King’s Body Found in Parking Lot & Scoliosis

Hi again, everyone!

I want to put different/interesting/entertaining spin on this blog while still being helpful about  Chiropractic, Acupuncture and services that are offered at my office.

King’s Body Found in Parking Lot & Scoliosis

I recently read an article on CNN about the bony remains of King Richard III being found in a parking lot in England hundreds of years after his violent death (killed in battle on The Fields of Bosworth in 1485 see:http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/24/world/europe/richard-iii-burial).

For centuries, poor Rick had the dubious honour of being the last British Monarch to be killed in battle. He was hastily buried in a Church grave which was too small for his body. The Church was eventually built over and became a modern day parking structure. For centuries, history –thanks largely to William Shakespeare – has portrayed King Richard III as a notoriously evil and hunchbacked villain (who allegedly killed his nephews, “the Princes in the Tower” to gain the throne). While some may debate his character, archaeologists and scientists were able to examine the slain King’s bones and were able to verify that he did have a “hunchback” which in chiropractic terms, means he suffered from scoliosis, a condition which results in an abnormal and painful curvature of the spine.

According to Live Science, treatment for scoliosis in the medieval times of King Richard III was akin to torture (ie. tying rope under armpits and around legs, then pulling either end to stretch the spine). Thankfully today, King Richard – and anyone suffering from scoliosis- would undergo more humane and less painful treatment.

See, the poor King suffered from what’s called “structural scoliosis” meaning his “hunchback” arose from a bony defect that he had since birth which then caused his spine to grow abnormally. This is different than functional scoliosis in which the muscles surrounding the spine actually cause it to deform. In other words, a person cannot be born with functional scoliosis. This condition is more easily treated with orthotics (to correct differences in the length of a person’s legs), ultrasound, TENS, Acupuncture and the Graston Technique.

If King Richard came to my chiropractic office, well before he wound up on the Fields of Bosworth, I would have been able to diagnosis his scoliosis with a simple exam and possibly had him fitted with a rigid brace (if he was still growing).   The worst that would have happened is that he’d have required some diagnostic imaging and a possible surgery. If you or your loved ones have questions about back pain or are looking for relief from it, give my office a call

For those that want to be more technical, please continue to read below about Scoliosis.

What is a scoliosis?

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. The spine bends/leans to one side of the body, causing the torso to compress on that side that it is bent towards.  The ribs on that side will be closer together while the ribs of the other side will be farther apart. Scoliosis also may involve a rotation of the spine, in which the individual vertebrae bones twist around the long axis of the spine.  The scoliosis can occur in any region of the spine.  The image below, shows scoliosis in various regions of the spine.

Curved Spine

Curved Spine

A scoliosis can be can be classfied as non-structural (functional) and structural.  King Richard III had a structural scoliosis.

Non-Structural or Functional Scoliosis

A non-structural or functional scoliosis occurs when a structurally normal spine appears curved. This is usually caused by such things as a difference in leg length, muscle spasms (sprains/strains/postural compensation), or inflammatory conditions such as a kidney infection or even appendicitis.  Chiropractors can treat this type of scoliosis by correcting the underlying problem.

In terms of a functional scoliosis caused by leg length discrepancy, it can be corrected with lower extremity support, such as orthotics.  Orthotics in this type of treatment usually used to correct for a low medial arch and excessive pronation in order to functionally correct the issues with foot mechanics,.  For some patients they may also require a heel lift.

If the scoliosis is caused by a muscular imbalance or spasm, generally chiropractic treatments may use soft tissue techniques to release the spasm and correct the imbalance with rehabilitation exercises.   One such treatment is the Graston Technique. But other treatments such as ultrasound, TENS, Interferential Current and even Acupuncture may be used.

Structural Scoliosis

A structural scoliosis is fixed (abnormal) curve that is in in the spine.  Each case is treated on an individual basis as it depends on the severity of the curve present.

Some causes of a structural scoliosis could be inherited connective tissue disorders (such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, or even Marfan’s Syndrome) or even neuromuscular diseases (cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy), birth defects, injury, certain infections and tumours.

In the case of structural scoliosis, they are usually caught at an early age by a doctor during a physical exam, or previously, I have heard of school scoliosis screening programs.  Usually this program will detect mild scoliosis that generally do do not need treatment.  If a larger scoliosis is detected, usually x-ray images and possibly MRI/CT images may be taken if there is neurological/organ involvement.   The treatment will depend on the age of each patient, how much more he or she is likely to grow (if growth plates are still open), the degree and pattern of the curve, and the type  and location of scoliosis (what area of the spine). Treatment options may include simple observation, bracing and surgery.

Generally, if the scoliosis is mild, the patient is allowed to be observed without any treatment.  The chiropractic doctor and/or doctor/radiologist  follow patient’s growth and monitor the changes of the spine.  Re-examinations are performed at regular intervals to monitor if treatment is required.

If the scoliosis is mild to moderate, bracing is another treatment option.  A rigid brace is custom made and worn by a patient to stop a curve from getting any worse while the patient is still growing. Again, this patient would be monitored over time, to see how growth occurs to correct the scoliosis.

In severe cases of scoliosis, surgery may be a treatment that is recommended.  This is done to correct a curve or stop it from worsening when the patient is still growing.

For more reading on scoliosis: http://www.chiro.org/research/ABSTRACTS/Scoliosis.shtml

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