Scoliosis is an abnormal side-ways bending of the spine.
Scoliosis is an abnormal sideways curve of the spine that causes spinal pain, stiffness, degeneration and dysfunction. Most are idiopathic, meaning that a definite cause is unknown. Scoliosis can vary between a minor curve of a few degrees, to a life-threatening distortion. If scoliosis is detected early, treatment will prevent it from progressing and worsening over time.
A Chiropractor can help to identify a child or fully-grown individual with scoliosis just by viewing the person in a standing position, and observing the following:
• One shoulder being higher than the other.
• One shoulder blade may be higher or more noticeable than the other.
• There may be more space between the arm and the body on one side when the arms hang freely at the side.
• One hip may seem to be higher or more noticeable than the other.
• The head is not aligned with the pelvis.
• One side of the back appears higher than the other when the individual is viewed from the rear and asked to bend forward until the spine is flattened.
Studies show that people with scoliosis, especially girls (up to 9:1)
• are taller and slimmer than their non-scoliotic peers
• have problems with the gut that influence absorption of nutrients
• have hormone imbalances
• have distortions in the spinal cord and brain
• have differences in the make-up of muscles surrounding the curves
• tend to occur along family lines, suggesting a genetic influence
• have subtle, complex, yet important problems with balance
The best thing that a parent can do is have a Chiropractor check the child on a regular basis, say two to four times per year, so that any curvature development can be detected. However, in-home examination is also recommended as a way of early detection.
Much severe cases may require bracing or surgery.
Treatment of Scoliosis
Conservative treatment can often be successfully applied, especially in the early stages of the disease.
The following interventions have had some success in either preventing or reversing the progress of scoliotic curves. By combining treatments into a program tailored for each patient and adjusted according to response, it is often possible to avoid the more unpleasant, expensive or dangerous treatment options.
• Specific Chiropractic Adjustments, designed to correct dysfunction of skeletal structures and reduce the torsion in the spinal cord
• Use of foot Orthotics and Heel Lifts to level the pelvis
• Exercises specifically designed to address balance, co-ordination and proprioceptive (body awareness) problems as well as stretch the muscles around the curves and correct changes in muscle fibres
• Nutritional support and correction of gut function
Using the Chiropractic approach stabilizes the spine and prevents the scoliosis curves from progressing. Chiropractic care for scoliosis can be very effective, especially when the deformity is in the early stages. The treatment program requires a commitment by the patient, but if undertaken enthusiastically it has the potential to prevent the need for much more drastic treatments later on.
Hip, leg and foot problems are commonly the result of joint dysfunction and nerve irritation in the spine, pelvis or lower limb. They can also be caused due to over-use, or direct trauma to the area.
Why do problems occur?
1. Lumbar (lower back) or sacro-iliac (pelvic) dysfunction.
Malfunction of joints in the pelvis and lower back may interfere with nerves exiting the spine, resulting in referred pain, numbness, pins and needles or weakness in the legs. Nerves to blood vessels may also be affected, and can cause hot or cold changes, or pain in the legs.
2. Imbalance of other joints.
This may arise at the hip, knee, ankle or foot.
3. Muscle or tendon injury/imbalance.
Lower back, pelvic or other joint imbalances or muscle and tendon injuries frequently arise from:
Sudden trauma – including injuries from sporting or car accidents, or from falls, knocks and sudden jolts.
Overuse/excessive loading – resulting from repetitive strains from work, poor posture, carrying school bags on one shoulder, sporting activities, poor bedding/pillows or sleep patterns, incorrect footwear, etc.
Injury and poor function of joints can cause premature wear and tear, leading to osteoarthritis. Correct joint alignment, mobility, and muscle balance are essential in preventing degenerative changes.
Our chiropractic approach
Many common problems such as sciatica, bursitis, runner’s knee, recurrent ankle and knee strains/sprains, shin splints and metatarsalgia respond well to Chiropractic management. Poorly functioning joints of the spine or limbs interfere with nerve pathways, leading to weakness, poor co-ordination and breakdown.
Our approach is to:
• correct poorly functioning joints causing nerve irritation,
• improve muscle balance and strength,
• and to advise on rehabilitative exercises and preventative procedures.
At Better Health Chiropractic, we will examine your spine, pelvis, hips, knees and feet. X-rays or other scans may be taken. A course of treatments will then be recommended to re-establish normal function. Treatments may involve muscle therapy, strengthening exercises, and specific chiropractic mobilizations/adjustments.
Ongoing care may be recommended to assist in the maintenance of health, and for prevention of future problems for maximum benefit.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) is a common and very debilitating disorder. TMJ usually begins as pain, clicking and popping noises in the jaw during movement. If not properly evaluated and treated, TMJ problems can continue to worsen and lead to headaches, facial pain, ear pain and difficulty eating. Many chiropractors are specially trained to treat TMJ problems.
