Scoliosis: Blausen.com, Wikimedia Commons
Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis: About one in every 10 adolescents has scoliosis to some degree. Many are mild; others require wearing an orthotic brace or having corrective surgery. Girls are more likely than boys to develop severe scoliosis.
Adult Idiopathic Scoliosis: Once skeletal maturity is completed, a patient with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is now said to have adult idiopathic scoliosis. It often becomes painful. Over time, the continuous asymmetrical use of the body, together with the advancement of the curve, accelerate the normal degenerative changes. The patient will have higher risk of spinal and extremity pain due to nerve compression. In severe cases, it leads to neurological (paralysis) or cardiopulmonary deterioration.
Degenerative Scoliosis: It starts after age 40. The change of alignment of the spine is due to degeneration of the discs and the facet joints.
"Idiopathic" means that the cause is unknown. However recent research studies, from a neurological perspective, have found convincing evidence that the cause of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and postural imbalance are strongly related.
The upper cervical region has abundance proprioceptive sensors that connect to the visual and vestibular systems. Upper cervical misalignment causes problem in interpreting the signals from the inner ears and the eyes resulting in asymmetry of muscle tone in the back muscles. The side with greater tone acts like the string of a bow, bends the spine toward it.
If the tension is released in a short period of time, the spine will straighten out. Otherwise, a curvature will be formed.
If the postural imbalance occurs after skeletal maturity, the curvature may advance very slowly. If the onset is before or during the adolescent growth spur, there will be a fast increase in curvature within a short period of time. The compression pressure on the concave side retards the vertical growth of bone on that side, so the unequal growth dramatically increases the curvature.
via Wikimedia Commons
In children and teenagers, scoliosis usually does not cause pain. When it does, it may be due to the curve in the spine is causing stress and pressure on the soft tissues of the spine: discs, nerves, muscles, ligaments, or facet joints. Without triggering the alarm of pain, it attracts attention only when significant postural distortion is produced. That is why children should have annual spinal examination.
In adult, scoliosis usually associated with pains of the neck, back and extremities.
By addressing the cause of postural imbalance, the Upper Cervical Adjustment has been found to be very effective in preventing scoliosis in children and in relieving sufferings of grown-ups.
Scoliosis can limit activity, cause pain, compromise heart and lung function, and lower self-esteem. The earlier the intervention, the better it is in preventing progression and lessening deformity.