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Chiropractic Q&A

Posted September 19, 2012 in Advice Column, Grimes

Q: Does scoliosis mean surgery?

A: Your child receives a diagnosis of scoliosis after a routine exam. Naturally you’re concerned — what parent wouldn’t be? But does a scoliosis diagnosis always mean spinal fusion surgery is the only option?

The initial treatment of scoliosis usually focuses on preventing the curve from becoming worse. At this stage, bracing is often the first-line of traditional treatment. If the scoliosis has already progressed beyond a 45° – 50° curve in the spine, a medical doctor will generally recommend spinal fusion. This surgery involves the placement of steel rods, hooks and screws to mechanically straighten the spine; these are then covered with bone fragments that fuse together with the spine.

This surgery has risks and complications. They include bowel problems, infection, neurological complications, collapsed lung, back pain and broken rods. These are sometimes handled with medication or still more surgeries.

In recent years, chiropractic research studies have shown great promise with scoliosis, particularly in children. Post-chiropractic X-rays, when compared to pre-chiropractic X-rays, often demonstrate a reduction in the degree of curvature after 12 weeks of chiropractic care, so surgery is no longer appropriate.

Many adults and children are becoming increasingly aware of alternatives to the traditional medical treatment of this condition and for good reason… the risks often do not outweigh the benefits.

If you or a loved one is concerned about scoliosis, or needs to be examined to determine whether scoliosis is present, please speak to us at your next visit.

Information provided by Zortman & Kleckner Chiropractic, 250 S.W. First St., Suite D, 986-2233.

Q: Can chiropractic treatments help control fibromyaglia pain?

A: Fibromyalgia is a common condition characterized by widespread pain in joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues. Some other problems commonly linked with fibromyalgia include fatigue, morning stiffness, sleep problems, headaches, numbness in hands and feet, depression and anxiety. Fibromyalgia can develop on its own or secondary to other musculoskeletal conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus.

Diagnosis of fibromyalgia requires a history of at least 11 of 18 tender-point sites. These tender-point sites include fibrous tissue or muscles of the neck, shoulders, chest, rib cage, lower back, thighs, knees, arms (elbows) and buttocks. The overwhelming characteristic of fibromyalgia is long-standing, body-wide pain with defined tender points. Tender points are distinct from trigger points seen in other pain syndromes. (Unlike tender points, trigger points can occur in isolation and represent a source of radiating pain, even in the absence of direct pressure.) Fibromyalgia pain can mimic the pain experienced by people with various types of arthritis. The soft-tissue pain of fibromyalgia is described as deep-aching, radiating, gnawing, shooting or burning and ranges from mild to severe. Fibromyalgia sufferers tend to waken with body aches and stiffness.

Symptoms include multiple tender areas, sleep disturbances, reduced exercise tolerance, fatigue, body aches and chronic muscle pain or aching.

Research and experience have found that chiropractic adjustments, exercise, dietary changes, nutritional enhancement, postural changes, physical therapies (heat, ice, light massage) and stress management can improve symptoms. This makes a doctor of chiropractic an excellent choice for the management of fibromyalgia.

Information provided by Williamson Chiropractic, 206 S. Main St., 986-9189.

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