Let's face it. If you have absolutely no curve in your spine, you are going to have issues. But there is the right kind of curve and the wrong kind of curve. If you're looking at a normal spine from the side, you need an S shaped curve from head to tailbone. However, if you're looking from the front or the back, if you can still see a curve, you may have SCOLIOSIS.
Scoliosis can be separated into two categories: structural and functional. Structural scoliosis is when the bones have grown and are shaped different as a result of scoliosis during development. These include the extreme cases of scoliosis. Functional scoliosis is where the bones are not necessarily misshapen, but the curve still exists. Instead, it may be related to imbalances that exist where the scoliosis occurs as compensation for these imbalances.
Now, let's talk aboutthe causes of scoliosis. An estimated two-thirds of cases are idiopathic, meaning it has no known cause but it can also be caused by congenital deformities, such as a wedged vertebra. Genetics are usually a big factor in idiopathic adolescent scoliosis (AIS). Another common factor is if someone has a leg length inequality. If one leg is shorter, then the body will have to compensate because the head needs to be closely in line with the body's centre of gravity.
How can chiropractic help?
For adolescents who have scoliosis, chiropractic adjustments will help correct the biomechanics of the spinal joints. Depending on the severity, this could help with the muscle tone on either side of the curve, and with the appropriate stretches and strengthening exercises, the progression of the scoliosis can be slowed down. If the scoliosis is purely functional, meaning the bone shapes are symmetrical, this can potentially be reversed.
Illustration by Beth MacDonald.
Dr. Shawn K. Exley, A.S., B.Sc., D.C.
Dr. Shawn K. Exley is the owner of Yaletown Chiropractic in Vancouver, BC. He graduated with his Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree from the University of Western States in Portland, Oregon. He has always had a desire to help others and shortly after being introduced to chiropractic, he saw how beneficial it was in supporting his active lifestyle.