Scoliosis: Why Chiropractic should be your Treatment of Choice

Scoliosis is a condition of the spine, where normal vertical alignment is lost to varying degrees and replaced with side to side curvatures.

Standard screening for scoliosis tends to only be sensitive for those children & adolescents who have severe and disabling lateral curves to the spine. Most often, mild to moderate cases may go unnoticed. When undetected until a later stage, scoliosis is harder to correct, if at all.

In the majority of children and teenagers the cause of scoliosis is unknown, thus it is called idiopathic – Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis or AIS. There are many different factors which are theorized to contribute to cause idiopathic scoliosis. No one cause in particular has been agreed upon in the medical or chiropractic literature.

Chiropractic for scoliosis

Your posture, joint alignment, muscle control and balance is a representation of how your brain works.

People who have, or a likely to develop, idiopathic scoliosis may have a nervous system which is not integrating proprioceptive (body position sense), visual and vestibular input correctly and therefore not programming the correct ‘postural’ output. If the brain cannot adequately recognize asymmetries in straight upright posture, during static AND dynamic positions, in the first place… how can it coordinate the needed corrections in muscle tone and joint position?

Because of this posture, muscle tone, balance, coordination and obviously in the case of scoliosis ALIGNMENT is all affected to varying degrees. This in turn can lead to a myriad of other afflictions such as headaches, back pain, disc injury, shoulder injuries,  ankle injuries and many more.

 What is different in scoliosis patients?

  • They may have a distorted sense of spacial awareness and joint position
  • Information from the eyes, ears and joints may not be integrated appropriately
  • May show signs of primitive reflexes (behaviours that should have disappeared by the age of 12months)
  • Postural reflexes may not be well integrated or sufficiently developed

How can Chiropractic help scoliosis?

By working to correct and rehabilitate adequate upright posture, muscle tone, balance, coordination and joint alignment, Chiropractors can help to retrain the neuromusculoskeletal system in spinal positioning and control. This in turn can help relieve the symptoms of headaches, back pain, disc injury, shoulder injuries,  ankle injuries and many more!

Dr Laura Garnett

Dr Laura Garnett


References & further reading

  1. Gordon McMorland, DCaEsther Suter, PhDbSteve Casha, MD, PhD, FRCSCc,Stephan J. du Plessis, MDc John Hurlbert, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACSc. Manipulation Or Microdiskectomy For Sciatica? A Prospective Randomized Clinical Study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. Volume 33, Issue 8, October 2010, Pages 576–584
  2. Valter Santilli, MD, Ettore Beghi, MD, Stefano Finucci, MD. Chiropractic Manipulation In The Treatment Of Acute Back Pain And Sciatica With Disc Protrusion: A Randomized Double-Blind Clinical Trial Of Active And Simulated Spinal Manipulations. The Spine Journal. March–April, 2006 Volume 6, Issue 2, Pages 131–137 DOI:
  3. Joanne Nyiendo, PhDa, Mitchell Haas, DCa, Bruce Goldberg, MDb, Carol Lloyda. A Descriptive Study Of Medical And Chiropractic Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain And Sciatica: Management By Physicians (Practice Activities) And Patients (Self-Management). Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. Volume 24, Issue 9, November–December 2001, Pages 543–551
  4. Globe G, Morris C, Whalen W et al. Chiropractic Management of Low Back Disorders: Report from a Consensus Process. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics November/December 2008: 651-658.
  5. Rubinstein SM, van Middelkoop M, et. al, “Spinal manipulative therapy for chronic low-back pain,” Cochrane Database Syst Rev(2): CD008112. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD008112.pub2. PMID 21328304.
  6. Dagenais S, Gay RE, Tricco AC, Freeman MD, Mayer JM (2010), “NASS Contemporary Concepts in Spine Care: Spinal manipulation therapy for acute low back pain,” Spine J10 (10): 918–940. doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2010.07.389. PMID 20869008.
  7. Leininger B, Bronfort G, Evans R, Reiter T, “Spinal manipulation or mobilization for radiculopathy: a systematic review,” Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am22 (1): 105–25 (2011). doi:10.1016/j.pmr.2010.11.002. PMID 21292148.
  8. Hahne AJ, Ford JJ, McMeeken JM, “Conservative management of lumbar disc herniation with associated radiculopathy: a systematic review,”Spine35 (11): E488–504 (2010).
  9. Bronfort G, DC, PhD, et al. “Effectiveness of manual therapies: the UK evidence report,” Chiropractic & Osteopathy2010, 18:3.
  10. Senna, MK, Machaly SA, “Does maintained spinal manipulation therapy for chronic nonspecific low back pain result in better long-term outcome?” Spine36(18):1427-1437 (2011).
  11. Globe G, Morris C, Whalen W et al., “Chiropractic Management of Low Back Disorders: Report from a Consensus Process,” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, November/December 2008: 651-658.