Scoliosis Article – Part 2
Can scoliosis be prevented?
Now that we know what scoliosis is and how it is detected, what can we do as parents to prevent the curve from progressing? Is scoliosis treatable?
There are a few studies that show when the curve is less than 20 degrees, there are possible treatments. Catching scoliosis early is always your best chance for curve changes.
In fact, poor posture was thought to be an important contributing factor in the development of scoliosis in the early 19th century and in the U.S., posture training was one of the primary treatments for scoliosis in that era. It fell out of favor in the later years of the 19th century, as bracing and surgery became the preferred treatment of orthopedic doctors.
Scoliosis and spinal manipulation studies:
However, in a 2001 study performed in Hong Kong, “A long-lasting active spinal control could be achieved through the patient’s own spinal muscles.”
Other publications in Spine including studies done in Japan and in Sweden have suggested that a disturbance of postural equilibrium exists in idiopathic scoliosis patients:
“In Germany, the triad of outpatient physiotherapy, intensive inpatient rehabilitation and bracing has proven effective in conservative scoliosis treatments. The positive outcomes of this practice validate a policy of offering conservative scoliosis treatment as an alternative to patients, including those for whom surgery is indicated.”
A 2004 study of 19 patients by a group of chiropractors found that the combined use of spinal manipulation and postural therapy appeared to significantly reduce the severity of the curvature angle in all the subjects.
It is interesting to note that one of the methods the chiropractors used to treat the patients was traction, a treatment that was popular for spinal curvature in the early 1900’s.
Scoliosis and exercise:
Besides posture training, exercise is also considered important for scoliosis prevention and treatment in the United States. In a 1992 study in Croatica, greater occurrences of scoliosis were observed in children with limited physical activity.
Researchers from The Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, in Wellington, New Zealand, reported on a case of a young boy with progressive juvenile idiopathic scoliosis. They found that there was rapid improvement in this child’s spinal status achieved by physiological traction and specifically designed exercises.
Furthermore, a preliminary report on the effect of measured strength training in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis from a spine clinic in San Diego reports that out of 12 patients treated with strength training, four reduced their curves by 20 to 28 degrees.
Scoliosis and children:
Children with mild scoliosis treated with chiropractic adjustments have shown a reduction in their spinal curvature, according to the findings of a three year, $143,000 study funded by the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research. Charles “Skip” Lantz, DC, PhD, director of research of Life Chiropractic College West and his associates conducted this cohort study.
The researchers were studying the effects of chiropractic full-spine procedures such as adjustments, heel-lifts and postural counseling on children 9 to 15 years old with mild idiopathic scoliosis (less than 20 degrees of curvature with no complicating conditions). Scoliosis is a biomechanical problem deserving a biomechanical treatment, and should be advanced by biomechanical specialists such as chiropractors.
Scoliosis, check early and often:
Ultimately we need to check our children’s posture as they go through their growth spurts and check for the beginning signs of scoliosis. If there seems to be an indication, seek out a health professional who can properly evaluate and treat the spinal curvatures before they grow too severe to be treated conservatively.
About the author:
Dr. Katie Greeley is a board certified Doctor of Chiropractic and a mother of two living in Simi Valley, California. She has completed extended courses on pediatrics that go above and beyond the regular doctorate degree. Her office, United Family Chiropractic Center, is located in Wood Ranch at 1070 Country Club Drive West, Suite D in Simi Valley, CA. Dr. Greeley can be reached at (805) 522-2324.