Scoliosis is one of those scary medical words that conjures fearsome pictures of unwieldy back braces and even surgery. It is true, when the scoliosis is structural and involves malformed or unevenly shaped vertebral bones- think of a tower built from uneven building blocks, it can be a serious condition that may require either of those treatments.
There is another kind of scoliosis however, the one we at SHIFT are more directly concerned with. Known as Functional Scoliosis, it occurs when the bones of the spine are formed and shaped evenly, but there is nonetheless curvature in one or more directions. This condition is usually caused by uneven muscle tone creating more tension on one side which, over time, can pull the spine into imbalanced curves. Symptoms may include migraines, occasional vertigo, back pain, muscle spasms, different leg lengths, and loss of vitality.
The Good News:
The good news is that Functional Scoliosis can be responsive to non-invasive, conservative treatment with a real potential to straighten. The posture muscles are controlled by nerve signals coming from the brainstem, which is located in the upper neck, also known as the upper cervical region of the spine. If there is a misalignment of that particular area, it can cause those very same nerve signals to become strikingly imbalanced, which in turn leads to muscle imbalance. By correcting the nerve interference in the upper neck with a specific chiropractic adjustment, improvements in scoliosis have been seen, all without bracing, surgery, or other intense therapies.
It is very important to note that these issues need to be addressed while the patient is still in adolescence before the bones fully form abnormally because of the presence of imbalance. The older a person is, the more difficult it becomes to address spinal curvature, particularly with non-invasive, conservative treatments. This is why upper cervical care is important early in life to ensure that the spine develops in a balanced fashion.