June is Scoliosis Awareness Month

Scoliosis xray being examined

A Guide to Scoliosis: Treatment, Symptoms, and Causes

Scoliosis occurs when the spine curves sideways. Although you may associate the condition with teenagers, it can affect adults too. An estimated 7 million people in the United States have scoliosis, according to the National Scoliosis Foundation.

Scoliosis Symptoms

The bony vertebrae that make up your spine normally form a straight line from the bottom of your back to the top of your neck. If you have scoliosis, your spine curves to the side, forming an "S" or "C" shape.

Scoliosis symptoms vary depending on the degree of curvature and may include:

  • Pain in the back, neck, shoulders, hips, or ribs
  • Uneven hips, shoulders, shoulder blades, or waist
  • Muscle spasms

If the curvature progresses, the vertebrae may begin to press on nerves and organs, causing difficulty breathing, heart issues, or constipation. Limited mobility and physical deformity may also occur.

Scoliosis in Children

Scoliosis usually becomes apparent during growth spurts in the pre-teen and teenage years. Fortunately, most children who develop scoliosis only have mild curvatures and may never need treatment. It's not always possible to determine the cause of scoliosis. The condition may be more likely to occur after an injury that affects the spine or if your child has muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy.

A scoliosis diagnosis can be a surprise to both parents and children. The condition is often detected during annual wellness exams or scoliosis screenings at school.

Your child's doctor may not recommend treatment unless the curve progresses beyond 30 degrees. If your child has been diagnosed with scoliosis, their spine will be X-rayed periodically. One or more of these treatments may be needed if the curvature continues to progress:

  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy exercises strengthen the muscles that support the back and improve flexibility.
  • A Brace: Wearing a back brace while your child is still growing can stop the curvature from growing worse in some cases. Braces are worn under clothing for up to 23 hours per day, depending on the type.

Scoliosis in Adults

Scoliosis that begins during childhood can continue to affect you during adulthood. You may experience minor worsening of your curvature as you grow older, which can trigger or worsen back pain, stiffness, and muscle cramps. Numbness in the legs may be a problem if a nerve becomes pinched.

You might develop scoliosis for the first time as an adult if the discs that cushion your spine begin to break down or you develop arthritis or spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis occurs due to the narrowing of the spinal canal that protects your spinal cord. Adult scoliosis can cause pain or numbness in your back and legs. Some treatment options include chiropractic, physical therapy, and short-term use of braces.

How Chiropractic Treatment Can Help

Chiropractic treatment may help ease scoliosis-related pain in both children and adults. When vertebrae become misaligned, they can press on nerves, causing pain. Muscle tension and spasms may also occur if your spine isn't properly aligned. Regular chiropractic treatments improve spinal alignment and may also decrease inflammation, improve nerve function, and increase flexibility and range of motion.

Twenty-eight adult scoliosis patients saw improvements in disability, pain, and Cobb angle in a study that appeared in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine in 2011. Cobb angle is used to determine the degree of side-to-side curvature. The patients completed a six-month exercise-based chiropractic program that began after the clinical part of their treatment was over.

Chiropractic treatment offers a simple, natural way to help you manage your scoliosis symptoms.

Sources:

National Scoliosis Foundation: Information and Support

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: Scoliosis in Children and Teens

Mayo Clinic: Scoliosis

Journal of Chiropractic Medicine: Outcomes for Adult Scoliosis Patients Receiving Chiropractic Rehabilitation: a 24-month Retrospective Analysis, 9/11

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Atlas Chiropractic of Sarasota

Monday:

9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

2:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Tuesday:

9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Closed

Wednesday:

9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Thursday:

9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

2:00 PM -5:00 PM

Friday:

Closed

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

  • "Dear Dr. Zabawa,
    I want to thank you for being my #1 healthcare provider.
    I have been under chiropractic care for 40 years and of the many chiropractors I have been treated by,
    you and your precise atlas adjustment are the best.
    It really is gentle and effective. I've had migraines, scoliosis, herniated L4-L5, and sciatica -
    and in the 11 yrs of being under your care I have had no problems or re-occurrence of any
    of my former symptoms.
    You are the best and I thank you."
    Judy B.
  • "Hi, I'll always remember the wonderful things you've done for me at Atlas Chiropractic of Sarasota.
    I thank Dr. Zabawa for getting me up and running!
    My last chiropractor said there was nothing else they could do for me, and I felt as if my life was over.
    (I couldn't even play video games without pain.)
    Now that I've been introduced to your atlas adjustments: I'm lifting weights again, working (making money),
    and yes - even playing video games. Wow!
    THANK YOU!!!!!"
    Lyle H.
  • "We've had 40 years of various types of chiropractic therapies (sometimes weekly),
    but have never felt truly aligned until now."
    Marsha & Alain M.
  • "I was diagnosed with scoliosis as a child, and through good habits & care have managed to avoid surgery.
    About 30 years ago my research into spinal maintenance led me to upper cervical chiropractic
    (specifically orthospinology) over general chiropractic.
    This is just phenomenal. When my atlas is adjusted and my spine is aligned, it is amazing how good I feel.
    It helps the nerves and muscles of the body function so well, and I believe it has been the key to slowing
    the spinal degeneration caused by my scoliosis.
    * And it's so non-invasive! *
    Now that I live in Sarasota, I am so glad to be under the care of Dr. Zabawa.
    It's no surprise that he came highly recommended. I have always been impressed with
    the professionalism and care I've received at Atlas Chiropractic of Sarasota.
    It compares to anywhere in the country."
    Kyle Ann M.
  • "Very thorough. Quick recovery after a car wreck!"
    Nathaniel B.
  • "For 3 years I had been having headaches every day.
    I even went to a neurologist for my headaches, but he said they were a condition of menopause :(
    A friend suggested going to Dr. Z because of the unique procedure he uses and the great results.
    Dr. Z took care of me and within about 3 months my daily headaches were gone.
    What a relief!
    I don't think I've had one since :)"
    Allaesia M.
  • "I lived in pain with an undiagnosed broken back for 23 years since a horse & buggy accident as a teenager.
    When I injured my back again as an adult, the x-rays showed that I had fractured a vertebra back then,
    as well as this time.
    I received some help from going to regular chiropractors in recent years, but still lived in pain.
    I am so thankful that I found Dr. Zabawa.
    After 35 years and lots of pain, within a month or so
    I was PAIN FREE!
    It is amazing how such small adjustments to the atlas vertebra in my neck have made such
    a big difference to my life.
    To this day, I come in periodically to maintain my new found health.
    Praise and glory to God."
    Mary T.