When people hear the word scoliosis, they usually imagine a bent over person with a twisted spine. Maybe the Hunchback of Notre Dame comes to mind too. Then, most people assure themselves that scoliosis isn’t something they have to worry about. In reality, none of those thoughts are true. Over 3% of people have a significant degree of scoliosis and even more have a form of scoliosis that many doctors don’t diagnose! You don’t have to be bent over like the Hunchback or in a wheel chair to have scoliosis. The severity of the curve in your spine can vary widely, but regardless of severity it isn’t just about looking deformed in a bathing suit. Unfortunately, for people with scoliosis, having to hem one pant leg or lower a shoulder in a blouse might be inconvenient, but that’s the least of their worries. Ask yourself this question: How many people over the age of 60 have you seen with scoliosis walking around and experiencing health at an optimal level? Not many! Why? Because people with scoliosis die early.
Scoliosis is a very serious condition that will shorten your life. Although we often think of the vanity side of scoliosis, we need to give it the attention and respect it deserves. Scoliosis is literally life & death and while the changes in your appearance are not positive, the crippling nature of this disease can be debilitating. I am not trying to scare anyone, just trying to wake you up. Unfortunately, the very people and places that are responsibility for scoliosis screening do not understand the severity of the disease or the complicated ways it needs to be accessed in order to be detected properly. In our school systems in America, gym teachers and school nurses are responsible for scoliosis screenings. Although they mean well and are good, honest people, they do not have the training or experience as a scoliosis specialist to detect all forms of scoliosis, especially at the beginning stages, when it is so important to treat!
I have been treating scoliosis successfully for almost 30 years and I have reached out to many schools in my area, year after year with an offer to come to their schools, with my equipment and staff, and screen kids for FREE! Unfortunately, not a single school has taken me up on my offer in 30 years! Why? I have no idea.
Sadly, my experience has shown me that people end up coming into my office later in life with a ridged spine due to scoliosis and they had no idea they had the disease. By then, the degenerative process has begun and the spine has already started decaying. Think about what happens when a tooth starts to decay: the dentist has to drill out the dead part of the tooth and fill it in with artificial material. Now imagine that process on your entire spine. Here’s what makes me so mad about scoliosis! It was all preventable with early detection. You can lose all your teeth and still live, but if you lose your spine, you will die. See, why I want people to wake up and understand the severity of scoliosis? It’s a matter of life & death!
To understand scoliosis and its effect on your entire health, imagine your spine bending, and with that bending the critical nerves that send messages to your vital organs can no longer function properly. Now the brain can not send critical messages to the heart, liver, stomach, kidneys, lungs, etc. This is why people with scoliosis suffer from shortness of breath, indigestion, reproductive problems, liver and kidney troubles, sciatica, headaches, back pain, and the list goes on. If the brain and nervous system get interrupted, health will be compromised, it’s unfortunately that simple and that severe. Now imagine you don’t have scoliosis, but you do have a spinal misalignment. Does that still interrupt your brain and nervous system function? Of course! If your spine is not protecting your nervous system, it may be causing nervous system interference and your overall health will suffer. Your symptoms might not be back pain, but they could be infertility, migraines, ulcers… just about anything. Fortunately, through research, education and experience, we understand how to treat scoliosis and spinal misalignments to cure or help the brain and nervous system function properly. With proper spinal alignments by experienced chiropractors, people with scoliosis, and those with spinal misalignments are able to live longer, healthier lives. We want to emphasize the LIFE part of scoliosis and we do just that for our patients!
Bottom Line: Whether you have scoliosis or a minor spinal misalignment, you need to have an appropriate evaluation along with x-rays to reveal the cause of the problem. With children this is especially important in the age range of 10-20 years, when scoliosis typically worsens. After proper evaluation, treatments should include spinal adjustments and spinal rehab exercises to correct and stabilize the affected areas. Finally, long term evaluations and alignments need to be made periodically for the remainder of life. Remember, it’s life and death and we want to emphasize LIFE! A long, healthy, pain free life – that is our goal!
June is Scoliosis awareness month. I hope you take a moment and consider not only your spinal health but your entire nervous system health this month.
– Dr. Pat