Non-Structural Scoliosis: What You Need To Know
Non-structural scoliosis, also called functional scoliosis, is the curvature of the spine caused by compensatory, postural, or transient factors about the spine. The compensatory factors are typically due to pelvic unleveling or leg length imbalance. The postural factors are caused by muscle imbalances and habits, and the transient factors relate to various antalgic responses to disc herniation.
With non-structural scoliosis, the common factor in all of these conditions is the fact that the abnormal curvature is reversible, with precise movements and positions. This is one of the main methods used in differentiating functional and structural types of scoliosis.
Evaluating Non-structural Scoliosis
The quickest method of assessing functional scoliosis is having the patient perform Adam’s position test. During the test, the patient flexes forward from the waist and has their hands together, while the arms hang down. If the spinal curvature straightens out, it means there’s no evidence for rib humping, meaning the test is negative—an indication of functional scoliosis.
Moreover, functional scoliosis will disappear once the patient lies on the table. The disappearance of the curve is due to relaxation of muscles since the spine won’t require the pelvis and the lower extremities for support. Since the spine becomes less flexible, and the functional curves become more fixed and stiffer as we age, this phenomenon is more evident in younger patients.
When the patient is evaluated for functional scoliosis for the first time, the first thing our doctor of chiropractic will do is inspect the alignment of the entire body in its upright, relaxed stance. The relative height of the shoulders and pelvis, the head’s position in relation to the body, and any spinal rotations or lists should be noted, to determine what corrective exercises are needed.
The lower extremities also need to be evaluated for asymmetry, because leg length inequality is one of the main causes of functional scoliosis. In many cases, there’s an excessive pronation of one or both of the patient’s feet.
The loss of the arch height resulting from excessive pronation may allow the pelvis to drop towards the more pronated side during gait and stance. This resulting lateral tilt of the pelvis lowers the sacral base, dropping the lowest freely movable vertebrae onto the side of the shorter leg. Due to the lack of stable support from the lower extremities, a lateral spinal curvature may develop in the lumbar spine with every step of the patient.
SCOLIOSIS IS A CONDITION THAT REQUIRES URGENT AND TARGETED TREATMENTS TO AVOID WORSENING AND PROGRESSION.
The chiropractors and physiotherapists of the Chiropractic Specialty Center® have the skills, knowledge, and advanced spine technology that can effectively treat and manage scoliotic spine conditions without the need for surgery. Visit one of our centers today and discover excellence in scoliosis treatment. Best of all, our Non-Structural Scoliosis treatment is done on an outpatient basis, so you will not have to miss school or work.