Scoliosis is defined as the presence of an abnormal lateral curve in the spine. Minor lateral curves develop as an adaptation to imbalances in body use such as handedness, pelvic unleveling or leg length imbalance. Curves up to 10 degrees are common and considered normal.
Of concern is Progressive Adolescent-Onset Idiopathic Scoliosis, which is a relatively common and possibly serious condition. It usually becomes obvious in the pre-teen or teen years, and is often discovered by screening at schools.
The term idiopathic means its causes are not really understood. Unfortunately, its causes has received relatively little research attention over the years by medical science. Chiropractic research showing ability to reduce the degree of these curves is preliminary at best. What we do know is that this condition is familial (hereditary) and more prevalent in females than males. It is a multi-faceted illness effecting neurologic, metabolic and hormonal systems, but it is most evident in the classic spinal deformity that develops.
Chiropractic care for scoliosis patients in their growth years must therefore be part of a multi-faceted treatment approach, which includes diet, exercise, chiropractic adjustments, therapy and sometimes bracing. Because progressive adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is not a mechanical disorder, chiropractic adjustments alone will not resolve this condition.
However, Chiropractic adjustments are an effective form of management for associated mechanical back pain that older scoliosis patients often experience.