July 13, 2010 — The National Scoliosis Foundation estimates six million people in the United States are affected by a curvature of the spine and each year, at least 30,000 children are fit with a brace to correct scoliosis while another 38,000 undergo corrective surgery.
Dr. Carrie Oleston and Dr. Cindy Perkins are the founders of Back In Health Wellness Center in Lutz and not only diagnose cases of scoliosis, but often encounter adult patients with varying degrees of spinal curvatures who went undiagnosed as children.
“Many schools conduct their own scoliosis checks throughout the school year, but the effectiveness of the exam really depends on the skill level of the healthcare provider performing the tests, and unfortunately, most of the time, these screenings can miss the mildest of cases which can still affect a person the rest of their life,” cautions Oleston.
An x-ray will determine the presence of scoliosis, and when diagnosing a patient, Oleston and Perkins will observe a person’s gait, look for uneven musculature of the back or any un-leveling of the pelvis or hips, check for any prominent ribs or shoulder blades and inspect the spine for any damage, curvature, rotation or misalignment.
“A small percentage of the population is diagnosed with scoliosis as a result of a de-formation of the spine while in the womb or by having an association with a neuromuscular disorder such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy,” Oleston explains. “However, the remaining 85 percent of all cases are considered ‘Idiopathic,’ which has no known cause, is hereditary and generally develops during adolescence.”
Idiopathic scoliosis becomes more readily detectable in children between 10 to 15 years of age with girls eight times more likely than boys to develop a curvature progressing to the point where some type of treatment is required. Researchers have also determined that although scoliosis is genetic, there is no correlation between the severity of one generation’s curve to the next.
Both early awareness and an official diagnosis are key to determining appropriate and timely treatment to slow or prevent the progression of the curvature. “Options to remedy the alignment really depend on the severity of the curvature, the person’s age and the spine’s curve pattern,” says Oleston.
If detected and diagnosed in its early stages, scoliosis can be managed utilizing Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy, Physiotherapies as well as with therapeutic exercises. “We find patients respond well with spinal stabilization exercises which work to keep the muscles of the spine strong and balanced.”
Besides reaping the all-over health benefits, Oleston also advises regular exercise, such as swimming, which uses the whole body, as a great way to maintain proper balance of the musculoskeletal system.
Source: Back in Health Wellness Center, www.backinhealthwellness.com