For a variety of reasons, scoliosis is a condition that seems mysterious to many people — even those who have the condition themselves! It is fairly common among people of all ages, with more than four million people in the United States alone who have been diagnosed with scoliosis. And yet, misinformation and misunderstandings of the condition persist.
As a scoliosis expert, I get asked numerous questions about the condition on a frequent basis. And I am happy to educate, inform and empower those who come to me seeking answers. To me, clearing up the confusion around scoliosis is an essential aspect of my job.
As a scoliosis chiropractor, I have a uniquely valuable perspective on the condition. It’s a perspective that has been informed by a lifetime of interest, experience and education. Most importantly, my knowledge of scoliosis grows every day thanks to my direct interactions with those who must live with the condition. They amaze me with their dedication to treatment and their passion for understanding scoliosis.
Why Understanding Scoliosis Matters
I decided more than a decade ago that I would use my expertise, talent and knowledge to focus solely on scoliosis. I saw patients in my chiropractic practice who were scared, confused and frustrated, and I knew I could do more to help them. I was also becoming increasingly frustrated by the conventional wisdom surrounding scoliosis.
These days I work almost exclusively with scoliosis patients. When I am not practicing as a scoliosis chiropractor, I can be found speaking to others about the condition. This has taken me around the world, and it has introduced me to a wide spectrum of patients. What’s more, every single member of my staff here at the Scoliosis Reduction Center is someone who has experienced the condition, and has experienced relief from chiropractic-centered treatment.
There is a clear and undeniable correlation between an accurate understanding of scoliosis and a patient’s ability to make proactive, healthy choices. The more patients and their families know, the more they can feel empowered to treat the condition effectively. They don’t need to feel scared about inevitable surgery, and they don’t need to live in confusion as they watch and wait.
In my interactions with patients and their families as a scoliosis chiropractor, I hear many of the same questions repeated. In the interest of helping as many people as possible, I thought I’d highlight some of those questions here, providing answers that readers can trust.
Let’s get started!
Q: “I have scoliosis — does that mean my child will get it, too?”
A: The quick answer is no. Most cases of scoliosis are idiopathic, which means that there is no single, known cause. Also, we know that scoliosis is not hereditary. Yes, there may be genetic predispositions, but that does not guarantee that a member of a family will develop the condition.
That being said, parents who have scoliosis can be proactive by keeping an eye on their children and watching out for scoliosis symptoms. Although it is not hereditary, family members are often exposed to the same conditions that may contribute to scoliosis. The earlier it is detected, the more simple and effective chiropractic-centered treatment will be.
Some of the early signs to look for include:
One leg seems to be longer than the other
Clothes fit awkwardly
There is the presence of a “rib hump”
The head appears to be “off center” compared to the rest of the body
Spinal curvature is visible to the naked eye
The bottom line is this: if you have scoliosis, it does not mean that your child will also develop the condition. However, being proactive and aware will help you create the best-case scenario for treating your child’s scoliosis, should they develop the condition.
Q: “What is the Cobb angle?”
A: The Cobb angle is the most widely recognized measurement of a scoliosis curvature. Usually, it is measured by looking at an X-ray, which means that it is a measure of two-dimensional space. This means that the measurement is limited, since scoliosis is a three-dimensional condition. Conventional doctors who do not specialize in scoliosis may be able to tell that an abnormal curvature exists, but they do not have the expertise to measure a curvature accurately by looking at a single X-ray. That’s why the Cobb angle measurement, by itself, can lead to a flawed understanding of the condition.
As a scoliosis chiropractor, I use multiple X-rays from numerous angles to measure the true Cobb angle and gain an accurate sense of the curvature in three dimensions. Scoliosis is treated most effectively as a three-dimensional condition; that’s why we make sure we assess it three dimensions, too.
Q: Is scoliosis surgery inevitable?
A: No. Although observation and surgery are the conventional methods of treatment, patients should understand that surgery doesn’t have to be inevitable. In my opinion, surgery should only be seen as a last resort for patients who have tried chiropractic-centered treatments unsuccessfully, or those whose lives may be threatened without it. In my experience, abnormal curvatures can be treated effectively without surgery.
Q: Is bracing necessary to treat scoliosis?
A: It depends. Scoliosis braces such as the Boston Brace or Milwaukee Brace are commonly prescribed to adolescent patients, but they are nominally effective. Patients who undergo the conventional treatment approach are still placed on a path that leads to surgery.
Here at the Scoliosis Reduction Center, we use bracing technology for many of our patients, but it is always used in conjunction with chiropractic care, physical therapy and exercise. The braces we use also operate differently than the conventional ones. Traditional braces squeeze the spine, limiting function. Our braces push the spine in a manner that allows for correction of a curvature. They are also easier to wear in addition to being more aesthetically appealing.
Q: Can I die from scoliosis?
A: It is extremely unlikely. Scoliosis doesn’t present a threat to patients’ lives unless the spine’s curvature becomes so severe that it threatens internal organs. This is extraordinarily rare, though. What is more likely to threaten a patient’s life is surgery.
Scoliosis can cause pain, discomfort and emotional hardships, but patients and their families need not worry about it being life threatening. With a chiropractic-centered approach to treatment, curvatures can be reduced, providing relief to the body and its internal organs. When we reduce curvatures, we also reduce the need for surgery in the future.
Any More Questions?
I’ve addressed some of the more commonly asked questions here, but I know I’ve only scratched the surface. If you have questions for the scoliosis chiropractor, I am happy to help you find answers! For more information and knowledge, call the Scoliosis Reduction Center today at 321-939-2328.