Chiropractic for scoliosis is a common treatment approach used primarily for adolescent idiopathic forms of this abnormal side-to-side spinal curvature. Chiropractic is used to treat a wide range of innocent and problematic curvatures in the spine, including adult scoliosis, kyphosis and lordosis, as well as the loss of spinal curvature.
While chiropractic has long claimed curative statistics about scoliosis care, the orthopedic community is not sold and many physicians challenge the validity of chiropractic research as being anecdotal, skewed and inaccurate. However, the traditional medical community does not offer many effective solutions either. Bracing can help in many cases, but if this conservative approach fails or is not indicated, the surgical options offered by the mainstream medical system can be horrific.
I initially entered into chiropractic treatment for the correction of a mild scoliosis curvature, which turned out to be so small that an orthopedic surgeon commented that this was not scoliosis at all. Well, according to my chiropractor, you would have thought that my spine was bent in some extreme way. In my case, this chiropractor turned out to show his true colors over time, as a greedy and financially-motivated business person, not a caring doctor.
I will not let my experience with this particular chiropractor taint this article, but it is worth mentioning that these types of doctors exist and will do anything to get your money… now and far into the future. I did receive treatment from some wonderful chiropractors over my 18 years of horrible lower back pain suffering, so I will always appreciate the care provided by these better examples of their profession.
Some chiropractors claim to be able to stabilize and reduce typical mild idiopathic curvatures in developing children. Some research statistics seem to support this claim. However, many medical scoliosis specialists say otherwise.
Some of the most respected scoliosis doctors say that many mild idiopathic curvatures will correct themselves as the child continues to grow. They speculate that this may have more to do with the curative stats offered by the chiropractic profession than the actual treatment can possibly provide. Personally, I feel the truth may lie somewhere in between.
Adult scoliosis and congenital scoliosis are different matters altogether and most chiropractors realize that adjustments will not do much to reverse these conditions. However, spinal adjustments may still help to relieve the symptoms occasionally experienced in conjunction with a significant side to side curvature issue.
Ok, so all told, the jury is still out when it comes to the definitive effectiveness of chiropractic treatment for scoliosis. Research clearly shows that most mild to moderate scoliosis conditions, as well as many far more serious, are not symptomatic at all.
However, for the few which are painful (due to structural or psychosomatic reasons), chiropractors may well provide relief (through actual curative efficacy or placebo) without the risk of surgery or drugs. For this alone, chiropractors have an edge over some types of care in my book.
I advise that all spinal curves of any significant degree be monitored by a medical specialist, that is, a physician, and if the doctor agrees that chiropractic may help, then so be it. I caution patients and parents that use of a chiropractor should not be the exclusive care provided for scoliosis, especially if the curvature is considerable or worsens quickly.