Suffering from Scoliosis? Let your Arlington Heights Chiropractor, Dr. Kevin O'Hara, help you out. Scoliosis is defined as a sideways curvature of the spine that causes stiffness and pain. Because its cause is not known, scoliosis is referred to as an idiopathic disease. Most common among females, scoliosis starts in childhood, affecting only 2 percent of the population. If scoliosis is detected early, it can be treated to prevent it from getting worse.

The word “scoliosis” is Greek and means curvature. Those with scoliosis have a sideways spinal curvature that takes the shape of an "S" or "C." Because the vertebrae can rotate at the spine’s thoracic level, this causes a curvature that forms a hump near the rib cage. A curve greater than 60 degrees is considered serious. While spines should have a normal healthy curvature, scoliosis is an unhealthy curve that causes the waist or shoulders to align unevenly. Adjusting your posture will not correct the problem.

There are some instances where a degenerative spinal disease such as osteoporosis causes scoliosis. But this usually occurs in older people. Osteoporosis softens the bones of the vertebrae and causes them to bend and curve into one of the shapes consistent with scoliosis or kyphosis (round back). If not treated properly, these conditions can develop into further problems, including severe back pain, deformity, and breathing difficulties.

A chiropractor will look at a patient's overall well being and heath to determine the best therapy to help improve incorrect spinal curvatures. Examining the spine, and considering lifestyle factors are also consistent with finding the best treatment options. To aid in identifying the problem's cause, O’Hara Family Chiropractic will discuss your symptoms, any previous injuries, family health history as well as your recreational and work-related activities.

The Adam's Forward Bending Test is also used in scoliosis examinations. This is the same test that is often used at many schools in their physical education classes. This test requires that a person bend forward at the waist while the doctor makes an assessment of the spinal alignment and looks for abnormal prominences or humps. Other methods of evaluation include measuring a patient's leg length to determine evenness and performing a range-of-motion test to measure one's degree of mobility at the waist. If necessary, we will refer you to a scoliosis specialist for further examination and or treatment.

There are several options in treating scoliosis to lessen pain and maintain normal functionality. These treatments include an orthopedic brace, which prevents further curvature while not limiting the patient's physical activity, and moist heat to lessen the pain. In extreme scoliosis cases and only after continuous observation demonstrates that a brace is insufficient at helping the patients, the doctor will suggest surgical procedure. Spinal fusion and instrumentation requires rods and hooks to be surgically inserted in the back to help the spine align and prevent any further curvature.

To experience scoliosis relief, let your chiropractor regularly determine the progression of your scoliosis and perform necessary treatments so you can lead a full and happy life. Regardless of the treatment chosen, regular physical therapy is encouraged to aid in increasing muscle strength and mobility. If you have any questions about your physical limitations, call O’Hara Family Chiropractic

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