Your spine is, to put it plainly, the foundation of your body and thus the foundation of most of your overall health and wellbeing. When spinal issues arise it can lead to a huge assortment of other health problems, lingering pain, mobility difficulty, and much more. Simply put, your spine health needs to be as high as possible in order to maintain proper overall health and wellbeing.
While a number of spinal issues are related directly to injuries, there are also numerous spinal curvature disorders that can be present at birth, develop over time, or occur due to serious illness or injury. No matter the cause, those in downtown Vancouver can visit a chiropractor such as Dr. Stuart Kilian to get relief – even when a traditional medical professional can’t provide it.
Chiropractors have a long history of assisting with pain and mobility problems caused by improper curvature in the spine, but before you start getting treatment you might want to take a closer look at the basics behind this problem and how it can be treated.
It’s important to understand that a healthy spine is actually naturally curved when viewed from the side. There are gentle curves that are designed by nature to help absorb stress from gravity and from regular body movements. These curves should follow a certain path, however, and many spinal curvature issues stem from exaggerated spinal curves or in some cases even curves that run the wrong way entirely.
Viewed from a person’s back, the spine should run directly down the center of the back in a straight line. Any curves present when viewed from this angle are unnatural and could cause significant problems.
Symptoms Of Spinal Curvature
Figuring out whether or not you have a spinal curvature is easily done through imaging tests like an X-ray. These x-rays can quickly identify improper curvature and exactly how badly the issues is.
But for many, the signs of spinal curvature arise first. While visiting a chiropractor will usually begin with an x-ray just to identify any potential issues, those who have never been to a chiropractor may experience a number of symptoms that can suggest this issue exists. This includes things such as:
- Shoulders that are different heights
- Uneven waist
- Leaning of the body to one side or the other
- Head doesn’t appear centered above the pelvis
- Other posture related issues
- Pain of the back or neck
- Stiffness and other mobility problems
Usually, spinal curvature issues are identified quickly – especially if they’re significant. But even a very minor curve can lead to some significant issues, and as such it’s important to let a professional look at your spine if you suspect you have a curvature related problem.
Types of Curvature
There are three main types of spinal curvature that a patient could suffer from that need to be reviewed:
- Scoliosis – This condition causes a sideways curve to develop within the spine that is usually shaped like a C or S.
- Lordosis – This problem creates a curve at the lower back that moves the spine inwards dramatically.
- Kyphosis – This condition creates a heavily rounded upper back, usually with at least 50 degrees of curvature or more.
Causes Of Spinal Curvature
There are many individual causes of spinal curvature, and depending upon the specific type of curvature disorder a number of different causes could exist. Here’s a look at some of the more common causes that lead to spinal curvature.
- Defects that occur during development of a child in utero – in other words, birth defects. These are usually noticed quickly after birth.
- Osteoporosis, which causes bones and vertebrae to become extremely fragile and as a result easily broken or damaged.
- Obesity can lead to curved spines due to the increased amount of weight that is being placed on the body and the spine in particular.
- Poor posture can also directly lead to curvature – even something as seemingly benign as slouching or sitting with a thick wallet on one side of the buttocks can create a curve over time.
- Arthritis can directly lead to serious joint issues, including spinal curvature in those with severe cases of the disease.
- Major injuries can cause spinal curvature to occur as well, and can also lead to additional spinal problems that may need to be corrected.
As you can see, a wide range of different problems exist that can directly lead to spinal curvature. Some – like obesity or poor posture – are preventable, but the majority of spinal curvature causes can’t be avoided in the least and occur on their own.
Treatment Of Spinal Curvature
So how do you go about treating and correcting spinal curvature? There are numerous options out there that have been tried over the years, including the use of bracing or even surgery in extensive cases. Luckily, surgery is fairly rare and as a result most won’t need it. Instead, direct intervention including the following could help.
- Exercise and Self-Care – This can help provide strength to the muscles around the spine which in turn can directly lead to better flexibility and mobility among those with spinal curvature issues. Things like exercises, stretching routines, and more can have a big impact on spinal curvature.
- Chiropractic Care – Seeing a chiropractor is another excellent way to help treat curved spines. Chiropractors use manipulations to gradually align the spin, bring vertebrae into proper locations, and help adjust curvature. It can take significant time in order to complete the process, but gradually chiropractic care can have a big impact.
- Weight Loss – For those who are obese, losing weight can reduce the amount of stress on the spine and help straighten it – especially when combined with other types of treatment.
The odds of needing surgery are slim, but when a severe curve continues to get worse it might be the only option. It’s worth looking into other methods of treating spinal curvature like those listed above first, however, and in many cases this will be enough to help correct curves and improve the overall quality of a patient’s life.