What Is Scoliosis? How Is Scoliosis Diagnosed? Can Chiropractic Help Scoliosis?
The Journal of Physical Therapy Science released a study in their April 2016 issue that showed that chiropractic care can help reduce or correct scoliosis in young children. In their abstract, the study authors state, The purpose of this study was to examine whether chiropractic techniques would reduce the curvature of idiopathic scoliosis, which commonly occurs in elementary school children.
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, Scoliosis is a musculoskeletal disorder in which there is a sideways curvature of the spine, or backbone. Scoliosis is measured using a system known as the Cobb angle. The Cobb angle is determined by comparing the tilt of two vertebrae at different points in the spine. When the angle measured is more than 10 degrees, it is classified as scoliosis.
In this study, five healthy elementary school students who had scoliosis were examined and measured to document the degree of scoliosis. The five participants each had a scoliosis that measured at least 10 degrees. The average age was between 11 and 12 years. Four of the children were boys and one was a girl.
A chiropractic examination was performed on each of the five participants and chiropractic adjustments were given to areas that, according to the study, did not show proper alignment. Chiropractic care was rendered three times per week for a period of 8 weeks. A measurement of the scoliosis was taken at the forth and eighth week of care to compare with the initial Cobb angles.
Results of chiropractic care for each of the subjects was dramatic. Two of the boys had an initial Cobb angle of 10 degrees. In both of these cases the Cobb angle was corrected to 0 (zero) degrees after just four weeks of chiropractic care. One boy with an initial 13 degree Cobb angle was reduced to 7 degrees by week four, and down to 0 degrees by week eight. The fourth boy had an initial Cobb angle of 11 which was reduced to 5 degrees at 4 weeks and remained at 5 degrees at the 8 week check. The one girl in the study started at 12 degrees of Cobb angle and was completely corrected to 0 degrees by week four.
In all, three of the five children showed total correction within 4 weeks, with one child taking 8 weeks. Only one child showed a partial correction of better than half by week four.
The authors of the study are PhDs and not chiropractors, from Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health and Welfare, Silla University, Republic of Korea. They explained the study and the results in their discussion by saying, In application of chiropractic techniques, a specific area of the vertebrae and joint is identified, and a rapid, low-amplitude stimulus is applied to correct the joint by applying force to it so that the joint moves into the physiological range and past the elastic range, which is the normal motion range of the joint. Therefore, chiropractic techniques are known to correct a twisted spine, restore muscle imbalance, help restore functions of spinal nerves.
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