A great article from a great doctor! Our friend Dr. Allie Mannis at LiveFree Chiropractic in Juno Beach, FL wrote this, and we wanted to share! Here’s her article in full:
My Child Might Have Scoliosis….Now What?
Scoliosis is something that most children are screened for at school, yet most parents don’t truly understand the long-term effects it can have on a child’s health. Scoliosis is defined as an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. This means that when you are looking at someone from the front or back, the spine should be as straight as possible with no curving to the right or left side. Unfortunately, this is not something we can detect early enough just from merely observing our own children on a day to day basis. Often times, by the time a scoliosis is noticeable to parents, it is moderate to severe. The key is to detect scoliosis early to prevent it from getting worse and causing health problems in your child.
How would my child get scoliosis?
The spine is made up of 24 moveable vertebrae. During birth, it is possible for a spinal bone (vertebra) to misalign. This may be unnoticed by the parents and the birth professionals because 90% of the time, there are no symptoms involved with this misalignment. Chiropractors call this a subluxation. If this bone does not misalign at birth, it is likely that it will occur at some point as they are learning how to walk, ride a bike, play sports, etc.
Just like a house needs a solid foundation to be built, so does the body need a solid foundation to grow. If even one vertebra is misaligned by even 1 mm, this could cause your child to develop and grow unevenly, unbalanced, and “crooked.” Scoliosis is usually detected and diagnosed during puberty (age 11-14) and if it goes unnoticed during this time, there is a chance of permanent spinal damage.
In order for your child’s spine to grow properly, these misalignments need to be addressed at a young age, BEFORE a scoliosis can occur. Chiropractors specialize in adjusting vertebrae in the spine to align them properly to promote normal growth and development.
What are the health problems associated with scoliosis?
The most common problems we see with children with scoliosis are postural distortions and back pain. Because the spine is not in it’s proper position, the muscles and ligaments surrounding the spine are affected. Scoliosis can cause muscle spasms, inflammation, and aching around the spine. Because the rib cage is also connected to the spine, any shifting of the spine also means shifting the rib cage, which protects your child’s heart and lungs.
Because the nervous system is safely protected by the vertebrae, a deviation in the spine can put pressure on the nerves going to some of your child’s vital organs. This could cause dysfunction in organs and lead to problems such as lower immune system, asthma, acid reflux, or digestive issues.
How can a chiropractor help my child with scoliosis?
The best way to prevent scoliosis is by early screening from a chiropractor. There are medical doctors who specialize in the spine and they are effective in treating scoliosis once it is severe, but as far as prevention goes, there is not much they can do. Some doctors will recommend a brace, which can help prevent an existing scoliosis from getting worse, but if any vertebrae are out of alignment, it will only be treating the symptom, not the cause. Chiropractors are specially trained to analyze and adjust the spine in children and adults and will use the least invasive method possible.
Chiropractic adjustments are specific, gentle, and safe. Not only will chiropractic address the child’s scoliosis problem, but it could also prevent several health problems later in life that could have resulted from a severe scoliosis. Prevention is key, so paying attention to your child’s posture and symptoms is important, but assuring that their spine is in proper alignment from a young age will give them the best outcome and optimal health.