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Adult Scoliosis: Diagnosis, Measurements, and Chiropractic

Adult Scoliosis: Diagnosis, Measurements, and Chiropractic

Scoliosis in adolescents and teens can be corrected with proper bracing, adjustments and lead a normal life. For adult scoliosis correcting the problem is more difficult. Fortunately, cases of adult scoliosis are rare. Scoliosis cases that follow from childhood into adulthood require a comprehensive diagnosis to determine severity. Thoracolumbar scoliosis adult-onset scoliosis requires an understanding of the catalysts to develop an effective treatment plan. Chiropractors use a full range of diagnostic tools to measure the severity of adult scoliosis.

Adult Scoliosis: Diagnosis, Measurements, and Chiropractic

Diagnosis

Adult scoliosis is the presentation of abnormal curvature of the spine. It can happen in the thoracic, lumbar spine, or both. This can have varying degrees of severity. Severe adult scoliosis can be apparent through visual assessment and examination. Cases that are not as obvious require utilizing diagnostic tools. These include:

Imaging

X-rays will show any asymmetry that is associated with scoliosis. This asymmetry can be present in the hips or shoulder and is usually qualified by spinal misalignment.

Walking Gait Examination

Inspecting how worn out an individual’s shoe/s are and having them perform various walking tests can reveal problems with gait. In adults, this can present instability. For example, having problems with balance or fast-twitch muscle response.

Neuromotor Exams

These exams are general and first performed to get a baseline diagnosis for the presence of adult scoliosis. Tests look at the left and right coordination along with the sense of touch capabilities. This measures the severity of the improper spinal curvature and how much it has affected the development of an individual’s motor functions. It is also done in the context of how it’s affecting the body’s biomechanics. Following these exams are quantitative tools/techniques for measuring the severity of adult thoracolumbar scoliosis. These include:

Cobb Angle Measurement

This tool determines the maximum degree of spinal curvature variation and provides a context for severity.

King Classification Tool

This examines the vertebral alignment to determine the spinal variance in specific vertebrae from the neutral center position.

Lenke Classification Tool

This spinal exam relies on measurements of three positions and looks for flexibility.

Combined Approaches

When assessing adult scoliosis, this is important to understand and helps determine how to proceed with treatment. The body is no longer in development as an adolescent. This means bracing does not come with a one-size-fits-all approach. Chiropractic can help with the assessment modalities used to investigate adult scoliosis cases. These measurement and analyses tools are often used in combination to develop a complete picture of what is going on.


Body Composition


Fill Up With Prebiotics

Individuals can help their gut bacteria thrive in the digestive tract by consuming prebiotics. Prebiotics are a form of soluble fiber. The body cannot digest these prebiotics, but gut bacteria can. Recommended sources of fiber-rich prebiotics can be found in nutrient-dense foods like:

  • Leeks
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Fruits
  • Legumes
  • Raw chicory

A diet with various fiber types has been shown to reduce the risk of obesity and prevent weight gain. Resistant starches like plantains, green bananas, and cooled potatoes have increased beneficial bacteria in the colon. Barley, oats, and wheat bran are insoluble high-fiber grains that are also recommended sources.

References

Aebi, Max. “The adult scoliosis.” The European spine journal: official publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society vol. 14,10 (2005): 925-48. doi:10.1007/s00586-005-1053-9

Haenen, Daniëlle et al. “A diet high in resistant starch modulates microbiota composition, SCFA concentrations, and gene expression in pig intestine.” The Journal of nutrition vol. 143,3 (2013): 274-83. doi:10.3945/jn.112.169672

Lowe, Thomas et al. “The SRS classification for adult spinal deformity: building on the King/Moe and Lenke classification systems.” Spine vol. 31,19 Suppl (2006): S119-25. doi:10.1097/01.brs.0000232709.48446.be

Young Adult Degenerative Disc Disorder and Optimal Spine Health

Young Adult Degenerative Disc Disorder and Optimal Spine Health

Young adults don’t think about disc deterioration/degeneration until it’s time for the golden years. The disorder is known as Scheuermann’s disease,�Scheuermann’s Kyphosis, and juvenile disc disorder. It affects young adults usually in the late teens to early thirties. Spinal injuries can be the cause but many doctors believe genetics that leads to disc degeneration is a major factor. And still, others believe it is the wear and tear on the spine as the main cause. The disorder is characterized by disc degeneration throughout the spine. The discs are weakened and cannot withstand the pressure of everyday spinal support. Then the spine is open to all kinds of spinal health issues. These include:
 
If left untreated, the condition shifts into full-blown degenerative disc disease combined with various health problems like numbness, muscle weakness, and nerve damage. Juvenile disc disorder is rare but is a condition that requires immediate ongoing medical attention to make sure young adults and juveniles protect long-term spinal health. Adolescents with consistent back pain need to be thoroughly examined by a chiropractor. The value of an accurate diagnosis when it comes to developing and administering advanced treatment could be vital.

Cause For Concern

The disorder occurs when parts of the vertebrae known as endplates become too weak to withstand the spinal pressure inside the disc. The endplates are the top and bottom areas of the vertebrae that attach to the cartilage disc between each vertebra.  
11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 Young Adult Degenerative Disc Disorder and Optimal Spine Health
 
When the endplates become weak, segments of the tough cartilage can protrude into the endplate, and into the vertebra. These protrusions are called Schmorl�s nodes and can contribute to the pain.  
 
Age-related wear and tear spinal conditions should not be present in kids and young adults. If there are persistent spinal issues and back pain there could be undiagnosed problem/s. Potential symptoms can include:
  • Continued pain throughout the spine/back
  • Sitting, standing, or laying down causes an aching back
  • Transitioning from walking to running or vice versa causes pain
  • Bending, lifting non-heavy objects causes aching and pain
  • Stretching the arms over the head causes aches and pain
  • Posture problems to compensate for the back discomfort and pain
  • Sleep problems

Disc Disorder Management

Because the disorder primarily affects the vertebral discs, chiropractic pain management is focused on reducing the pressure and strain on the discs. However, it does not mean that activity is to be restricted. Managing the condition focuses on improving strength and flexibility. Foundation strengthening/support is where a chiropractor could begin. This strengthens the hips, thighs, and hamstrings promoting stabilization of the posterior chain. This leads to body core stability and less spinal concussion during activity/s. Stretching exercises help maintain flexibility for dynamic movements like twisting and bending. Aerobic activity is also recommended to keep the condition in check. The heart-pumping circulates more blood throughout the body ensuring that the inflamed or injured areas get plenty of oxygenated blood, specifically the spine. Body mechanics also play a role as a proper heel striking when walking or running. Proper body mechanics lessens the impact of the aerobics on the spine and promotes overall wellness. Chiropractic spinal adjustments and realignment could also be part of a management treatment plan. High-velocity low amplitude adjustments help to reset the vertebrae and takes the stress off of discs.  
11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 Young Adult Degenerative Disc Disorder and Optimal Spine Health
 

Prevention

Addressing any disc disorder early is the first step to prevent a lifetime of back pain problems. Seeking a chiropractic assessment as soon as possible will help identify any spinal misalignments or underlying conditions that mimick back pain symptoms/conditions. A chiropractor will develop a customized treatment/management plan to fit an individual’s needs.

Lower Back Pain Chiropractic Care

 

Dr. Alex Jimenez�s Blog Post Disclaimer

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*
References
Heithoff, K B et al. �Juvenile discogenic disease.��Spine�vol. 19,3 (1994): 335-40. doi:10.1097/00007632-199402000-00014