Scoliosis can be divided into structural and non-structural (functional) scoliosis. Non-structural scoliosis are fixable and can be caused by muscle spasm in the back muscles, leg length differences and are often due to muscular imbalances, hence “poor posture”. The scoliosis is typically mild and changes or disappears when the person bends forward. Structural scoliosis is typically more severe and is fixed, therefore can’t be corrected.
Symptoms can range from discomfort, to fatigue after standing or sitting, to back pain, and difficulty breathing in more severe cases. A common concern are the asymmetric changes in one’s appearance, e.g. uneven hips and shoulders which can weigh on the child’s self-esteem.
The treatment depends on the severity of the scoliosis. An x-ray will be taken to show the degree of the angle to help take appropriate measures, such as braces, surgery or conservative therapy. Contributing factors, which should be taken into account, are pain, the age of the child, and on whether they are growing. The treatment is aimed to prevent the curve from progressing or worsening.
As the scoliosis progresses, the vertebrae twist round and the spine rotates. In the case of a thoracic curve, this will cause compression or constriction of the ribs and vertebrae, impairing vertebral growth on one side (aka concave) and the ribs to “spread”, stick out more on the opposite side (aka convex), a “rib hump” accompanied by a more prominent shoulder blade. Changes seen in a lumbar curve are forward rotated and higher hips on the concave side and lumbar muscle protuberance on the convex side.
Osteopathy focusses on treating the whole person, in order to relieve pain, improve mobility and gain strength to recover. In mild to moderate cases of scoliosis, that don’t require surgery, osteopathy may do all of the above things. Therefore, the main focus is to improve posture and muscular imbalances. This is achieved by a thorough assessment of the curve of the spine. Treatment will be aimed to release restrictions in the spine and surrounding tissues, combined with strengthening and stabilization exercises. Moreover, I will work with the patient to improve awareness, posture and proprioception.
If you have a Question you’d like to Ask Dr. Michael Horowitz, Vancouver Chiropractor, please use this Contact Form Below. We will respond promptly!