You have been just informed that your child has scoliosis and your first reaction is panic, followed by guilt. After all, you think you should have noticed it first. You’re the parent. Most parents don’t know what scoliosis is, how to detect it, or what to do about it.
Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine. The spine is bent laterally (sideways) compared to a normal spine which is straight.
In advanced cases of scoliosis there is pressure placed on the heart, lungs, and other organs. Advanced arthritis can also develop in areas of the spine under greatest stress. Posture is affected along with clothes fitting improperly. Athletic ability can be compromised. Your child’s self-esteem suffers. Overall scoliosis is a situation best avoided.
Although medical literature says more girls are affected than boys I have noticed that in my practice it is about equal.
There are 2 types of scoliosis:
Fixed – this is caused by genetic malformations of the spine and is rigid. You are basically born with it and the curve remains no matter what movements or positions are assumed. It represents about 5 percent of all scoliosis. Chiropractic care for this type is supportive. It keeps the nerve interference to a minimum.
Functional – also called idiopathic (no know cause) represents 95% of all scoliosis. This curvature can “straighten” when a child assumes certain postures or positions.
The usual medical approach to scoliosis is a “wait and see” attitude which is very frustrating. It is hoped the spine will improve or at least not worsen over time.
A number of “breakthrough” treatments have proven to be relatively unsuccessful: body casts, corsets, muscle stimulator implants. Curvatures that progress rapidly are eventually scheduled for spinal surgery where steel rods called Harrington rods are screwed into the spine in the hope of straightening it.
As parents you need to be aware that scoliosis does have a cause and doesn’t just affect your child out of the blue.
A child’s development of upright posture, walking, sitting and movement is a critical period of time. The developing nerve system received and adapts to information received from its’ environment. The child learns new postural patters, future habits and reactions by responding to repetitive stimuli. The response of the young nerve system is neither “good” nor “bad” but adaptive to the data it is being fed. This process of nerve system “learning” or “programming” begins shortly after birth and continues into adolescence. This means the nerve system causes some muscles of the spine to become tight and others to relax.
Vertebral subluxations (spinal misalignments) cause functional scoliosis. How? A misaligned vertebra affects the way the nerves system transmits and processes information about its’ internal and external environment. The subluxation causes the input to the nerve system to be perceived incorrectly and as a result the outgoing response is incorrect leading to improper muscle activity producing a spinal curvature. The scoliosis is the result of long standing vertebral subluxations that the nerve system is attempting to adapt to.
Scoliosis is one example of the effect of abnormal nerve system function resulting from vertebral subluxation.
In the Chiropractic care of children the early detection and correction of vertebral subluxation reduces or eliminates the constant, chronic faulty data that disturbs nerve system function. This eliminates improper and inefficient nerve habits. These habits if left uncorrected will result in the chronic, devastating health problems of adulthood.
All children should be checked by a Chiropractor for vertebral subluxations.