Congenital Scoliosis Treatments
Scoliosis – any sideways curvature of the spine – is often of mysterious origin, with no specific cause ever identified. However, in the case of congenital scoliosis, the curvature stems from structural malformations of the spine in utero. Unlike other forms of scoliosis, which are often treated with bracing, the traditional congenital scoliosis treatment is surgery. If the idea of subjecting your child or teen to aggressive scoliosis surgery scares you, learn about another approach that’s totally natural and non-invasive – and may be able to help.
What Is Congenital Scoliosis?
Congenital scoliosis occurs when the spine fails to develop normally in an unborn fetus. This spinal development normally occurs from 3 to 6 weeks after conception and, considering the complexity of the spinal structures, it may seem amazing that it ever develops normally! However, congenital scoliosis is relatively rare (much rarer than idiopathic scoliosis), occurring in approximately 1 out of every 10, 000 live births and, as with other types of scoliosis, affects more girls than boys. What happens in congenital scoliosis is one of the following abnormalities:
- Failures of formation
- Failures of segmentation
- A combination of both
Failures of formation generally result in a vertebra or vertebrae that are not fully formed on one side (referred to as a hemivertebra). Failures of segmentation occur when vertebrae are not properly separated, resulting in an unsegmented bar or block vertebra. Combinations of the types can occur, with a hemivertebra on one side and a block on the other. While all types of congenital scoliosis can cause curvature of the spine, the combination of types seems to cause the curve to progress the fastest.
Congenital scoliosis may occur along with other birth defects involving the spinal cord itself, the bladder, kidneys and heart.
Like other types of scoliosis, congenital scoliosis does not typically become apparent until adolescence, when the child is going through a growth spurt. It is possible for children with congenital scoliosis to be born with a severe curvature, but that’s not common. So even though congenital scoliosis is a birth defect, it won’t often be “caught” until the same age range as idiopathic scoliosis – between the ages of eight and fifteen.
What Can Be Done About It?
As with the other types of scoliosis, congenital scoliosis is typically treated in one of three ways:
- Wait and see
Observing and monitoring growth patterns is often advised for minor curves. Scoliosis braces are typically ineffective in congenital scoliosis, and are therefore rarely used. Scoliosis surgery is most often recommended by mainstream medicine, in an effort to even out the growth pattern so the child ends up with a relatively straight spine. His or her final height may be compromised, and there are other risks involved with this very complicated surgery.
A fourth approach that works with the body may offer some help.
A Safer Approach to Congenital Scoliosis
Chiropractic has helped millions of people all over the planet with all kinds of health problems. While chiropractic obviously can’t magically grow an undeveloped vertebra or un-fuse vertebrae that haven’t segmented properly, it may still be able to offer some relief for your child’s congenital scoliosis. By applying precise, gentle chiropractic adjustments to areas of the spine that are malpositioned, appropriate muscle groups can be strengthened, helping to counteract the effects of the congenital problem and evening out growth patterns. No specific results can be guaranteed, of course, but chiropractic may be able to help enough to put off surgery until such time that it won’t affect your child’s final height – or even avoid surgery completely.
Chiropractic is totally safe – it’s even appropriate for newborns and the elderly – and it’s widely respected. Chiropractors obtain advanced degrees before completing rigorous licensing exams required by every state. The national government recognizes chiropractic as a legitimate health care profession, and the majority of health plans provide for chiropractic coverage.
All you have to do to get started is select one of our caring and eminently qualified ChooseNatural.com chiropractors near you and give them a call to schedule an appointment. During the consultation, the doctor will want to know as much as possible about your child’s congenital scoliosis, so you should both be prepared to answer a lot of questions. If your chiropractor believes chiropractic can help, he or she will let you know that, then continue on to perform a complete diagnostic examination. All the details of this exam will be explained, along with the plan your chiropractor has in mind for your child’s specific situation. When you and your child feel comfortable and ready to begin, precise, gentle adjustments will be applied to help alleviate the uneven growth rate and spinal curvature.
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Congenital Scoliosis FAQ
|CONGENITAL SCOLIOSIS MUST BE HEREDITARY, RIGHT? Probably not. Actually, although the cause of idiopathic scoliosis is unknown, it is far more likely to have a hereditary component than congenital scoliosis. In identical twins (who share the same genetic makeup), it’s very rare to find both with congenital scoliosis.|
|IS CONGENITAL SCOLIOSIS RELATED TO OTHER PROBLEMS? Yes. The spine begins to develop at the same time as certain other organs in the body and people with congenital scoliosis often have other birth defects. They may have kidney and/or bladder problems, heart defects and other spinal cord defects.|
|DOES SURGERY FOR CONGENITAL SCOLIOSIS AFFECT A CHILD’S FUTURE GROWTH? Yes. Because surgery in this instance typically consists of fusing 4 – 5 vertebrae along the convex (outside) side of the curve to stop it from growing, the child’s final height will be affected. How much it’s affected depends upon the child’s age at the time of surgery.|
|WILL OTHER SURGERIES BE NECESSARY? Quite possibly. Fully 1/3 of patients who undergo surgery for congenital scoliosis will need a second surgery later in life.|