Chiropractic care is a great way to treat scoliosis. About 3% of the U.S. population has some form of scoliosis – some who are born with it, and some who get scoliosis as they age. About 90% of scoliosis patients have a spinal curvature that is not severe enough to require surgery, yet is extremely painful because of how it affects the body’s anatomy (1). Symptoms can range from unnoticeable to severe, but even those with mild scoliosis can find the condition to be a painful detriment to their daily lives.
Most people turn to a physical therapist, orthopedist, or primary care doctor for scoliosis treatment, but you can also try chiropractic care.
In a normal spine, the vertebrae are stacked neatly on top of each other, with a disc of cartilage between each one. This cartilage provides cushioning and flexibility to your vertebrae as you move. With scoliosis, however, the spine curves unnaturally. Rather than resembling a neat stack of blocks, each vertebra tilts to one side. Scoliosis can be caused by other conditions or can arise seemingly out of nowhere as you get older.
Even with a fairly mild curvature, scoliosis symptoms can be quite painful. A lateral curve of the spine compresses the spinal discs on one side, causing those vertebrae to rub against each other. Without the proper amount of cushion between them, the vertebrae may even develop painful bone spurs. This misalignment can also strain your joints and pinch your nerves.
But scoliosis pain isn’t limited to your spinal column, your muscles and tendons are affected as well. If left untreated, spinal curvatures can get worse as the discs and vertebrae degenerate and gravity pulls the spine down further. In more severe cases, spinal deformity can even put pressure on the lungs or digestive system.
The only known method for straightening scoliosis is surgery, which is typically reserved for patients with curves that are 50° or more. All other scoliosis treatment methods including chiropractic care are designed to prevent the curvature from getting worse and to manage your symptoms to improve your quality of life.
Chiropractic care is holistic in nature, which means it looks at how the entire body functions as a whole. Its aim is to allow the body to heal itself by restoring proper alignment to the spine and other joints. A chiropractor for scoliosis can develop a non-invasive, drug-free scoliosis treatment plan that addresses multiple symptoms.
While chiropractors are unable to straighten your spine completely, you should see an improvement in spine curvature, pain, and disability rating among those with scoliosis. Through a combination of spinal adjustments and flexion distraction to stretch out thinned areas in your discs, a chiropractor can improve flexibility and range of motion while alleviating much of the pain. And when you can move more freely and easily, it becomes easier to perform the exercises recommended by your orthopedic doctor to strengthen the muscles supporting your spine.
Massage therapy can also be helpful. It relieves muscles that have been stretched and tightened by scoliosis. Abnormal curves in the spine create unnatural pressure and tension in your back muscles. Over time, your muscles become accustomed to these positions, and can form trigger points or become stiff and inflexible. An experienced massage therapist uses a variety of techniques like a Cranial-Sacral massage, Deep Tissue massage and Neural Relax therapy to relax muscles, release trigger points, improve circulation, and bring an overall sense of relief.
Finding a scoliosis treatment that provides pain relief without unpleasant side effects is as simple as seeing a chiropractor, Both chiropractic care and massage therapy are tools that work in conjunction with each other as well as your existing treatment plans. By removing the obstacles of misaligned joints, stretched muscles, and compressed discs, a chiropractor can maximize your well-being without drugs or surgery.