How often should you have your Kids Checked for Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine as seen on the coronal (frontal) plane; usually, it is accompanied by a variable degree of rotation of the spinal bones (vertebrae). The typical age of onset for the adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is about ten years of age: early detections can lead to much better clinical outcomes. Therefore, it is a must for parents to have their children checked at least once every six months.

How to avoid worsening of Scoliosis?

Effective, timely scoliosis treatment and management plans should be prepared soon after detection. Scoliosis is a progressive disorder that often leads to ribcage deformities. The condition reaches its peak progressive stage during times of rapid growth. A scoliotic curve often continues to worsen progressively till the child stops growing (when they reach the age of skeletal maturity). The rate of progression is worse for kids under 12. Girls have a higher risk of developing more severe curvatures compared to boys.

The two most common Scoliosis Classifications:

Scoliosis curves are classified into two different divisions: structural and non-structural scoliosis.

Structural

Idiopathic (most common of all cases)

Congenital (spinal disc disorder or failure of the vertebrae to form or separate)

Neuromuscular (cerebral palsy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and myelomeningocele/ spina bifida)

Functional

Postural

Leg length discrepancy

Spinal disc disorder (which could also fall under congenital)

Idiopathic Scoliosis is scoliosis for which there is no definite cause, unlike neuromuscular or congenital types. Idiopathic scoliosis is further divided into three subcategories. These subclassifications are based on the patient’s age at the time of diagnosis:

  • Infantile – 0 to 3 years
  • Juvenile – 4 to 9 years
  • Adolescent – ≥10 years

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis is the most common form of scoliosis, accounting for between 80 to 85 percent of cases. The best and most accurate means of evaluation is through full spine X-rays. In addition to x-ray, MRI or a CT Scan can be helpful as they can provide information that a simple x-ray may miss.

Once diagnosed, it can be as described a mild, moderate and severe depending on the degree of curvature.

  • Mild – 10° to 25°
  • Moderate – 26° to 40°
  • Severe – > 40°
  • detect scoliosis
  • scoliosis normal abnorrmal

How to detect Scoliosis?

Your kid may or may not experience pain with scoliosis. Hence, to help with the detection, here are some useful tips on how to assess your kids at home:

  • Uneven shoulders where one shoulder appears to be higher than the other
  • Shoulder blade sticking out more on one side
  • Head is not centered and directly aligned above the pelvis
  • One hip is raised or unusually high
  • Uneven waist
  • The appearance or texture of the skin overlying the spine changes (dimples, hairy patches, color abnormalities)
  • The entire body leaning to one side
  • If any of the signs mentioned above are present, can do a simple test at home:

Have you child bend forward at the waist (as shown in the picture on the left) while you observe their spine from the back: Upon bending forward, ribs may be higher on one side of the spine. If the ribs are more prominent on one side, you will need to have your child thoroughly tested by a professional. In fact, we ask all parents, to bring their young kids to one of our centers and let one of our experts check them. Presently, all our centers offer a complimentary (Free of Charge) community scoliosis checkup from 2 pm until 4 pm. Please call a center near you to take advantage of our community service.

Even if the bending test at home is negative, you can always come to us and consult our Chiropractors. In our centers, the method that we use to manage a scoliosis patient is through a combination of research-based Chiropractic treatments coupled with clinical Physiotherapy and backed with treatments on specialized therapy systems and equipment that others do not have.

What to do when scoliosis is detected?

As soon as a scoliosis is detected, an effective treatment plan must be constructed to help prevent worsening of the condition. The primary goal of any scoliosis treatment or scoliosis management is to catch the curve early and initiate an effective treatment program with the aim of preventing the progression.

Many may claim that they can treat a scoliotic curve, but in reality, only a few possess the knowledge or skills for proper management and treatments of a scoliosis patient. Scoliosis is a complicated deformity that needs to be evaluated properly before initiating any therapy or treatment program.

Scoliosis is categorized by both a lateral curvature and vertebral rotation. The lateral curve coupled with rotation of spinal bones makes scoliosis a dangerous developmental condition. The term Rotatory-Scoliosis is given when both the lateral curvature and vertebral rotation (twisting) are present.

The most dangerous and most difficult type of scoliosis is rotatory scoliosis, and treatment plans must be constructed in a manner that can address both the lateral curve as well as the rotations. Our collaborative team of Chiropractors and Physiotherapists has established protocols on how to treat and manage even a rotatory scoliotic patient. Visit one of our centers to learn more about our services today.

Chiropractic adjustments (treatments) and Scoliosis:

Chiropractic adjustments may be helpful in restoring normal joint motion. But, with rotational scoliotic curves, side posture adjustments could worsen the progression of the curve. Treating the spine to correct its structural anomalies is more challenging in patients with scoliosis and requires more knowledge and skills as compared to treatments offered for neck or back pain.

In our centers, our chiropractors are experienced and well trained. They analyze X-rays in a detailed manner and practice a specialized method of low force chiropractic adjustment tailored to address the malfunctions holistically. For the scoliotic patient, our Chiropractors combine their skills and knowledge with the skills and knowledge of our clinical physiotherapists.

