As scoliosis is a progressive and incurable condition, the unfortunate truth is that no one can permanently ‘fix’ scoliosis. The positive side of that is while we can’t cure it, we can most certainly treat and manage it effectively.
There are two main treatment paths a person can take, and as a scoliosis-specific chiropractor, I can offer patients a more natural and less invasive approach.
Can a chiropractor fix scoliosis? No. If you have scoliosis, you can NOT just go to a chiropractor to fix it. If you want to slow or reverse scoliosis progression, then you need to find a scoliosis chiropractor, one who has the proper certifications and training for properly treating scoliosis as a chiropractor.
Before we talk about the benefits of choosing a chiropractor, let’s spend a little time understanding the shortfalls of the traditional treatment path.
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Before the conservative approach gained respect and popularity by producing enough impressive treatment results, patients had a dominant approach they were recommended to follow: the traditional approach.
I sometimes refer to the traditional approach as the watch-and-wait approach because the first steps on the treatment path are more reactive than proactive.
Consider a typical case of a 12-year-old girl first getting diagnosed with mild scoliosis. If she was seeking out traditional treatment, she would likely be told that her condition was mild. Then, they would just suggest that they would watch and wait to see if and how fast it progressed.
She would likely be told to come back in three-to-six months for another exam and X-ray. The issue I have with this is we know growth spurts are the biggest trigger for progression. We also know that as a progressive condition, virtually every condition is going to get worse.
Let’s say that in the time before her next X-ray, that patient has a huge growth spurt. That could accelerate her scoliosis from mild to moderate; her curvature is now worse as it was left to progress unimpeded.
There is a strong correlation between conditions treated early on in their progressive line and treatment success.
If that patient had come to see me here at the Scoliosis Reduction Center and I diagnosed her, I would have started treatment immediately: proactive versus reactive.
I don’t wait to see how a condition that I know is going to get worse is going to progress before I start treating it. To me, that is wasting valuable treatment time. This is where our conservative approach differs greatly from the traditional path.
Here at the Center, we start treatment as close to the time of diagnosis as possible. This is beneficial both in terms of treatment and the patient’s experience of that treatment.
Treatment for more severe forms of the condition involves more work and intensity, both for the patient and us.
It is best to start when the condition is in its mildest form. This is when the treatment experience is likely to be easier for the patient and offer better results.
Conditions are also easier to treat early on because the spine gets more rigid as a curvature worsens. This means it is less malleable and harder to manipulate.
Scoliosis develops across a wide spectrum of severity and can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe.
The more severe a condition is, the more likely it is that the patient will experience noticeable symptoms such as postural changes and discomfort. We want to avoid all of this by staying ahead of the curvature by treating it early on, instead of watching and waiting.
Scoliosis is a complex condition for a number of reasons:
Seeking out help from a general chiropractor will fall short in terms of treatment success. Every patient needs and deserves to find a chiropractor who specializes in scoliosis treatment.
The nature of scoliosis necessitates an integrative approach to treat it effectively. A doctor or chiropractor offering general treatment that is not scoliosis-specific simply won’t have the training. They also won't have the knowledge or experience to impact a condition as complex as scoliosis.
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for scoliosis as each case varies greatly from patient to patient. I can honestly say in my years of treating scoliosis, I have never treated two patients the same way.
Here at the Center, we design a fully customized approach that combines the benefits of multiple disciplines to address the characteristics of each individual patient and their condition.
Even within our chosen treatment disciplines, no one on their own can produce the kind of results that our integrative approach delivers.
Here at the Center, all our treatment forms are scoliosis-specific. We combine chiropractic, therapy, rehabilitation, and corrective bracing.
From a patient’s exam and X-ray, we know everything we need to design an effective treatment plan. We apportion these disciplines accordingly and tweak the plan as we monitor how the spine is responding to treatment.
I perform a number of focused chiropractic adjustments to get the spine to move out of its abnormal curvature. The goal is restoring as much of the spine’s healthy curves as possible.
The treatment focus will be on the entire spine and not just the site of scoliosis. Even losing one of the spine’s healthy curvatures impacts the biomechanics of the entire spine.
First and foremost, I want to impact the condition on a structural level. Through targeted chiropractic adjustments, we work towards manipulating the curvature to move in the direction we want.
Once I have achieved a curvature reduction, we work towards stabilizing and supporting the spine so that treatment results are sustainable.
We augment these results with other forms of treatment such as therapy, rehabilitation, and corrective bracing. These treatments complement each other by working together to facilitate the curvature reduction.
Patients are sometimes disappointed that efforts have to be continued from home and with regular chiropractic care even after a reduction has been achieved. As a progressive and incurable condition, a person is never truly rid of their scoliosis.
