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Scoliosis Pain in Winnipeg? Here's what you need to know.

X-ray of scoliosis patientHave you ever stood in front of a mirror and noticed that one of your hips is higher than the other? Or had a friend in a yoga class point out that your ribcage stays raised when you do a forward fold? How about adjusting your shoulders so they look like they’re even? Have you ever noticed pain or discomfort in any of those areas? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have scoliosis.

Scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curve in the spine. It often occurs during the growth spurt we have before reaching puberty. Scoliosis may run in families, so it is important to know your family history of Scoliosis. You can be born with scoliosis, or develop it in childhood, teenage years or even adulthood. In some cases, scoliosis can be caused by conditions such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy; unfortunately, outside of that it is unknown what causes scoliosis in people without those conditions.

Most cases of scoliosis are mild and may not cause issues later in life, but it can start to become severe as we continue growing. Severe scoliosis can be dangerous, depending on where the abnormal curve sits in the body the amount of space you have in your chest can be decreased which can lead to difficulty breathing.

If a scoliosis curve continues to get worse, the spine may also begin to rotate or twist in addition to curving. This causes the ribs to stick out further on one side of the body than the other.

These abnormal twists and curves in the spine can lead to pain and stiffness later in life. The pain felt may be related to the discs in your spine being compressed, the stretching, squishing and irritation of nerves, and strain on joints that may become worn down or inflamed in abnormal places. Scoliosis also negatively impacts posture, which means our muscles start to tighten in some places and not others which can lead to fatigue and aching.

How do you know that you have scoliosis? The symptoms to look for are usually easy to spot:

  • A head that doesn’t appear to be centered with the body
  • Uneven shoulders
  • One shoulder blade protruding more than the other
  • A ribcage that is rotated forward on one side and not the other
  • One hip higher than the other
  • One hip twisted forward or backward more than the other
  • A visible curve seen in the spine from behind

What can you do if you suspect that yourself or your child have Scoliosis?

In children it is important to catch Scoliosis early. The brains in children may not catch that their posture is out of alignment and will therefore not send messages to their muscles to tell them to fix the curve. This means the spine will continue its abnormal growth.
Doctors may take regular X-rays to document the progression of the curve to determine what type of treatment is needed.

In adults a doctor’s appointment may include assessing where your pain is and body function in the areas affected by the curve. X rays may be taken to diagnose the severity of the curve and decide on a course of action.

Once the Scoliosis is confirmed and you know how far along the curve is, you can begin working to treat Scoliosis. It is unclear whether Scoliosis can be fully reversed, but you can manage your pain and stop the Scoliosis from progressing and getting worse.

  • Visit a Chiropractor. Chiropractors are trained to know what Scoliosis looks like and using manual adjustments to the spine can help to restore movement and functionality in the spine. They can also relieve pressure off other joints that are being overworked. They can also continue to monitor the progression of the curve and recommend appropriate courses of action. Dr. Klassen has been helping people with Scoliosis for 8 years and will tailor his treatment to you.
  • In children it may be recommended that they wear a brace. The brace will not reverse the curve, but it can help to prevent it from becoming worse. Braces can be uncomfortable, and it is important to continue to strengthen the muscles in the back when not in the brace, to prevent atrophy.
  • Engage in exercises that help strengthen your abdominal and back muscles such as swimming, yoga, Pilates and basic stretching.
  • Massage can be helpful to release tension in muscles that are working harder than they have to because of the spinal curve. Massage can also help with pain management.
  • Scoliosis can be emotionally challenging, especially in children. If necessary, find a support group or someone to discuss your journey with.
  • In the most severe cases of Scoliosis surgery may be recommended. The surgery usually involved fusing vertebrae together or inserting metal rods to keep the spine in place. There are complications that can arise with this surgery and it should be thoroughly discussed with a professional and used as a last resort.

Scoliosis is estimated to affect 2-3% of the population (National Scoliosis Foundation, June 2007), which may not seem like a lot, but it means that if you’re suffering from Scoliosis related pain you are not alone. Dr. Klassen has helped many patients with Scoliosis get back to not just their usual selves, but a healthier happier version! There isn’t anything to lose by booking a consultation, but there is a lot to gain.

WORKS CITED

National Scoliosis Foundation. (2007, June). Early Detection. Retrieved October 1, 2019, from http://www.scoliosis.org/early-detection/.

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