of the spine
- Correct abnormal posture
- Correct underlying cause of pain
- Improve neurological function
- Improve quality of life
- Improve health