With the arrival of summer, June also heralds the start of Scoliosis Awareness Month. The Scoliosis Research Society declared this month a key time to focus on detection and early treatment for this condition, which affects nearly 3% of Americans. Typically detected between the ages of 10 and 15, scoliosis is characterized by an abnormal lateral (sideways) curvature of the spine. Curvature can range from mild to severe, and may cause pain, low self-esteem, and in severe cases, issues with movement or breathing. In children, bones are still growing and developing, which presents an opportunity to prevent further progression of scoliosis with a back brace. For teens and adults, however, the adult bone structure has set, and braces are not common interventions.
Early detection of scoliosis is the very best way to minimize progression of spinal curvature or the need for surgery later on. Methods of detection can include in-school screenings, regular pediatric physical exams, and evaluations by a DC (Doctor of Chiropractic). In fact, DCs can play an important role in both detection and treatment for scoliosis. In a study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, adults with moderate-severe scoliosis enrolled in an exercise-based chiropractic treatment program saw significant improvements after six months. Not only did more than 75 percent of participants experience reduced Cobb angles (decreased curvature), but pain and disability scores also improved and maintained this improvement even after a two-year follow-up.
Chiropractic treatment shows promise for non-surgical and non-invasive treatments for scoliosis. June is a key time to raise awareness about the importance of scoliosis detection and treatment, and advances in non-surgical alternatives such as chiropractic treatment are offering individuals with this condition more options than ever to manage scoliosis safely and effectively, and improve their quality of life.