How To Do A Basic Test For Scoliosis At Home - Chiropractic Life

Introduction

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that affects millions of individuals worldwide, with onset often occurring during childhood and early adolescence. Medical professionals worldwide emphasise the importance of early detection for effective management, and the chiropractic profession offers a simple yet effective bridge to identifying scoliosis in its incipient stages.

Understanding Scoliosis

Scoliosis comes in various shapes and sizes, each with quirks and characteristics. The most common types include:

Idiopathic Scoliosis: This form of scoliosis has no identifiable cause and typically develops during adolescence. It’s the most prevalent type, accounting for approximately 80% of all cases. Idiopathic scoliosis can vary in severity, from mild curvature that requires monitoring to more pronounced curves that may necessitate treatment [1].

Congenital Scoliosis: Unlike idiopathic scoliosis, congenital scoliosis occurs at birth and results from abnormal spinal development in the womb. It occurs when the vertebrae fail to form correctly, leading to spinal curvature. Although less common than idiopathic scoliosis, it requires specialised care to address the underlying structural abnormalities [2].

Idiopathic scoliosis doesn’t discriminate – it can affect children of all ages, backgrounds, and genders. However, certain factors may increase the likelihood of developing scoliosis or influence its progression, such as:

Age: While scoliosis can develop at any age, it most commonly emerges during adolescence, between the ages of 10 and 15 [3].

Gender: Although scoliosis affects both boys and girls, girls are more likely to develop progressive curves requiring treatment. However, boys tend to have a higher prevalence of severe curves requiring surgical intervention [3].

Family History: Scoliosis has a genetic component, with individuals with a family history of the condition at a higher risk of developing it themselves [3].

Growth Spurts:
Rapid growth spurts during adolescence can exacerbate existing spinal curves or trigger the onset of scoliosis in susceptible individuals [1].

Why do chiropractors care?

Chiropractors are trained to assess spinal health comprehensively, not just through the lens of pathology but also in overall function and alignment. Beyond addressing the initial, often painful, symptoms they are presented with, chiropractors have a proactive focus on the holistic wellness of their patients, often seeing them more frequently than medical doctors.

You could almost say it’s a more ‘hands-on’ approach to health – no, really, the word ‘chiropractor’ is derived from the Greek words ‘cheir’ meaning ‘hand’ and ‘praktos’ meaning ‘done’, which combined translates to ‘done by hand’. All jokes aside, this approach to care means regular chiropractic visits as a family could be pivotal in recognising and addressing scoliosis in its early stages. By identifying spinal deviations early, chiropractors can intervene with a targeted approach depending on the severity.

For minor scoliosis cases, specific adjustments (treatments), prescribed exercises, and lifestyle modifications might be used to mitigate progression and promote optimal spinal development [4].

For more severe cases, chiropractors recognise the value of interdisciplinary collaboration in optimising patient outcomes. In cases of severe scoliosis, they may work closely with orthopaedic specialists, physical therapists, and other healthcare providers to develop comprehensive treatment plans tailored to the child’s needs. By fostering a collaborative care approach, chiropractors ensure that children with scoliosis receive the multidisciplinary support necessary for long-term spinal health and overall well-being [5].

Can Chiropractic treatment help with Scoliosis?

In a 2017 study analysing chiropractic treatment for patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, 90% of patients achieved positive outcomes (Morningstar et al. 2017).

Using the SOSORT criteria:

51.7% of patients achieved curve correction
38.3% achieved stabilisation
In the curve correction group, the average total correction was 12.75°.

Overall, there was a 13% failure rate; however, this was due to the participants either not completing the program or having reached skeletal maturity before the program ended.

By addressing scoliosis in its early stages, chiropractors can often achieve better outcomes with less invasive interventions, potentially averting the need for surgical correction later in life.

Enhancing Quality of Life

So why is this all so important? Undetected or untreated scoliosis can significantly affect a child’s health and well-being. As the curvature progresses, it can lead to:

Chronic back pain and discomfort
Reduced mobility and flexibility
Breathing difficulties due to compression of the lungs and chest cavity
Psychological impact, including low self-esteem and body image issues

As you can imagine, over time, these physical and psychological issues could severely affect a child’s quality of life as they grow into adulthood, potentially causing lifelong implications [6, 7].

On the flip side, early detection of scoliosis can be life-changing for children. By identifying spinal irregularities in their infancy, chiropractors can intervene with targeted treatments to:

Prevent the progression of the curvature
Alleviate discomfort and improve quality of life
Promote optimal spinal health and function

By addressing scoliosis in its early stages, chiropractors can often achieve better outcomes with less invasive interventions, potentially averting the need for surgical correction later in life. Moreover, by fostering optimal spinal health, children are empowered to pursue active lifestyles and engage fully in academic and social activities, unhindered by the limitations imposed by untreated scoliosis [8].

Conclusion

As you can see, early detection of scoliosis is important for ensuring optimal growth and development in children. By emphasising proactive healthcare and adopting a holistic approach to spinal health, chiropractors play a role in safeguarding the well-being of young patients and empowering them to thrive—with or without scoliosis.

Perhaps you’re worried if your child has scoliosis? Check out our blog article on how to do a Scoliosis test at home.

References

[1] Latalski, M., Danielewicz-Bromberek, A., Fatyga, M., Latalska, M., Kröber, M., & Zwolak, P. (2017). Current insights into the aetiology of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, 137(10), 1327–1333. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00402-017-2756-1

[2] Cho, W., Shepard, N., & Arlet, V. (2018). The etiology of congenital scoliosis: genetic vs. environmental—a report of three monozygotic twin cases. European Spine Journal, 27(Suppl 3), 533–537. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00586-018-5604-2

[3] Konieczny, M. R., Senyurt, H., & Krauspe, R. (2013). Epidemiology of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Journal of Children’s Orthopaedics, 7(1), 3–9. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11832-012-0457-4

[4] Haggard, J. S., Haggard, J. B., Oakley, P. A., & Harrison, D. E. (2017). Reduction of progressive thoracolumbar adolescent idiopathic scoliosis by chiropractic biophysics® (CBP®) mirror image® methods following failed traditional chiropractic treatment: a case report. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 29(11), 2062–2067. https://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.29.2062

[5] Landauer, F., & Trieb, K. (2022). Scoliosis: Brace treatment – From the past 50 years to the future. Medicine (Baltimore), 101(37), E30556-e30556. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000030556

[6] Essex, R., Bruce, G., Dibley, M., Newton, P., & Dibley, L. (2021). A systematic scoping review and textual narrative synthesis of long-term health-related quality of life outcomes for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. International Journal of Orthopaedic and Trauma Nursing, 40, 100844-. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijotn.2021.100844

[7] Zaina, F., Marchese, R., Donzelli, S., Cordani, C., Pulici, C., McAviney, J., & Negrini, S. (2023). Current Knowledge on the Different Characteristics of Back Pain in Adults with and without Scoliosis: A Systematic Review. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 12(16), 5182-. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12165182

[8] Hresko, M. T., Schwend, R. M., & Hostin, R. A. (2018). Early Detection of Scoliosis—What the USPSTF “I” Means for Us. JAMA Pediatrics, 172(3), 216–217. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.5585