The spinal column is made up of 24 individual bones called vertebrae. The spinal column is divided into four regions: the cervical spine (7 vertebrae), thoracic (12 vertebrae), lumbar (5 vertebrae), and the pelvis (sacrum and iliac bones). When looking at the human frame from back to front, all the vertebrae should stack up one on top of the other to form a straight line. Few people have perfect, ruler-straight spines (hand dominance, for example sometimes causes a slight bending). When the spine curves excessively, it is referred to as a spinal curvature, or scoliosis (from the Greek word for “crooked.”)
In the majority of scoliosis cases, the cause is unknown, although most agree there is a strong hereditary component. In mild cases, many people do not even know they have a scoliosis unless a spinal examination is performed. In severe cases, the curvature can put pressure on internal organs and cause impaired respiratory or heart function, that may be due to neurologic malfunction.
Chiropractic treatment always seeks to address the underlying cause of a symptom or condition. Because spinal mal-alignments are quite evident in a scoliosis, the emphasis is on improving and restoring the individual segments to a more normal alignment and movement capability through gentle adjustments. In doing so, the ultimate goal is to facilitate more normal functioning of the spinal nerves that are exiting the spinal column and going to every structure and organ in the body.