Neck pain is extremely common; in fact, it is the fourth leading cause of global disability. But did you know that there is a connection between scoliosis and neck pain?
Scoliosis is well-known for causing an irregular curvature of the spine in adolescents. While that’s partially true, scoliosis is a condition that affects more than 3% of the entire U.S. population.
Moreover, it affects more than just adolescents, as this only represents one specific type of scoliosis. Many may also be surprised to learn that scoliosis can not only cause neck pain but those with scoliosis are much more likely to experience neck pain than the general population.
Scoliosis neck pain can be frustrating to manage and can make it difficult to carry out your activities of daily living. Luckily, there are treatment options, such as chiropractic care, that can relieve you of your symptoms.
Scoliosis is a condition affecting the spine’s natural curvature. It causes the spine to curve or rotate, which alters the shape of the spine with an unnatural curvature of 10 or more degrees. This creates an often visible C- or S-shape that mainly occurs in the upper spine or the lower back.
Depending on the cause and location of the scoliotic curve, scoliosis can cause individuals to suffer from a wide variety of symptoms, including:
- Pain and stiffness in the back and neck
- Leaning to one side
- Numbness, weakness, or tingling in the legs or feet
- Mild to severe pain in the hips, knees, and feet
- Difficulty breathing
- Aches in joints
- Digestive problems
- Shoulder pain
Many of these symptoms aren’t isolated to the spine itself. That’s because the spine plays a crucial role in the body, and its health has ramifications for the body at large.
The spine is the main support structure for the body and harbors the majority of its weight. Having a curvature that affects its weight-bearing ability can cause symptoms in the lower extremities. It is also one of the two main components of the central nervous system, the other being the brain. Because of this, when the nerves in the spinal cord are under uneven or excess pressure due to the breakdown of the spine’s curvature, the spine can transfer pain, numbness, or weakness to other parts of the body.
When left untreated, scoliosis can further deteriorate the spine’s posture, exacerbating symptoms.
|If you’re concerned that you may have scoliosis, free online screenings like the one from ScoliCare can be a great first step toward diagnosis and treatment.
How Does Scoliosis Cause Neck Pain?
Scoliosis neck pain is not an uncommon occurrence in patients with scoliosis; however, this is most common in adults with scoliosis as opposed to adolescents because of how the growing process affects scoliosis.
The irregular curvature of scoliosis applies uneven compression onto the joints, bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves in the spine. Adolescents who are still growing are less likely to experience this pain because as they grow, their spines are gradually elongating. Adults, however, are no longer growing, and any abnormal curvature is applying excess pressure onto the aforementioned parts of the spine, back, and neck.
The way that scoliosis affects the neck largely depends on where scoliosis occurs. There are three main regions of the spine—the cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (upper back), and lumbar spine (lower back).
|How Scoliosis Affects the Neck
Because scoliosis is directly affecting the neck itself, it can cause pain and mechanical issues such as:
|While not part of the neck itself, a scoliotic curve in the upper back can also cause issues with neck pain by transferring nerve signals or neck instability caused by a weakening of the muscles in the back.
|Similar to thoracic scoliosis, even though a patient may not have scoliosis in the neck, scoliosis in the lower back can cause scoliosis neck pain if it transfers nervous pain response to the neck or causes issues with mobility that can cause neck pain, although this is far less common than thoracic scoliosis.
Chiropractic Treatment for Scoliosis Neck Pain
Where scoliosis occurs does little to change the fact that scoliosis neck pain can be detrimental to your quality of life. Thankfully, proactive approaches such as chiropractic care can help relieve scoliosis symptoms and possibly keep them from occurring.
Effective chiropractic care can relieve the pain and other symptoms associated with scoliosis while also combatting further progression of scoliosis without major surgery. However, scoliosis affects every person differently because no two people’s scoliosis develops the same.
That means that the best chiropractic treatments for your scoliosis, such as those listed in the table below, will depend on where the scoliosis is located as well as the unique irregularity in curvature.
|Chiropractic Treatments for Scoliosis
|Postural exercises increase equilibrium and preserve the natural curvature of the spine while helping to strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine.
|This treatment, which retrains the nerve connections between the brain and soft tissue, restores the body’s usual movement patterns.
|Spinal traction can help reduce irregular spinal curvature by gently stretching and straightening the spine.
|Bracing can help support the spine’s abnormal curve, delaying the onset of scoliosis. Scoliosis can be improved with a more sophisticated “over-corrective” brace like ScoliBrace® because it pushes the specific spinal curvatures back to center rather than stabilizing the spine, resetting the curvature.
|Gentle, manual adjustments of the vertebral problem areas with hands or small instruments can help improve mobility and range of motion while decreasing pain, inflammation, and other unpleasant symptoms. However, manual adjustments will not reduce or stop the progression of scoliosis.
To receive the most effective treatment that can halt the progression of scoliosis and offer the most long-lasting relief from symptoms, the true cause of your scoliosis neck pain needs to be identified.
PostureWorks Prevents Scoliosis Progression and Relieves Symptoms
At PostureWorks, we understand that treating scoliosis neck pain doesn’t involve a one-size-fits-all solution. The treatments with the most efficacy are the ones that address your unique scoliotic curve and what is causing it.
To gain a nuanced understanding of your spinal health, we use Chiropractic BioPhysics® (CBP) as the foundation for our scoliosis treatment strategy. With CBP, we can perform an in-depth spinal health analysis that identifies the root of your scoliosis. Using that information, we create a treatment plan that utilizes a mixture of postural exercises, neuromuscular reeducation, spinal traction, bracing, and chiropractic adjustments, based on what you need.
Not only will you experience swift relief from scoliosis neck pain but you will also prevent further deterioration of your spine. With improved spinal health, you’ll be able to do the things you enjoy without having to worry about your next bout of neck pain.
Contact us today to learn more about scoliosis neck pain or to schedule your appointment with PostureWorks.
Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health and optimal function. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is conservative, painless, and non-invasive.