If you have a TMJ disorder, every time you open and close your mouth you put wear on the tissues of the jaw joint. It is accompanied by noises such as clicking, grinding, or crunching when you open and close your mouth. This can cause severe problems if not treated properly, so it is recommended that you seek treatment.
How can Chiropractic help TMJ syndrome
Chiropractic examination and treatment can help TMJ (jaw) disorders. At Better Health Chiropractic, the condition is treated through the use of specific muscle releases, mobilisations and stretching techniques. Various jaw exercises are then applied.
Most of the time, what is called a pinched nerve is actually an irritated, or inflamed nerve. When a spinal bone loses its correct position or motion, it can encroach upon where the nerve exits the spine. This causes one of the two types of nerve interference:
1. Compressed lesion or “pinched nerve”.
2. Facilitative lesion – where the nerve root is either stretched, twisted or rubbed against.
The treatment of this condition is the specialty of the Chiropractor. A Chiropractic examination can locate these areas of your spine and reduce their impact on your nervous system.
There are instances when nerves do become ‘pinched’, such as in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Sciatica and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. In each of these cases, injury, spasm or inflammation of the surrounding muscles and connective tissue causes the nerve to become compressed, resulting in pain. These conditions are referred to as “tunnel syndromes.” Treating tunnel syndromes is more complex than treating a simple spinal pinched nerves, but they usually respond very well to chiropractic care; especially when combined with other physical therapies, such as exercises and stretches.
Trigger points are very tight “knots” of muscle that form when muscles are either chronically overworked or injured, and are often experienced as a pinching or burning pain. Trigger points will commonly cause pain that radiates to other parts of the body, which is also known as referred pain. The successful treatment of trigger points usually requires a combination of chiropractic care, stretching and a form of deep tissue massage called ‘trigger point therapy.’
It is very important that the cause of any form of pain be properly diagnosed. This is especially important when nerves are affected as severe or long term irritation, or compression, of a nerve can lead to permanent nerve damage.
Discs do not actually “slip”. Rather, they may herniate or bulge outward.
A herniation is a displaced fragment of the centre part of the disc.
You may have heard the term “slipped disc” used to describe a low back injury. Discs do not actually “slip”. Rather, they may herniate or bulge out from between the bones. A herniation is a displaced fragment of the centre ‘jelly-like’ part of the disc that is pushed through a tear in the outer layer of the disc. Pain results when irritating substances are released from this tear and also if the fragment touches or compresses a nearby nerve. Disc herniation has some similarities to degenerative disc disease and discs that herniate are often in an early stage of degeneration. Herniated discs are common in the low back or lumbar spine.
What causes discs to herniate?
Many factors decrease the strength of the disc and increase the risk of disc herniation. Life style choices such as smoking, lack of regular exercise, and inadequate nutrition contribute to poor disc health. Poor posture, daily wear and tear, injury or trauma, and incorrect lifting or twisting further stress the disc. If the disc is already weakened, it may herniate with a single movement or strain such as coughing or bending to pick up a pencil.
How do I know if I have a disc herniation?
Herniated discs are most likely to affect people between the ages of 30 and 40. Disc herniations may be present without causing pain. The most common symptom will be pain in the area of the herniation that may radiate across the hips or into the buttocks. You may also experience numbness or pain radiating down your leg to the ankle or foot. If the herniation is large enough, you may notice weakness with extension of your big toe and you may be unable to walk on your toes or heels. In severe cases of lumbar disc herniation, you may experience changes in your bowel or bladder function and may have difficulty with sexual function.
How is a disc herniation treated?
Most disc herniations can usually be treated conservatively with stretching, exercise therapy and chiropractic adjustments.
Occasionally, a herniation may be severe enough to warrant surgical intervention. These cases are usually reserved as a last resort when other forms of therapy have failed to relieve pain, or if there is significant compression of the spinal cord or nerves
During pregnancy, a woman’s centre of gravity shifts forward to the front of her pelvis. This additional weight in front causes stress to the joints of the pelvis and low back. As the baby grows in size, the added weight causes the curvature of her lower back to increase, placing extra stress on the fragile joints on the back side of the spine. Any pre-existing problems in a woman’s spine tend to be exacerbated as the spine and pelvis become overworked, often leading to pain and difficulty performing normal daily activities.
Studies have found that about half of all expectant mothers develop low-back pain at some point during their pregnancies. This is especially true during the third trimester when the baby’s body gains the most weight.
Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy can relieve and even prevent the pain and discomfort frequently experienced in pregnancy, and creates an environment for an easier, safer delivery. It is one safe and effective way to help the spine and pelvis cope with the rapid increase in physical stress by restoring a state of balance. In fact, most women have found that chiropractic care helped them avoid the use of pain medications during their pregnancy, and studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments help to reduce time in labour.