Scoliosis is a chronic condition that affects six to nine million people in the United States. It’s usually diagnosed in children and teens aged 10-15, but can develop in infants, toddlers, and adults. Bracing can’t cure scoliosis, but it may help stall curve progression while the spine is still growing and developing.
Dr. Pamela V. Ford at Serenity Chiropractic & Family Wellness Center in Carrollton, Texas, offers outstanding chiropractic care for neck pain, sciatica, and headaches. She's also skilled in physical therapy and specializes in treatments that help relieve scoliosis-related pain.
Here’s what Dr. Ford and her team say about bracing for scoliosis, when it’s advised, and other treatments that help relieve your symptoms.
The causes of scoliosis
Your spine usually creates a relatively straight line from the base of the skull to the tailbone, essentially dividing your body in half when viewed from the back. However, scoliosis causes the spine to twist and curve laterally (sideways).
Scoliosis is sometimes apparent in infancy or early childhood due to changes in spinal development before birth or in response to neurological issues such as cerebral palsy or spinal cord trauma. You may also develop adult-onset scoliosis related to osteoarthritis or degenerative changes in the spine.
However, the most common type of scoliosis is idiopathic, meaning there is no known reason for the sideways spinal curvature. Usually noticed in late childhood or early adolescence, idiopathic scoliosis is classified according to the degree of curvature, ranging from mild to severe.
When you might need bracing for scoliosis
Many people have mild scoliosis that’s often discovered during a routine physical or noticed by a parent, coach, or gym teacher. You may not need bracing if the curve remains mild.
However, bracing can help children and teens by stalling the scoliotic curve’s progression during spinal growth and development. Your provider might recommend bracing if your child’s curve worsens, usually between 25 and 40 degrees.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, a scoliosis brace can prevent further curvature about 80% of the time when worn as directed. Fortunately, today’s braces are less cumbersome than those used in the past. However, you must wear the brace 16-23 hours daily for full effectiveness, and bracing isn’t helpful once you reach skeletal maturity.
If scoliosis progresses despite bracing, your child may need surgery to reduce the curve, which typically includes spinal fusion and rod placement.
How we can help with scoliosis
Dr. Ford’s focus in treating scoliosis includes lessening problems related to sideways spinal curvature and the increased strain it places on spinal discs, joints, nerves, and muscles.
For instance, guided physical therapy can reduce chronic back pain, poor posture, and muscle imbalances related to scoliosis. She can also help by creating a home exercise program that promotes strength and flexibility in the core muscles, tendons, and other structures supporting the spine.
Dr. Ford also offers spinal screening exams for all ages at Serenity Chiropractic & Family Wellness Center. Screening includes bone scans and imaging studies to assess for scoliosis. These imaging studies can also reveal whether your spine has finished developing.
If you or your child have scoliosis, Dr. Ford performs periodic monitoring exams to ensure the curvature is not progressing.
Schedule an exam with Dr. Ford today. Call Serenity Chiropractic & Wellness Center or request an appointment online.