I want to talk to you a little bit about the types of scoliosis. There are different kinds of scoliosis, and whether or not they can be helped is going to depend on what kind of scoliosis we are dealing with. First of all, let’s go over a couple of terms.
What is a scoliosis? The spine naturally curves. For example if you look at someone from the side, there’s a curve in the neck, and then an opposite curve in the mid back, and then another in the low back.
But if you’re looking at somebody from the back and their spine curves side to side, that’s not normal. That’s called a scoliosis. A term that you often hear in the medical community is idiopathic, and idiopathic just means we don’t know. So a lot of times, teenagers will be diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis. And that means, “We don’t know why they have scoliosis.” I’m not going to get into the fact that there is a diagnosis with the word idiopathic, which means “we don’t know” in it. I think that’s stupid. I mean, if you’re going to diagnose something, at least give a reason; not “we don’t know why it’s that way”.
Physical reasons for scoliosis
Sometimes when a person is born they have a “hemi-vertebra” which means that rather than being square it is wedged on one side. And when it wedges, the bone above it will move off into an angle and that creates a scoliosis. The eyes have to be level with the horizon, so the spine will curve so the neurology is working the way it’s supposed to. That’s an example of a scoliosis where we know why it’s happening, and it’s going to be hard to correct it.
We also may not want to correct it because that adaptation is a healthy sign. That’s the sign of a healthy nervous system. So if there is a wedge on a vertebrae and the spine is adapting to keep the eyes level with the horizon, we shouldn’t correct that. We should leave it alone because the body knows what it is doing. The exception is a very significant curve that is affecting the organs. If the organs are compressed due to the curvature, then that is a different story.
A different type of scoliosis is one that starts from a misalignment of the pelvis or low back. That would be a functional curvature. It’s correcting a problem in the body or it’s solving a problem. That’s why it’s functional. So how do we help that?
If there is a misalignment at either the top or bottom of the spine, then we should fix the misalignment. Over time, once that balances out, the scoliosis will correct itself.
If your child was diagnosed with one of the types of scoliosis, we need to look at the whole picture. We need to look at their entire spinal health to see. Is the pelvis imbalanced? Is there an imbalance on the upper part of the neck? Do they have some sort of a wedged vertebrae, or some sort of a birth issue that is creating the situation? Because if that’s the case, then maybe we want to leave the scoliosis alone. But if it’s functional, absolutely we can solve it.
I had a couple of X-rays taken of me earlier this week. And I actually have a bit of a scoliosis with some rotation. That would be a functional scoliosis. I know my body is imbalanced. I’m focusing the next several months on balancing my body again.
The body is a living, breathing organism. The body is always adapting. It is always changing. It adapts to the environment. And it solves problems that it runs into, and it is incredibly, incredibly smart. But it is not stagnant. It changes based on the stresses that you put it under. It changes based on how physically active you are. If your muscles are imbalanced, all of that stuff actually changes your physical structure.
To be healthy, you want a healthy spine, a resilient nervous system, and you want it to be adapting the way it’s supposed to.
Be grateful, have fun, and love lots,