Chiropractic care for scoliosis

Have you been diagnosed with scoliosis of the spine?

Do you wonder how chiropractic treatment can help?

First, it’s important to look at exactly what scoliosis is, and the degree of curve that you have.

Let’s start with the spine…

Our spines consist of 33 bones (called vertebrae) and due to their shape and size, they naturally produce slight curves from front to back. This is where we get the characteristic lower back arch, and a slight rounding of the upper back. The definition of scoliosis is “an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine” (i.e from left to right).  This can either be as a single curve (known as a “c-curve scoliosis”) or 2 or more curves (an s-curve scoliosis).

What causes scoliosis?

Most causes of scoliosis are unknown, although certain conditions such as muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy can be responsible. It can also be hereditary, or result from a birth defect or injury to the spine. Generally, it is noticed just before puberty (ie during a growth spurt). Although 10% of adolescents have some degree of scoliosis, less than 1% will require medical treatment. Girls are 5 times more likely to experience progression of spinal curves, and as a result, they generally require treatment more often than boys.

Scoliosis is classed as structural (if curve is fixed, often due to bony changes), or functional (ie due to muscular issues). In adult scoliosis, the most common cause is age related degeneration such as osteoarthritis. It may have been present in childhood however, and was only discovered due to back pain!

If I have scoliosis – What can I do?

There are three main treatment options: observation, braces or casts, or surgery. Physical exercise and soft tissue manipulation, can also help. The degree of scoliosis is usually measured with “Cobb’s Angle”. Between the upper and lower borders of vertebrae at each end of the curve, we draw parallel lines. By then drawing perpendicular lines from these, and measuring the angle produced when they cross, the result is the “angle of curvature”.

The minimum Cobb angle for defining a scoliosis is 10 degrees. Cobb angles between 15 and 20 degrees are likely to be treated just with exercise. Of course, regular check-ups are vital especially for young patients.

If a spine has a moderate curve of 20-40 degrees, doctors may recommend a rehabilitation program or wearing a back brace.

If you have a Cobb angle of 40-50 degrees, surgery may well be advised.  This can either be by traditional fusion, or more recently by a relatively new treatment called VBT (vertical body tethering). This method straightens the spine with a flexible rod, reducing curves without fusing bones together.

It is important to note that surgery is not the “best” solution for every case of scoliosis. In some instances, physical therapy that aims to strengthen and stabilise the spine is the preferred option. Anti-inflammatory injections may also relieve some of the symptoms, reducing the impact of the scoliosis on daily life. According to research, patients who chose not to undergo surgery did not always experience worsening of the curves. The deciding factor on choosing surgery was how much the scoliosis was interfering with the patient’s normal day-to-day routine.

Does scoliosis just affect the spine?

The sideways curve of the spine could also cause some degree of rotation or twisting. In turn, this may alter the position of the ribs (e.g one side may stick out more). This means that scoliosis curves can interfere with breathing. Other problems can also start to develop due shoulders and hips being unlevel. Over time, this may lead to further referred pain through the neck, or even lower in the knees.

How can chiropractic treatment help?

Chiropractic treatment focuses on adjusting and improving joint mobility. Although it cannot instantly “straighten” a spine, it can help improve function, quality of movement, and posture – reducing pain and increasing comfort. You may need time to adjust to any joint repositioning, learning how to use your body differently than normal. Remember too that the supporting muscles should also be looked at. An effective treatment program may combine soft tissue therapy (ie massage), exercises and scoliosis-specific stretches. Your chiropractor can look at affected areas and then offer advice to help minimise long-term symptoms.

Do you know if  you can still have chiropractic treatment with a fused spine, or with metal rods fitted? The answer is yes! Your chiropractor will focus can use different methods and tools for gentle yet effective adjustments on areas that require treating. A rehabilitative exercise program may also be advised, to allow you to continue to care for your spine at home.

So if you or someone you know has scoliosis, have a chat with us about how chiropractic care can help. 

Shoulder dislocation

Dislocated shoulders

Have you ever dislocated your shoulder? If so, do you worry that it could happen again?

Let’s take a quick look at the shoulder joint. It consists of the upper arm bone (the humerus), which fits into a ball and socket on the shoulder blade. This also attaches to the collarbone.

These bones connect with various ligaments and muscles that enable movement in many planes! The shoulder joint is very mobile; in fact it has the largest range of motion of any joint in the body. However, as a result, this means that it is not very stable. As such, if you fall or injure your shoulder, you may either break your collarbone, or dislocate the shoulder entirely. Usually, the arm pops out the front of the socket, however in some rarer cases it dislocates to the back.

A dislocated shoulder can cause serious pain! Attempting to replace it yourself can be tricky. There is also a risk of damage to the nerve or blood supply in that area too. For this reason, suspected shoulder dislocations should get prompt medical attention.

Will it happen again?

If your shoulder has dislocated before, the supporting ligaments will have been stretched or torn. This can lead to chronic instability of the shoulder. After a traumatic dislocation, 80% of patients under 35 years old suffer from shoulder instability. However, there are also hereditary conditions that cause looseness (laxity) of tendons and ligament tissue. This makes people prone to joint dislocation as well. “Double-jointed” people often experience this.

When the ball of the joint does not sit correctly in the socket, any movement or exercise may produce pain. In some cases, the shoulder may not completely dislocate again, but it could move further out of the socket than it should. This is called subluxation.

Athletes in sports where there is a lot of overhead movement can be prone to unstable shoulder joints. This could include swimmers, volleyball players, or tennis players for example. For some people, a loose shoulder joint causes anxiety about a potential dislocation. This therefore reduces their performance or range of motion.

What helps stabilise shoulders?

Instability of the shoulder can lead to arthritis of the joint later on. So whether you have shoulder issues or not, it’s important to focus on them! Any muscular over or underdevelopment could promote injury. Your chiropractor will be able to determine the best treatment option for you, which could be varied. Exercise like Pilates or Yoga that focus on thoracic mobility and reducing tightness around the chest (which causes hunched shoulders) can be beneficial. In other cases, hot and cold therapy, taping, wearing special slings and massage have also been shown to help.

Interested in reading more?

Marathon – hard work or good for you in the long run?

Stretching won’t make your muscles stretchy

Turmeric Latte



What you need to know about back pain

Having a sudden episode of back pain can be scary, fortunately it is rarely dangerous. There are various ways to help the pain settle yourself without the need for strong drugs or scans. Unfortunately, there is a lot of information out there that can be very unhelpful and can lead to your back pain becoming worse. We want to set the record straight with information that has come from the most up-to-date research available.
Here are the key facts that you need to know about back pain.

Continue reading

Chiropractic care for horse riders

Chiropractic care for horse riders

Horse riding has many benefits, from sharing an emotional bond with an animal, to being able to get outdoors and explore the countryside. As such a physically demanding activity, it should keep you fit and healthy. However, horse riders can often be saddled with injuries – but don’t worry, regular chiropractic care can help!

Continue reading

  • 1
  • 2
  • 4

Opening Times

Monday 08:30 – 19:00
Tuesday 09:00 – 19:00
Wednesday 09:00 – 19:00
Thursday 09:00 – 19:00
Friday 08:30 – 18:00

Lunch Break 13.00-14.00

Acorn Health Ltd © 2014- 2019

Website Created by WebHolism

Join The Conversation

Opening Times

Monday 08:30 – 19:00
Tuesday 09:00 – 19:00
Wednesday 09:00 – 19:00
Thursday 09:00 – 19:00
Friday 08:30 – 19:00
Saturday 09:00 – 12:00

Acorn Health Limited © 2014 - 2019

Website Created by WebHolism