Scoliosis is a common condition that alters the normal S-curve of the spine. The abnormal twisting often leads to asymmetric posture, with an elevated shoulder and/or hip, flaring of the scapula, and tilting of the head. Scoliosis affects 4-11% of the general population, but is more common in females than in males. This postural problem is most often diagnosed in the early teen years, and treatments vary from stretching and bracing to spinal surgery.
Historically, the exact cause of scoliosis has been labeled ‘idiopathic’ or unknown. However, new research has indicated that one overlooked cause of the condition may be Vitamin D deficiency2. Vitamin D is essential for several processes in our body, including hormone production and bone growth, as well cognitive function. Research suggests that genetic factors combined with the sudden growth at puberty, especially in women, increases the demand for Vitamin D beyond what the body can produce, or consume with the typical diet. Insufficient levels of Vitamin D can affect the levels of hormones that help our bodies grow strong bones, causing the bones to form abnormally, and/or settle into abnormal curves.
This study sheds new light on the management of scoliosis. The Center for Disease Control estimates that as high as 50% of the population suffers from varying severity of Vitamin D insufficiency. Our skin produces a pre-cursor to Vitamin D that our bodies can’t use until the UV energy from sunlight converts this pre-cursor into actual Vitamin D. With the cloudy skies and length of Michigan winters, it is especially difficult for us to get the sunlight our bodies need to produce adequate levels of this necessary vitamin. There are a couple easy steps you can do at home to help your body get enough Vitamin D. First, let yourself be out in the sunlight for about 15-20 minutes before applying sunscreen. That’s all the time your skin needs to produce a good baseline amount of Vitamin D. Additionally, think about Vitamin D supplements. Scoliosis tends to run in families, so it may be wise to consider supplementing Vitamin D for children to reduce likelihood of suffering from this condition. At Burkhart & Chapp Chiropractic, we are able to provide spinal health recommendations and nutrition/dietary advice for you and your family.
Regular chiropractic care may also benefit those suffering from scoliosis. Because of the asymmetrical posture created by scoliosis, the muscles and ligaments can also develop asymmetrically as they try to straighten and brace the spine. Chiropractic care can help to realign the spine as much as possible, reducing discomfort and taking extra strain away from those overworked muscles and ligaments. This allows for reduced pain, greater mobility, and fewer muscle spasms. It may also prevent secondary issues down the road, such as arthritis. To learn more, contact our office at 616.698.0046 or you can find us on Facebook.
- Konieczny MR, Senyurt H, Krauspe R. Epidemiology of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. J Child Orthop. 2012;7(1):3-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6284127/
- Ng SY, Bettany-Saltikov J, Cheung IYK, Chan KKY. The Role of Vitamin D in the Pathogenesis of Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. Asian Spine J. 2018;12(6):1127-1145. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3566258/
- Morningstar MW. Outcomes for adult scoliosis patients receiving chiropractic rehabilitation: a 24-month retrospective analysis. J Chiropr Med. 2011;10(3):179-84. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3259989/