When you think of scoliosis, you may think of a spine that is severely curved and an obvious problem. However, there are varying degrees of scoliosis. While some may be more easily overlooked, correcting the curvature may provide benefits of better function, reduced pain and discomfort. Additionally, you may be surprised to learn some of those little annoyances of life may actually be symptoms of scoliosis. Therefore, proper treatment can help alleviate those issues as well.
In an article on Bustle.com, author Carolyn Steber interviewed a variety of medical experts, including chiropractic physicians, learning more about the subtle ways that scoliosis can impact our posture and daily life if undetected and untreated. Steber notes, “If you do have scoliosis, it can get worse over time.” So what are some hidden signs?
Your Clothes Don’t Fit – Do you often have trouble making your clothes look right? Do you try to avoid button up shirts because they look uneven? Ladies, do you seem to have a harder time than your friends finding a bra that fits properly and stays in place? Does it appear that one pant leg is always longer than the other, or your shirt sleeves length don’t seem to match? Do you notice that your shoes tend wear out faster on 1 foot than the other?
Your body seems uneven – Are you often told to “stand up straight” or “stop slouching”? Do family members suggest you need to work on your posture? When you look in the mirror, do your shoulders appear to be at different heights? When you are lying down, do you feel like your ribs stick out, but only on one side? Do you have much more trouble bending to one direction compared to the other? Do you struggle with flexibility more than your peers, even with basic tasks like touching your toes?
You don’t feel good – Do you have a constant nagging back pain? Do you sometimes struggle to walk or have pain when breathing? Do you tire quickly? Do you constantly feel like you need to move a certain part of your back, or like there is pressure on one side?
Connecting these signs to your spine
If you have a curvature or misalignment in your spine, it has the potential to affect your body in many ways. The degree and location of the misalignment will determine what that affect is and to what degree. Think of a stack of blocks. While they may not understand the physics, children learn through playing that in order to make a tower, they must carefully place the blocks in a certain way or it will fall. Similarly, our spine must be in proper alignment to work at optimum functionality. If one of our “blocks” is not in place, then it has a negative impact on our body.
Even a few degrees difference in angle can make have a surprising effect if that creates pressure on a nerve or the spinal column. If your spine is not aligned properly, then your body has to compensate for changed distribution of weight. This may lead to leaning, slouching, altered gait when walking, as well as pain and discomfort. It is these changes that cause the body to appear uneven, making clothing fit improperly or shoes to wear unevenly.
These issues have many potential causes. However, if you have a number of these symptoms regularly, it may be wise to get an evaluation. If you “stand up straight” and your issues seem to be resolved, then you may simply need to be more aware of your posture. In addition to spinal manipulation (also referred to as an adjustment) when needed, your chiropractor can offer suggestions on stretches and exercises to help you maintain better posture as a regular habit. However, if you “stand up straight” and the issues remain, that may be an indicator of something more serious than bad posture.
Schedule an evaluation with your chiropractor to discuss these issues and determine if the cause is a simple posture issue, if you have a spinal problem such as scoliosis, or if there may be another cause. If no curvatures or misalignments are found, the chiropractor can help you determine what other causes could be and then decide on a course of action to take in order to resolve your symptoms. If another health care discipline is needed, your chiropractor can assist you in finding an appropriate health care provider to help you.
Your chiropractor is an expert at musculoskeletal health and will work with you to establish a treatment plan to correct curvature or misalignments. The sooner you know the cause, the sooner you can start working on a solution and alleviate the symptoms. Removing those little annoyances of life, and achieving better health may be easier than you realize.