New Research on Chiropractic and Scoliosis

Research News Staff
New Research on Chiropractic and Scoliosis

Young Boy Experienced Improvement in Curves Following Chiropractic Care

Recent research reporting on a 7 year old boy with scoliosis of the spine experiencing improvement in the curvature following chiropractic care reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in caring for scoliosis and spinal curvature. The research, reported in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health – Chiropractic, includes a review of the literature on scoliosis and chiropractic and also reviews potential mechanisms by which the improvement may have occurred.

“Research is revealing that there is a relationship between abnormalities in the spine, the nervous system and structural abnormalities such as scoliosis” stated Matthew McCoy DC, MPH, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. McCoy continued “This case adds to the body of scientific literature suggesting that chiropractic should play an important role in managing children with scoliosis and spinal curvatures”. 

According to the authors of the study scoliosis is estimated to affect up to 5% of the population. Long-term follow up of patients with scoliosis reveal several important findings: curve progression, loss of pulmonary function, increased overall mortality, increased mortality in women due to cancer, increased prevalence of self-reported arthritis, negative perception of health, increased difficulty in basic strenuous and semi-strenuous physical tasks, more days of limitation due to sickness, injury, and other health problems, and increased prevalence and intensity of back pain. 

The study’s authors point out that the available evidence presents the long-term implications of scoliosis as far more than merely a cosmetic defect, but a potentially serious impediment to a person’s long-term state of health and well-being. 

“It makes perfect sense when you think about it” stated Dr. McCoy. “As chiropractors we know that spinal nerve interference can lead to all sorts of dysfunction and this is certainly true with scoliosis and other spinal curvatures.” 

“Considering the fact that every single function of the body is controlled by the nervous system it should not surprise anyone that removing interference to the neurology that controls the muscles and joints of the spine would lead to improvement in the curves” remarked Dr. McCoy. 

According to McCoy “All of the organs and structures of the body need a constant and uninterrupted nerve supply in order to develop and function properly. Abnormal position or movement of the spinal vertebra can develop and this can lead to nerve interference. It is this interference, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.” 

In the reported study a 7-year-old male presented for care with recently diagnosed idiopathic scoliosis without any complaints of associated pain. The patient was assessed for vertebral subluxations in his spine and x-rays were taken. Chiropractic examination revealed subluxations in the cervical and thoracic spine as well as in the sacrum. Radiographs revealed a 25 degree scoliosis.

Chiropractic care took place over the course of 16 visits and the patient was seen three times a week. This case show a positive effect on reduction of the scoliotic curve from 25 to 11 degrees in this 7-year-old boy. It is possible that the subluxation plays a role in the development of scoliosis and managing them accordingly may improve the curvature in certain individuals.

Several factors are thought to contribute to the cause of idiopathic scoliosis, including genetic, neuromuscular, hormonal, and biochemical causes. The eventual result of these being an abnormal curving of the spine. Regardless of whether scoliosis is a cause of problems such as vertebral subluxation or the end product of predisposing factors such as those listed, it is reasonable to suggest that a chiropractor be involved in management of the patient, especially one who considers the interplay of structure, motion, and neurology of the spine. 

The study’s authors call for more research on chiropractic, subluxation and scoliosis.

McCoy Press