The adjustments a scoliosis patient gets is very different than that given to our neck, back or joint patients. Our scoliosis adjustments are specially tailored to overcome the structural abnormalities seen in most scoliosis. Visit one of our centers today to experience excellence in scoliosis care.

What are the therapeutic goals in treatments of a Scoliotic patient?

Our primary goal for scoliosis patients is to stop the lateral curvature from progressing. Once a scoliotic curve has advanced, chances of decreasing the curve decreases significantly, but it may still be possible. However, many centers claim to fully reverse the scoliotic curve, which is absurd. If a scoliotic curve can be reversed easily over a course of non-surgical treatments, spinal fusion surgeries, and bone grafts will not be needed at all. The main aim for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is focused on stopping the progression of the curve. Reduction in the scoliotic curve will be an added bonus along the treatment sessions.

How should scoliosis be monitored?

In our centers, we recommend every adolescent scoliotic patient to have X-rays done every three months and compare them with previous x-rays. In addition to full spine x-rays, there may be a need for a pelvis X-ray. A pelvic X-ray can help identify and monitor an anatomical short leg.

X-rays are exceedingly helpful surveillance tool if used correctly. A change in the degree of a curve can be a guide in establishing the next step in treatment procedures. However, some centers neglected the importance of taking the recommended follow-up X-rays. Some have even waited for a year or more before suggesting a follow-up X-ray. We know of centers that continue treating patients for a year or more without any follow-up X-rays: a practice that must be stopped.

Another common mistake in scoliosis management is the identification of an anatomical short leg. Anatomical leg length is studied best through weight-bearing X-rays (standing X-rays) of the pelvis: if a leg length discrepancy exists a heel lift may be needed. Once a leg-length discrepancy is diagnosed, measures should be taken to evaluate the need for a heel lift. Many clinicians and therapy centers fail to follow this simple protocol or fail to recognize that they have been inserting the heel lift improperly: on the opposite foot which can potentially increase the scoliosis curve further.

In our centers, our research-based Chiropractors take the time needed to assess a scoliotic curvature in detail before implementing any therapy session or recommending a heel lift.

Should you brace your Child?

We are not huge fans of bracing. The major issue with braces like Milwaukee and Boston is that they restrict patients’ movements since it is worn for 23 hours a day. Bracing weakens the core and back muscles, which will lead to more back problems in the future. Another issue with bracing is that they are not cosmetically appealing. Teenagers who are conscious of their appearance may develop confidence issues walking around with the bulky brace.

We encourage scoliosis patients to live a healthy lifestyle with enforcement of specific scoliosis exercises that our research-based Chiropractors and clinical Physiotherapists customize when needed.

Should you do Monkey bar Treatments for Scoliosis?

Some of the centers recommended monkey bar exercises for scoliosis. They may even have the patient hangs on to the bars while having another person or their therapists grab the pelvis and apply a downward pulling force. They do this in an attempt to provide tractional forces on the spine, similar to what the Greeks, Romans, and the Persian did 3000 years ago. This ancient method of treatment has no place in our modern society. It can be dangerous, as the therapists cannot gauge the applied forces. Pulling down in such crude manner can lead to injuries involving the shoulder, neck, upper back, mid back, low back, hips and even the knees.

Inversion tables and Scoliosis:

Some use an inversion table to treat scoliosis patients. Repeatedly entering an inverted state is believed to help elongate the spine, but will not likely have a permanent effect. Not only the effect does not last, placing a child or a teenager on an inversion table for 2 minutes or more can lead to dizziness and headache.

Scoliosis Treatments at a Chiropractic Specialty Center:

In our centers, we combine research-based chiropractic with clinical physiotherapy treatments backed by treatments rendered with specialized therapy devices. Our to-go-to technology is our RxDecom®: a specialized device specific for joints and discs.

The RxDecom® has been proven effective in the treatment of most spinal joint and spinal disc-related conditions. It provides gentle tractional forces targeting malfunction segments for better alignment and motion.

The RxDecom® can help with alignment and spinal mobility; it is similar to a traction machine but exceedingly advanced and smarter. It can target a specific spinal segment and has a pumping effect, which enhances the influx of nutrients into the discs. All these are aimed at repairing the damage around the discs and joints by improving blood flow through the vertebral endplates.

Advanced Methods of Scoliosis Treatments

Furthermore, our team of Chiropractors and Physiotherapists will prescribe specific exercises to target the area of curvature. Hence, the exercises that we prescribed are different from one individual to another. Further, our well-trained clinical Physiotherapists will perform soft tissue work on patients to strengthen the weakened muscles and stretch the tightened muscles. Other procedures recruited for the treatment of a scoliotic patient may include the use of Russian Stimulation, Interferential Current, and Therapeutic Ultrasound machine.

Our method of chiropractic adjustments is target specific for the affected region. In addition to specialized means of Chiropractic Adjustments, our Chiropractors may utilize a flexion/distraction modality to assist in the realignment and elongation of the spine. We do not use monkey bars or inversion tables. The systems and methods utilized in our centers are through advanced technologies. We frown on the caveman methods of spine care as it can lead to worsening or injury. Best of all, treatments in our centers are entirely pain-free. We believe that one does not need to experience more pain to get better. Our motto is More Gain when there is No Pain.