Your spine is supposed to be stick-straight, so if you were born with a side-to-side C- or S-shaped curve, or you developed one as a child or adult, you’re bound to face some issues. This spinal deformity called scoliosis can range from mild to severe and doesn’t resolve on its own, but that doesn’t mean it always calls for treatment.
When it does, our team at Regency Pain & Therapy Institute can help. Keep reading to learn about the many treatment options for scoliosis.
Scoliosis affects about 9 million people in the United States and typically presents in kids between the ages of 10 and 15, although infants and adults can both develop the condition. Boys and girls get scoliosis at equal rates, but the condition tends to progress more in females.
Most cases of scoliosis are idiopathic (unknown), but some cases result from fetal vertebral abnormalities or result from neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy.
Determining whether you need treatment and, if so, what type depends on the following factors:
Our team discusses these issues with you and your child at length, as your answers indicate critical information that influences the treatment plan. We also run diagnostic tests, such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans, to get an accurate view of your spinal column and assess the curvature.
You have mild scoliosis if we measure a curve greater than 10 degrees. If the curve is 25-30 degrees, it’s a moderate but significant case, and 45-50 degrees qualifies as severe.
Scoliosis comes with disturbing visual symptoms, such as jutting ribs, uneven hips and shoulders, inability to stand straight, leaning, and an abnormal gait. Clothes don’t fit well, which can make children and adolescents feel self-conscious at a time in their lives when they desperately want to blend in with their peers. The good news is that treatments exist for managing scoliosis symptoms.
Mild scoliosis requires no treatment. However, it does require careful and regular observation to check for progression. We monitor children every six months and adults every few years. Girls are eight times more likely to have scoliosis that progresses to the point of needing medical intervention.
About 40% of adults with scoliosis experience progressive curvature, but it’s usually mild — about one degree yearly. Only 10% of those with a progressing curve experience severe changes.
If progression is slow or nonexistent, there’s no need for medical treatment.
For children with a 25-40-degree curvature, we may recommend bracing to prevent progression. Some braces are rigid and cover the front and back of the torso from the armpits to the pelvis, and others are soft, with only a few pieces of rigid plastic.
Braces must be worn 16-23 hours daily and are 80% successful at stopping curve progression for those who comply. They’re easily hidden under loose clothing and are generally considered comfortable after a breaking-in period.
Chiropractic care can’t cure scoliosis, but it can ease some of the related symptoms, such as pain and muscle spasms. However, it’s essential to seek care from an experienced chiropractor who understands spinal deformities like scoliosis. Dr. Mark Dirnberger specializes in neuromusculoskeletal and osteopathic manipulation and delivers skilled and compassionate care for scoliosis patients.
Like chiropractic care, physical therapy can help manage your scoliosis symptoms. Massage therapy, ultrasound, and heat and cold therapy can relieve acute pain. Also, targeted stretches and exercises, joint manipulation, and electrical stimulation can increase your range of motion.
Surgery is rarely the first course of treatment for scoliosis, but sometimes it’s the only solution. The procedure involves fusing two or more vertebrae together to prevent twisting and further progression of the spinal curvature, as well as a metal rod to straighten the spine. In children, the rod is flexible so it can grow with the spine.
If you suspect you or your child has scoliosis, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. Contact us to schedule an appointment at our Mansfield, Texas, office and find out if that curve in your spine needs treatment.