There are several types of scoliosis, the most common being “idiopathic scoliosis,” so called because of its unknown origin. Scoliosis is a lateral curve most commonly seen in the mid back region, but will affect the entire vertebral column. According to the journal Spine, “Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common bone abnormality, seen in 4% to 6% of the world’s population.”
Scoliosis is 4 to 9 times more common in females than males and is most prevalent between the ages of 3 to 16 years of age. Females 10 to 12 years old are the most common to display the physical symptoms. Scoliosis, if left untreated will lead not only to a crooked spine, but can cause degenerative arthritis, cardio-pulmonary complications, and many serious joint dysfunctions.
Treatment of scoliosis is dependent upon the degree of lateral curvature in the spine. A 10° curve or less is considered medically normal and does not require aggressive treatment. Curves in the 10 to 20° range bear watching. Curves over 20° require an orthopedic consult and possible bracing. Curves over 45° are very serious and may require surgery.
In a recent study presented at the International Conference of Spine Care in England, Dr. Lanz Ph.D. stated, “Chiropractic care appears to offer a distinct advantage in the management of early stages of scoliosis.” The studies showed a 2.6° decrease in the curve per year vs. traditional medical care. Researchers also point out that curves under 20° offer no medical treatments.
Chiropractic on the other hand is most effective in the 0° to 20° range. Early detection through the use of X-rays is often necessary to determine the best course of action. Chiropractic manipulation together with a specific exercise program will often stop and help reduce the curve from progressing.
Proper scoliosis management always starts with early diagnosis and treatment. Medical doctors, Chiropractors, and Pediatricians now routinely screen children on a regular basis. School screenings are almost universal across the U.S. and because of these screenings, the rates of bracing and surgery have dropped dramatically.