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Spinal Curvature

The spine or backbone provides stability to the upper part of our body and helps to hold the body upright. It consists of a series of irregularly-shaped bones stacked one on top of the other. The spine has two gentle curves, when viewed from the side and appears to be straight when viewed from the front. When these curves are exaggerated, pronounced problems can occur such as back pain, breathing difficulties and fatigue.

Common Disorders in Spinal Curvature

Scoliosis: It is a condition where the spine or backbone has an abnormal sideways curvature instead of appearing in a straight line when viewed from the front. The spine may form an “S” or “C” shape.

Lordosis: Lordosis is a condition characterized by the an excessive forward curvature of the lower spine and is sometimes called swayback.

Kyphosis: Kyphosis is characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine in the upper back or thoracic region that results in a round-back appearance.

Chiropractic Care for Correction of Spinal Curvature

Chiropractors may employ various techniques and therapies to address abnormal spinal curvature, such as scoliosis or kyphosis. The specific approach will depend on the type and severity of the curvature, as well as the individual patient's condition. Here are some common methods used by chiropractors:

  • Spinal Adjustments: Chiropractors use manual manipulation techniques to adjust the spine's alignment and improve its curvature. These adjustments can help reduce pain, improve spinal mobility, and enhance overall spinal health.
  • Therapeutic Exercises: Chiropractors often prescribe specific exercises to strengthen and stabilize the muscles supporting the spine. These exercises can help improve posture and maintain a more normal spinal curvature.
  • Postural Correction: Chiropractors may focus on correcting poor posture habits that contribute to abnormal spinal curvatures. They may provide guidance on ergonomic improvements in daily activities and recommend posture-correcting exercises.
  • Bracing: In cases of scoliosis, especially in children and adolescents, chiropractors may work in conjunction with orthopedic specialists to recommend and monitor the use of braces. Bracing is aimed at preventing further progression of the curvature.
  • Spinal Traction: Chiropractors may use spinal traction devices or techniques to stretch the spine gently. This can help relieve pressure on the discs and potentially reduce the curvature's severity.
  • Soft Tissue Therapies: Chiropractors may employ soft tissue techniques like massage or myofascial release to reduce muscle tension and improve flexibility around the affected area.

The treatment for scoliosis is based on the assessment of the curve, cause, and your age. Mild scoliosis (less than 25°) may not require treatment and will be observed by your physician every 4 to 6 months for any progression in the curve. Bracing may be needed if the curve is more than 30° to help to slow the progression of scoliosis.

The treatment for lordosis depends on the severity of the condition, age and any neurological defects if present. In cases of mild lordosis, no treatment may be initiated and we may recommend a ‘wait-and-watch’ approach and observe the curve every 4 to 6 months. If any progression is observed in the curve, treatment may be initiated. Physical therapy may be recommended to increase the range of motion, flexibility, and strength. Analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to relieve pain and inflammation. Bracing may be necessary to prevent the curve from worsening.

The treatment for kyphosis depends on the cause of the condition and may include bracing, physical therapy, medications, and surgery. Bracing may be necessary to prevent the curve from worsening if the cause of kyphosis is Scheuermann’s disease. Physical therapy may be recommended to increase your range of motion, flexibility, and strength. If caused due to osteoporosis, medications may be prescribed to prevent future compression fractures.

The effectiveness of treatment for abnormal spinal curvature can vary depending on factors such as the type and severity of the curvature, the patient's age, and overall health. Chiropractors often work in collaboration with other healthcare professionals, including orthopedic specialists or physical therapists, to develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to the individual's needs.