Ask the Chiropractor- this month is scoliosis month. How does chiropractic work with patients with a scoliosis? #healthy815 www.rockforddc.com
- Welcome to another edition of Ask the Chiropractor. I'm Dr. Brant Hulsebus, a chiropractor here in Rockford, Illinois. I am a third generation chiropractor. I am a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic and I am the official team chiropractor of the Rockford Icehogs, the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Black Hawks. So we do these little things called "Ask the Chiropractor" because somebody will come to me during the week with a question about chiropractic. And this is my attempt to answer those questions. So this week we're talking about the fact that the month of June is National Scoliosis Awareness month. And obviously, as a chiropractor we've seen our fair share of scolioses come through the clinic. What is scoliosis? Well, there's two types of scolioses that we talk about a lot. One is called idiopathic and then the other one is a functional scoliosis. So let me describe it. Let me describe what a scoliosis is first. A scoliosis is an S-shaped curve of the spine. And what happens there is you usually have one curve going to the left, one curve going to the right in order to balance out the spine. Usually it takes up the majority of the thoracic, where your ribs are, and your lumbar spine. Now the differences between the two. You see the first thing is, we have what we call the functional scoliosis. This is a scoliosis where somebody has developed a curve in one part of their spine and they have a counter curve to balance it out. These functional scolioses are the ones that chiropractors usually get great results with. These are the ones that you're the only one in your family to have it. This is one that you developed. This is not one that you were born with. This is one that we had injury down here, to the lower back and then account for that with a kind of counter twist to balance us off. That's what we call functional scoliosis. Now in idiopathic scoliosis. The idiopathic scoliosis, this is one that's usually handed down generation to generation, most commonly seen in girls. And this is the one that you're just born with. This is the one where you hear about the little kids that get the rods and stuff in their spines. So as chiropractors we see a lot of these too. And although we rarely ever see these fully go away, under chiropractic care the first thing we usually notice is the stop of the advance of the scoliosis. What do I mean by advance? Well, as we age, the curve usually gets bigger and bigger and bigger and more and more round. Usually under chiropractic care we see a freeze of the scoliotic curve. We see it's maintained exactly where it is. Also as chiropractors, we've learned that when you brace the scoliosis, the research shows that about half of them, when you take it off, they're actually worse. So as chiropractors, we try not to brace the spine. Instead of we try to strengthen the spine. We try to teach you things to make the spine stronger, help it hold in place better. So we're able to freeze it and make it stronger. The next thing we're able to do, a lot of times we're actually able to reduce it. A lot of times under chiropractic care, especially with the unique series of x-rays that we'll take, where we try to actually x-ray you, see how we can twist and turn you to try to make the spine look straighter in the x-ray and then we learn those motions. And then we learn how to take care of that spine better by learning those motions. So if we can twist and turn you and make your spine straight again then we know which forces will work the best on you, in order to take better care of you. So that's what we do here as chiropractors. So does a chiropractor cure scoliosis? Chiropractors can definitely make a scoliosis bigger, better, and stronger but as far as curing it and making it go away, those cases are not as common as other cases. Yes, there has been documented cases where people go under the chiropractor with the scoliosis and after receiving chiropractic care had the scoliosis resolve. I believe those are probably more functional scolioses, where some of those there was an injury and you've bent to the left and you got counter twisted to the right. And you kind of created a scoliosis. As far as the idiopathic scoliosis that took care of itself under chiropractic care. I find those cases to be little bit more rare. Not that I say, they don't exist. But I find them be a little bit more rare. And we definitely have some more advanced techniques and advanced ways to take care of a scolioses than we used to with the advent of imaging and stuff like that. We're able to come up with better theories and better principles to make things work better. So if you have a scoliosis or you think you have a scoliosis, a real quick way to check is to have a child walk up backwards against a full size mirror. And then what you do without telling the child is you take a marker and you can mark above and below each earlobe above each shoulder, each armpit, the top of the hips and maybe the knees and have 'em walk away. In theory, those lines should all say fairly level, but if you have one higher on the left the next one higher on the right, then we start to wonder whether or not there is a scoliosis. Now, the only true way to tell scoliosis is to have an x-ray taken of your spine. I know even myself, back when I was in elementary school they did a thing where they had us, you know, reach over and to come back up. And I was told I had a poor spine. Then I let the examiner know that my father was Chiropractor of the Year, that year. And they had me do it again and it turns out I'm okay. So I do recommend if you believe there's a scoliosis, I've seen people come in the office, before they were diagnosed to have a scoliosis. We took the x-ray and the spine was completely straight. So do not just go by an exam finding. An x-ray is very, very valuable too, to confirm the scoliosis. That's definitely something we would do here. We would take a full spine x-ray of you. If we suspected a scoliosis in a child. So, National Scoliosis Awareness month, if you know a female in your family with a scoliosis, it's worth getting checked. The sooner we see them , the more likely we can freeze them where they are so they don't get worse. If you come to see us, when you're 14 we can do a lot more with a scoliosis, then we can, if you're, let's say 44. So it's really, really important you get in as soon as you can and get checked. Also, you wanna start doing these exercises ASAP as soon as you can. The balance stuff, the core building strength and stuff like that. You want to do proprioceptive training exercises. You really wanna stabilize and strengthen those spinal core muscles. So you don't allow the scoliosis to advance. So that's it. That's all I have to talk about scoliosis, Scoliosis Awareness month. So if you know, if you're in the Rockford area and you want to get checked, stop by the office. We have one of those mirrors and we have some markers. We'll be happy to take a quick check on you. If you're not in the Rockford area, most local chiropractors would be happy to do a quick scoliosis screening for you to see whether or not you should proceed with the x-rays. If you need help finding a chiropractor, you just go to chiropractic.org. You'll find a Member of the International Chiropractic Association there. Otherwise, you can always just go to, my college, Palmer College of Chiropractic. You can find a doctor there too and they'll find you a Palmer graduate in your area. So, any other questions or problems, let us know. This segment's called "Ask the Chiropractor". So if you have a question about chiropractic or chiropractic care, please leave a comment below. Please shoot us an email. Please visit us at rockforddc.com, R-O-C-K-F-O-R-D-D-C.com. And you can leave us a message there also and maybe next week, when we come back, you'll be asked the chiropractor topic of the week. Other than that, stay healthy, stay strong. Remember if you have a question about chiropractic, ask a chiropractor, don't ask anybody else. Only a chiropractor has education in chiropractic. Most family doctors have no idea what we do. And they're a tough one to ask. No more different than I have no idea what a dentist does when he fills a cavity. I would ask a dentist about a cavity, not a chiropractor. Have a great day. We'll talk to you next time. Thank you.