Scoliosis and Chiropractic Management

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Scoliosis: An Introduction

A normal spine looks straight, without much change from one side to the other, when the body is looked at from behind. However, if the spine is seen to have a lateral, or side-to-side, curvature, the person might have a disorder called scoliosis.The affliction shouldn’t be confused with bad posture, though it frequently gives the appearance that the individual is leaning to one side. Expressed by both lateral curvature and rotation of the vertebra, this puzzling deformity often produces a characteristic “rib hump” in the mid or thoracic spine. This is caused by the vertebrae in the area of the major curve rotating toward the concavity and pushing their connected ribs posterior thereby producing the characteristic rib hump seen in thoracic scoliosis. The pulmonary and cardiac functions can be impeded if the thoracic curve and rib rotation exceeds 70 degrees. This intensity of curve and consequential cardiac and pulmonary changes are frequently seen later in life in untreated severe idiopathic infantile and juvenile scoliosis patients and, more often than not, present a threat to life.


The spine discloses four normal curves: the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral, all of which are apparent from a side view of the trunk. The thoracic, in the chest vicinity, has a natural round curve, “reversed C,” called a kyphosis, while in the lower spine there is a normal “C” curve, known as swayback or lordosis. Hyperlordosis is the term used to describe increased swayback, while increased kyphosis in the thoracic spine is called hyperkyphosis. Scoliosis changes generally accompany changes from normal on a side view. Postural exercises can correct some round back deformities that are simply due to poor posture. A small number of patients with kyphosis have more rigid deformities than the postural type, which are coincidental with vertebral deformity. This class of deformity, called Scheuermann’s kyphosis, is much more problematic to treat than postural kyphosis, and it’s cause is unknown.

Even a layman can help to identify a child or grownup with scoliosis just by looking at the person in a standing position, preferably bare-chested and in shorts, and observing the following:

  • One shoulder may be higher than the other.
  • One scapula (shoulder blade) may be more elevated or more prominent than the other.
  • There may be more area between the arm and the body on one side when the arms hang relaxed at the side.
  • One hip may appear to be more elevated or more conspicuous than the other.
  • The head is not in plumb with the pelvis.
  • One side of the back appears higher than the other when the individual is observed from the rear and asked to flex forward until the the spine is horizontal.

Once scoliosis is identified, the child or adult should be sent to a healthcare professional, such as a chiropractor, for further diagnosis. your chiropractor would be happy to help.

The most common kind of scoliosis is, by far, Idiopathic, and although there are a variety of roots and many types, Idiopathic Scoliosis accounts for nearly 85% of all cases. “Idiopathic” means “no known cause” and is witnessed with equal occurrence in boys and girls in the mild or low curve magnitudes. Depending on the age of onset, this disorder can be sub-classified into infantile, juvenile and adolescent categories. Idiopathic Scoliosis may be due to genetic or hereditary influences as it frequently runs in families. However girls, for unknown reasons are five to eight times more likely than boys to have their curves grow in size and require treatment. As the term “Idiopathic Scoliosis” implies, this type of scoliosis more often than not occurs when children are completing their last major growth spurt. Unfortunately, at this age young people are disinclined to allow their body to be looked at by parents and other adults, so it is smart to have this age group viewed on a regular basis.

If a scoliotic curve is discovered in the growing adolescent, it is vital that the curves be monitored for advancement by periodic examination and sometimes standing X-rays. In ninety percent of cases, the scoliosis is mild and does not require active treatment, though| increases in spinal deformity require evaluation to decide if a brace or other therapy is needed. In a small number of individuals, surgical treatment may be needed.~Surgery may be necessary for a small number of individuals.

Brace treatment (orthosis) is recommended for newly-found symptoms of moderate scoliosis or abnormal kyphosis, as well as when an increase in scoliosis or kyphosis is discovered in both juvenile and adolescent children. There are a number of styles of braces, all made to prevent curves from increasing through the process of acting as a buttress for the spine during active skeletal growth. Bracing is effective in stopping curve progression in a significant number of skeletally-immature adolescents. However, braces will not usually make the spine completely straight, and cannot always keep a curve from increasing.

There is no simple solution for scoliosis. The majority of cases, even though often monitored, are not actively treated. The usual medical treatment for moderate instances is a brace, whereas severe afflictions in some cases are treated surgically. You may want to see your local chiropractor first.

In addition to bracing, many other methods have been used successfully including specialized exercise, electric stimulation of spinal muscles, nutritional programs, and chiropractic treatments. It appears that the most beneficial results have been maintained with a multi-faceted approach to the management of this abnormality.

There are chiropractors, that have expertise treating scoliosis cases.


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One Response to “Scoliosis and Chiropractic Management”

  1. My GF has scoliosis and we found a chiro that specializes in scoliosis.… He is certified by an organization called CLEAR institute.

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