Scoliosis. It’s a word most of us have heard before. But do you know what it is or how to look for it? It’s a condition we see here at Pure Chiropractic, Nanaimo. Simply put, it’s a curvature of the spine. When you look at the spine from the front or back, it should be straight. Scoliosis occurs when the spine curves to the right or left. It is important to note that no spine is perfectly straight and slight curvatures are considered normal. A curvature of 10 degrees is the minimum to be considered true scoliosis.
Where does it come from?
The vast majority of cases of scoliosis are known as idiopathic, or unknown cause. Idiopathic scoliosis usually develops during teenage years at a growth spurt. Children that have large growth spurts in a short time seem to be particularly at risk. Most of the time, scoliosis is painless as it develops. However, later on in life degeneration sets in because the spine is not moving properly. This degeneration can be painful.
So if it is painless at first, how do I know if it’s there?
There can be some clues:
- One shoulder higher than the other. If the spine curves in the mid back it will raise one shoulder higher than the other.
- Rib humping. Lay face down on the bed. Have a friend crouch down by your feet and look up your back. If one side of your back sits higher than the other, you may have scoliosis. The ribs are bendy and as the spine curves to one side, the ribs will bow.
- One leg is longer than the other. Also when you are laying down, have a friend look at the bottom of the heels. Do they match up? Also, ever notice that you have to hem one leg more than the other in a pair of pants? If one leg appears longer than the other, a spinal scoliosis is a possibility.
*NOTE: These are screening tests ONLY. The only way to be sure there is a scoliosis is there is through a proper examination with a health professional. The above tests may in fact be normal when someone has a scoliosis. Standing x-ray examination allows for actual measurement of curves and is definitive for a scoliosis diagnosis. At Pure Chiropractic, we are happy to have on-site digital x-ray facilities for your convenience. From there, a proper course of action can be determined.