Hi. Dr. Ray Drury with the Upper Cervical Spine Center. Today, I want to talk to you about scoliosis. You're probably familiar with the term scoliosis. It's basically a curvature from side to side through the spine. A traditional medical approach is they have a brace, Milwaukee brace. You wear it for oftentimes many years. It's very uncomfortable, puts a lot of abnormal stress on the spine, and the idea is it's trying to force the spine and try to level itself out. The results on this Milwaukee brace are not that great. Most invasive is surgical Harrington rods where they basically go in and run steel rods up the spine and tie it around the spine to force the spine to move back, which again, obviously, can't be very comfortable for the patient. At the same time you lose all your mobility because you have these steel rods running down.
What we have experienced is almost 100% of the time scoliosis actually comes from the upper part of the neck. So, imagine a flower trying to get to the sun. Your spine tries to keep the head level at all times. This is what we have found is that if one of the bones in the upper part of the neck get out of position the head that sits on top of those bones Anywhere those bones go the head goes with it. If the bone moves to the left in this example, looking behind this person it forces the head to go with it. It doesn't have any choice because the head just sits on top of that bone. It got misaligned. It could have been the birthing process. It could have been a fall, an injury, a sports injury, car accident ... there's many common ways that this bone can move.
What happens is it takes the bone, goes this way for example, it takes the head that way, well, the brain doesn't like it, so what the body will do to try to balance the brain was bend and contort itself till it levels the head. So, a lot of times that's why with scoliotics you often see they have a low shoulder. They'll often have a high hip and they'll have one leg shorter than the other. The difference between this in an adult versus when it happens while you're still growing is, in an adult, what will happen is you will just have the low shoulder high hip, short leg, and as a result you could end up with neck pain, back pain, hip pain, leg pain, foot pain, etc. If this happens while the spine is still growing what will happen is it will actually grow in a curved fashion in an attempt to bring the head back to level.
If we can catch the scoliosis while you're still growing, or while the child is still growing, then if we can correct it a lot of times. What will happen is as it continues to grow it will straighten out, but if it's after the fact. If you're an adult and your spine is already completely finished growing what you need to do is still maximize whatever potential is there. Will you ever have a perfectly straight spine again? Probably not, but there's a really good chance that you can take most of the stress out of the spine by keeping the body as balanced as possible and that means correcting whatever initially started the curve in the spine by getting the head finally leveled back out. That's going to take a lot of the tension, a lot of the muscle that are tight and contracted that are creating a lot of muscular skeletal problems, it's going to take that extra stress out, keeping the body balanced, down in the lower back and the legs level and that's going to allow the spine to be as erect as possible, as straight as possible. Whatever potential's there we can maximize.
If you've had scoliosis or if you have a child with scoliosis, most importantly, get them checked by an upper cervical doctor. Find out if there's something wrong at the top of the neck that could have created the scoliosis. Most of the time that's the case. If we can correct that maybe there's still a chance we can reduce or even completely take out the curve in the spine. If you're an adult we can still maximize what potential's there. Make you feel as good as you possibly can, which I've had people come in with 43-degree curves that can completely be asymptomatic, live a perfectly normal life, have no back pain, no discomfort and be as active as they want to be.
If you live in the Charlotte area the Upper Cervical Spine Center is the office for you. Anywhere in South Carolina, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, anywhere around Charlotte, Pineville, Matthews, Gastonia, Belmont, Up at the Lake, Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, we're the office. You give our office a call at 704-588-5560. Let's get you in, let's check and see if there's a problem in your neck that could have created the scoliosis. Let's correct the cause and then let's allow the body to straighten itself out as much as it possibly can. I hope you have a great day and we look forward to meeting you.