What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a common spinal deformity in which the spine develops with one or more curves. A person with scoliosis will have a C- or S-shaped curve in their spine. It can appear at any age, but it often presents from the age of 10 to 12 years, or during the teens. Some cases of scoliosis are mild however there can be severe cases, which can require surgery to prevent the condition from worsening. Depending on the severity of the spinal curve symptoms of scoliosis can include uneven posture, pain, reduced flexibility and difficulty breathing.

What causes scoliosis?

  • Idiopathic curve: Most cases of scoliosis are idiopathic which means there is no clear cause of the spinal curve.
  • Congenital Curve: this type of scoliosis means the spinal abnormality was present at birth. These cases are however rare and typically diagnosed in childhood. It is also more common in girls than boys.
  • Secondary curve: Spinal conditions that affect the vertebrae include degeneration and osteoporosis, which can cause scoliosis. This is referred to as “secondary” scoliosis.


  • How is scoliosis diagnosed?

A physical exam of your spine is the first step your chiropractor takes to see if you have scoliosis. The chiropractor may also order some imaging tests such as an X-ray or an MRI to get a closer look at your spine and the degree of curvature. Next your chiropractor will observe your back while you stand with your arms by your side. They will check your spinal curvature and check your alignment.

  • How can a chiropractor help with scoliosis?

Chiropractors do not cure or reverse scoliosis. Aside from a corrective brace prescribed to adolescents with scoliosis, chiropractic treatments help to improve form function and induce mobility into the joints. With chiropractic treatments the patient should notice a decrease in pain, and increase in comfort and improved posture. Chiropractors can also address other symptoms that the patient is experiencing to help prevent further degradation of the spine.
Chiropractors also work along side other health professionals such as physiotherapists, registered massage therapists to work on the tight and weak spine muscles and for exercise prescription.

  • If I have scoliosis, will my child get it?

Scoliosis does run in the family, so your children have a higher chance of developing scoliosis if you have it. Although you cannot prevent scoliosis, there are things you can watch for while they are young and during growth spurts. Some signs of early stage scoliosis are:

  • One leg longer than the other
  • Shoulders hang unevenly
  • Eye or hip line is uneven
  • Forward head posture
  • A rib hump



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