Dr. Stephen Press on TV

Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine. Most people have SOME lateral curvature, but when it exceeds a reasonable amount such curves are considered pathological.

Scoliosis comes in several varieties, MOST however, despite that medical doctors call them “idiopathic” (from “of unknown origin”) are unknown only to those who have never studied the biomechanics of the human spine. When a child is first diagnosed, usually by a school nurse, there are two possible courses of action:

A. Listen to the nurse, and run to an orthopedic surgeon, who will essentially do nothing about the scoliosis except expose the child to periodic x-rays, and watch to “see if the problem gets bad enough to do something”, and only then when the “something” is bad enough to warrant surgery or bracing, will they treat the result of the problem, not the underlying cause. The treatment will likely be a Milwaukee brace or something equivalent, or surgery to install Harrington rods to straighten the spine. This will prevent the child from ever having full use of his/her lower back. And it will usually then be too late to fix it chiropractically. Or,

B. Have a chiropractic postural evaluation. We will look at the child’s gait, leg length, and posture and any existing x-rays and determine if the problem is in fact postural or gait/leg length related. If not we will refer you back to an Orthopedist, if the scoliosis IS our issue, then we can probably prevent the problem from ever getting “bad enough” to warrant surgery or bracing!

Imbalances in one's gait can cause significant problems in one's spine. When you walk, you normally hit the heel of your foot slightly to the outside (about 12 degrees). Then as you swing your leg through a gait cycle, you push off from the ball of the foot. This process of heel strike to push off from the outside of the heel to the inside at the ball is called “pronation.”

As indicated, a small amount of pronation is normal and needed in the process of shock absorption. But commonly, one pronates unevenly, and even a small amount of difference can shift a significant amount of body weight to one side.

In an example 200lb adult male, if there is a slight difference in the height of the hips, caused by:

a. pronation difference; and/or
b. anatomical difference in leg length; and/or,
c. functional differences in the operation of the ankle joint,

Let’s say for example of only 2mm, this can shift as much as 10% of the body’s weight to that side and that means 20 lbs is shifted.

If an adult walks an average of 3000 steps in one day, that can mean shifting 5000x20lbs=100,000 lbs or 50 TONS to one side EVERY DAY of your life! Imagine if you left the tires on your car 20% low on air through their life? How much faster would that side’s tires wear out than the other?

This immense weight shift causes the classic destruction of hips that we are now seeing in our baby-boomer generation so commonly. It also places a strain on the entire spinal column and causes your adjustments not to hold as well as if you walked with a balanced gait.

In a child, a significant imbalance can cause the entire spine to curve from side to side as a compensatory mechanism to allow the head to remain straight up.

Ask your doctor about getting your child evaluated today, and any imbalance corrected by a real orthotic, made by GaitScan technology, and not some cheapie insert made by standing in a foam box.

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