We work closely with our patients to ensure treatment results are sustainable, and monitoring and regular chiropractic appointments are often part of that sustainability.
At-home exercises can also be a big part of maintaining flexibility and adequate muscle support for the spine.
As a scoliosis-specific chiropractor, I know the spine, and I know scoliosis. I know how to treat the underlying condition without the need for medication, injections, and invasive procedures such as spinal-fusion surgery.
Here at the Scoliosis Reduction Center, surgery is always the last resort. No one should consider it without first trying a more natural conservative approach offered by a scoliosis chiropractor.
A commonly-asked question regarding chiropractors and scoliosis, is can a chiropractor straighten my spine?
When scoliosis is present, the spine is misaligned because of the curve’s most-tilted vertebrae at its apex; when the spine is misaligned, its overall function, biomechanics, and health are disrupted.
As a CLEAR-certified scoliosis chiropractor, I know scoliosis, and I know the spine.
Through a series of manual adjustments, and other chiropractic strategies and techniques, I can work towards adjusting the most-tilted vertebrae back into alignment with the rest of the spine, which also helps restore as much of the spine’s natural curves as possible.
Remember, there is a big difference between general chiropractic and scoliosis-specific chiropractic, and the CLEAR chiropractic approach was designed specifically for scoliosis patients and has been in use around the world since 2000.
CLEAR treatment protocols for scoliosis involve integrating multiple condition-specific treatment disciplines to impact the condition on every level.
As a structural condition, this means that scoliosis develops because of an abnormality within the spine itself, so first and foremost, effective treatment has to impact the spine on a structural level, in the form of a curvature reduction.
As tilted vertebrae are adjusted and reclaim their natural position in alignment with the rest of the spine, areas of vertebral subluxation are being addressed, which allows the spine to function optimally.
Scoliosis isn’t always painful. Age is a significant predictor of whether or not a person’s scoliosis will be painful, as well as condition severity and the angle of trunk rotation (ATR); it’s the condition’s rotational component that makes scoliosis 3-dimensional as the spine doesn’t just bend unnaturally to the side, but also twists from back to front, front to back.
The more severe the condition (the higher the Cobb angle), and the more twisted the spine is, the more likely it is to be painful, but in the condition’s most-prevalent form, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, scoliosis is not yet a compressive condition.
Scoliosis doesn’t become compressive until skeletal maturity has been reached; growing spines are experiencing a constant lengthening motion that counteracts the compressive force of a scoliotic curve.
It’s compression of the spine and its surrounding muscles and nerves that is the cause of the majority of condition-related pain.
While postural deviation is the main symptom of scoliosis in children and adolescents, in adults, it’s pain, and that pain can take the form of localized back pain and/or radicular pain felt throughout the body, commonly in the arms, legs, and feet.
In addition, muscle pain can be an issue as the muscles that surround the spine struggle to support its unnatural curve, and can become unbalanced as a result; muscles that are strained and exposed to uneven wear can become stiff, sore, and strained.
Chiropractic care can help with pain management by addressing its underlying cause: the structural nature of the condition itself.
As condition-specific chiropractic care works towards adjusting the position of the most-tilted vertebrae, the spine is becoming aligned again, taking pressure off its surrounding muscles and nerves, reducing compression and uneven forces as the curvature size is reduced on a structural level.
While no one has the power to ‘fix’ scoliosis in the curative sense, the condition can most certainly be managed and treated effectively. Thankfully, the traditional-treatment route is no longer the only choice.
This is a large part of why I wrote Scoliosis Hope: to empower patients with the knowledge that they have more, and better, treatment choices than ever before.
While some still choose the traditional-treatment path, this is the choice most likely to end in invasive and costly spinal-fusion surgery.
In addition to treatment efficacy, the big benefit to walking a different path with a scoliosis chiropractor is that the approach carries few, if any, side effects or risk factors.
Here at the Scoliosis Reduction Center, all disciplines used to treat our patients are scoliosis-specific. We combine chiropractic, therapy, rehabilitation, and corrective bracing.
Spinal-fusion may be successful in terms of strictly straightening a crooked spine, but that comes at a high cost.
There is a significant loss in flexibility and no guarantee that the patient’s scoliosis won’t continue to progress. There are a lot of unknowns surrounding hardware longevity and potential long-term side effects.
Once spinal-fusion is done, there is no going back. The only way to address emerging issues is with subsequent surgeries, and that is never a good option.
For those wanting to reduce their scoliosis, lessen related symptoms, and gain empowerment through learning how to manage their condition proactively, a scoliosis chiropractor has the tools and experience to do so.