Can chiropractic adjustments fix scoliosis? That is the topic that I would like to put in the open. I would also like to show how chiropractic adjustments can be made without the cracking noises and still be effective. Here is another old blog post with low force chiropractic on scoliosis without after treatment x-rays. Officially, the American Chiropractic Association and probably other professional associations have the similar view that chiropractic care consisting of adjustments, therapeutic exercise and electrical stimulation has not been "shown to consistently reduce scoliosis or to make the curvatures worse." The only difference with my general pain therapy is that I deal with soft tissue issues like myofascial adhesions or muscle tightness with myofascial therapy and stretching such as a PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) or PIR (post isometric relaxation). A chiropractic adjustment without addressing the myofascial tightness pulling on the joint misalignment or subluxation is only addressing one facet in a multi-faceted problem. I rarely use electrical stimulation because it is time consuming and it does not make a noticable difference in muscle tightness for me. The problem with many exercises and even stretches is that they may not be aggressive enough to produce a noticable change. It is absolutely important and correct in addressing muscle weakness to restore overall muscle balance in a region to prevent future muscle tightness. I believe a tight muscle as a muscle that is over working to compensate for weakness from another muscle in the area which is the key principle to posture therapy. With the some senior patients, I am noticing that their scoliosis has progressively gotten worse. From what I hear, their lateral curvature was stable for a good part of their adult lives, but this hypothesis is still under observation. When I treat muscle pain, I tell patients that muscles will tighten over time and with daily use so scoliosis could get worse in theory with senior patients. The question with the ACA stance on scoliosis is if study parameters and standards were effective enough to have a consistent correction in scoliosis. With chiropractic, there is no financial support from drug companies to support chiropractic research and provide evidence of treatment efficacy and standards. The drug companies are a significant driver for medical research. If scoliosis is a bone or joint disease like Rheumatoid Arthritis or a connective tissue disease like Marfan's syndrome, then chiropractic adjustments, of course, cannot cure or treat scoliosis. On the other hand, if scoliosis is a cummulation of all the effects of multiple joint misalignments (subluxations) and muscle tightness which have the same mechanism as bad posture only in a different direction, then musculoskeletal therapy such as chiropractic adjustments and myofascial therapy can treat scoliosis. Saying that there is no evidence or research to support chiropractic, does not necessarily mean that a certain therapy does not work. I can understand the skepticism with the many health fads and myths out there. There is the debate that is currently going on legally with fibromyalgia and other conditions too. It is unfortunate that there is no current research on chiropractic and scoliosis that I know of. If a patient with scoliosis were to go to my office with no pain, tenderness or inflammation in any joint or muscle, I would have to turn them away.
If you are a patient that has had success from chiropractic with your scoliosis, I would love to hear your story and write about it with your permission.
**Patient was not diagnosed with scoliosis by a medical doctor. 9° Cobb angle on before treatment full spine x-ray. No full spine x-ray with after treatment x-ray to confirm results. Thoracic spine x-ray was not taken and the x-rays were taken by different chiropractors. The cause for scoliosis is unknown so chiropractic treatment cannot cure if scoliosis is a bone or connective tissue disease. Chiropractic treatments only address local joint restrictions and the soft tissue / postural therapy address muscle tightness and imbalance. The patient was treated for primarily low back pain and the scoliotic reduction was a pleasant surprise. This, of course, is not a guarantee for success for you if you have scoliosis. Your results may vary from any of the cases above depending on many factors such as patient compliance to complexity of the case such as having multiple issues and length of chronicity altering muscle function, some types of musculoskeletal bone or connective tissue diseases, etc..
ChiroWorks Care Center
Anthony Tsai, D.C.
Chiropractor in San Jose, CA
Graston Technique Certified
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