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Can a Chiropractor Help Scoliosis?

Scoliosis: An Introduction

When the body is viewed from behind, a normal spine appears straight without much deviation from side-to-side. But, if the spine is seen to have a lateral, or side-to-side, curvature, the person might have an affliction called scoliosis.The affliction shouldn’t be confused with poor posture, even though it often gives the appearance that the patient is leaning to one side. Scoliosis is a complicated deformity that is characterized by both lateral curvature and rotation of the vertebra frequently creating a distinctive “rib hump” in the mid or thoracic spine. This is created by the vertebrae in the region of the major curve rotating toward the concavity and pushing their attached ribs posterior thus creating the symptomatic rib hump seen in thoracic scoliosis. The pulmonary and cardiac functions can be obstructed if the thoracic curve and rib rotation is more than 70 degrees. This amount of curve and consequential cardiac and pulmonary changes are frequently seen later in life in untreated severe idiopathic infantile and juvenile scoliosis patients and, as such, present a threat to life.


The spine reveals four normal curves: the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral, all of which are apparent from a side view of the trunk. In the lower spine there is a natural “C-shaped” curve called swayback or lordosis, while the thoracic curve in the chest area has a “reverse C” called a kyphosis. Increased kyphosis in the thoracic area is called hyperkyphosis, while elevated swayback is termed, hyperlordosis. Scoliosis changes frequently accompany diversions from normal on a side view. Postural exercises can resolve some round back deformities that are simply due to poor posture. A small percentage of patients with kyphosis have more rigid deformities than the postural type, which are coincidental with vertebral deformity. This type of deformity, called Scheuermann’s kyphosis, is much more difficult to treat than postural kyphosis, and it’s cause is unknown.

Almost anyone can help to identify a child or adult with scoliosis just by observing the person in a standing position, preferably with no shirt and in briefs, and observing the following:

  • One shoulder may be higher than the other.
  • One scapula (shoulder blade) may be more elevated or more pronounced than the other.
  • There may be more area between the arm and the body on one side when the arms hang loosely at the side.
  • One hip may appear to be more elevated or more conspicuous than the other.
  • The head is not centered over the pelvis.
  • When the person is analyzed from the rear and asked to lean forward until the spine is horizontal, one side of the back appears higher than the other.

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

The most prevailing type of scoliosis is, by far, Idiopathic, and though there are many different origins and many varieties, Idiopathic Scoliosis accounts for about 85% of all cases. “Idiopathic” means “no known cause” and is witnessed with equal prevalence in boys and girls in the mild or low curve magnitudes. Depending on the age of onset, this affliction can be sub-classified into infantile, juvenile and adolescent types. Idiopathic Scoliosis commonly runs in families and may be linked to genetic or hereditary influences. However girls, for unknown reasons are five to eight times more likely than boys to have their curves develop in size and require treatment. The most frequent time for the development of Idiopathic Scoliosis is during adolescence when children are completing the last major growth spurt. It is very important to have this age group observed by a professional on a regular basis because young people are disinclined to let their body to be seen by parents or other adults.

It is vital that if a scoliotic curve is found in a growing adolescent, the curves be monitored for any change by a periodic examination and from time to time standing x-rays. In ninety percent of instances, the scoliosis is mild and does not require active treatment, but increases in spinal deformity necessitate evaluation to decide if a brace or other therapy is required. In a small number of individuals, surgical treatment may be necessary.~Surgery may be needed for a small number of patients.

Brace therapy (orthosis) is recommended for newly-diagnosed cases of moderate scoliosis or abnormal kyphosis, as well as when an increase in scoliosis or kyphosis is identified in both juvenile and adolescent children. There are a number of kinds of braces, all created to prevent curves from increasing by acting as a buttress for the spine during active skeletal growth. Braces generally won’t make the spine completely straight, and cannot always keep a curve from increasing. But, bracing is effectual in halting curve progression in a significant portion of skeletally-immature adolescents.

There is no simple resolution for scoliosis. Nearly all cases, even though regularly monitored, are not actively treated. The common medical treatment for moderate cases is a brace, whereas severe conditions in some cases are treated surgically. You may want to see your local chiropractor first.

Specialized exercise, electric stimulation of spinal muscles, nutritional programs, and chiropractic treatments are among the complementary modalities provided besides bracing. It looks as if the most beneficial results have been maintained with a multi-faceted approach to the management of this affliction.

There are chiropractors, that have years of experience treating scoliosis cases.