Chiropractor Questions Scoliosis

Does scoliosis correct itself?

My daughter's school nurse found that she had a curve in her spine, which could be due to scoliosis. We made an appointment with our primary physician to have an official diagnosis. But, I'm wondering, does this disorder correct itself or will she need treatment? What would the treatment involve?

23 Answers

Scoliosis never corrects itself. Adjustment and exercises can help though.
The school nurse has a very important role in identifying early signs of abnormal posture and abnormal curves. There are also various specialists who can do a more detailed evaluation outside of the initial screening that they do at her school. It should include a physical exam and x-ray. This will help to determine the degrees of her curvature and the causes. As far as treatment goes, you may find a wide array of professional opinions. Depending on the cause you may have a number of conservative options including, exercise, bracing, spinal manipulation, heel/shoe lifts, or other lifestyle changes. A chiropractor is a trusted professional to consult with if you are seeking early intervention and a comprehensive evaluation that looks at the whole body to find the cause.
It won’t correct itself. There can be different types of scoliosis and some are mild cases and some can be extreme. It’s important to measure the degree of it with an X-ray.
Many cases of scoliosis in the literature indicate that if the curvature is minor, it can self-correct. However, it is VERY important to have the condition monitored to make sure it is not progressing past the 'minor' classification. Also note that even with 'minor' curvature, it can become permanent if it does not self-correct. There are exercise options, chiropractic adjustments, in severe cases bracing options are indicated. Scoliosis is no joke, it can affect her breathing, heart function, other organ systems as well as the obvious postural anc cosmetic issues. Have it checked by a healthcare professional to determine the extent of curvature and monitored throughout treatment to.
Over 20 years, I have seen many functional scoliosis (scoliosis due to poor posture, muscle weakness, and bad habits) corrected with regular adjustments and an education on posture, exercise, and nutrition. There has been 1, however, in my 20 years of experience, that kept moving and had to be surgically corrected.
Idiopathic scoliosis usually does not correct itself. It happens in girls more often than in boys and there's no known reason why it happens. Chiropractic manipulation has worked to improve the scoliotic curve when caught early. That's why it is important to have the children X-rayed during the puberty years before their growth spurt. People with scoliosis should get regular spinal manipulation because with the curvature, it will cause a twisting in the spine, which locks up the mobility of the facet joints in the spine.
Unfortunately, scoliosis is a progressive condition that does not naturally correct itself. The most common form of scoliosis is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), which can be managed conservatively if the curvature is relatively mild. There are several conservative management techniques within chiropractic and physical therapy that are worth looking into:

Chiropractic therapy has two major techniques known as "Chiropractic BioPhysics" (or CBP) and "CLEAR Institute." These techniques do not focus on manipulation or "cracking" the joints, but instead, focus on sustained stretching known as traction to force the spine back into alignment. The goal here is to stop the curvature from progressing.

Specific physical therapy techniques include the "Schroth method" and "SEAS." Physical therapy treatment focuses on strengthening the muscles of the spine to support itself better.

Bracing is another common question that my patients ask about. The traditional "Boston Brace" has been demonstrated to be ineffective in correcting or halting progression. An orthopedic surgeon will generally only be familiar with a Boston brace, so don't be surprised if they do not recommend bracing. There are, however, better and more modern braces on the market. The best brace that I have found is called the "ScoliBrace." The Scolibrace forces the spine into the reverse position as the scoliosis and holds it there, which can actually provide a mild to moderate degree of correction.

Lastly, the best time to begin treatment for scoliosis is when your child is young. Starting treatment while your daughter is 12-15 is much more effective than when they are older. If you can stabilize the curvature through her growth spurts, she will be much less likely to require further more invasive treatments.
It depends on her age and how bad the scoliosis is. If above 15 degrees treatment may be warranted but often the doctor will evaluate every 6 months and see if it has progressed before deciding if and what treatment may be needed.
It depends on the treatment involved. Physical therapy by itself will help strengthen muscles of the spine but you need chiropractic care to stimulate change on alignment and position. There is a specific technique of chiropractic created for scoliosis called CLEAR Institute. They specialize in curve correction for moderate to severe scoliosis. If there is not one on your area, look for a sports chiropractor as they see young athletes with curve issues a lot and have the rehab knowledge needed. Curves can correct if caught early on. Hopefully your daughter responds well to treatment.

Vishal K. Verma, DC, CCSP
It will not correct itself. Start with orthotics to hold the pelvic balance. Then you need to focus on the postural muscles that are imbalanced side to side, top to bottom. Since these are unconscious muscles, often body weighting procedures like the Pettibon method are quite useful.
No, it does not. It depends on the location of the scoliosis and the amount of degrees to make a proper determination.

Mark Klezmer, DC, CCSP, CCST, FIAMA
Typically, scoliosis does not correct itself. It is either caused from joint dysfunction in the spine (90+% of scoliosis) or an anatomical abnormality like a short leg or something similar (small % of the time). Chiropractors are fantastic at fixing scoliosis, but depending on your daughter's age, it affects how much we can correct it. If she's 10, we'll be able to make more progress than if she's 18, for example. I would get it evaluated by a chiropractor after your primary to get a second opinion.
Hi, unfortunately scoliosis will not correct itself. Chiropractic care will help slow down the progression during her growing years, but she will always have a scoliosis. There are different ranges of severity, unfortunately your medical doctor can not help her.
Many children receive scoliosis screens at school physicals. If a curvature is detected visually, either by a rib hump or a curvature in the spine with muscular imbalance, an examination by a spinal specialist is warranted. Unfortunately, many primary care physicians do not adequately examine the spine for curvature or scoliosis. If the curve is visible to the eye, X-rays should be performed to evaluate and measure the severity of the curvature. The X-ray should also give diagnostic information about the cause of the curvature and possible treatment options. Scoliosis is defined as a curvature in the coronal plane that measures 15 degrees or greater. Usually, surgery is not warranted unless the curvature is at least 50 degrees and causing issues with the cardiovascular system or the respiratory system. A combination of chiropractic manipulation and physical therapy has been found to be the most effective treatment for reducing the severity of the curvature. Without treatment, the curvature will usually worsen about 1-2 degrees per year. Unfortunately, the greater the severity of curvature, the more the abnormal stress to the spinal joints that can cause disc problems and arthritic changes over time. Scoliosis and even curvatures of the spine should be actively treated to prevent problems in the future.
I hope you find this information useful. Good luck with your daughter.

Take care and be well,

Dr. Eric Miller
Scoliosis does not correct itself, and may actually get worse depending on your daughter's age. I recommend seeking out a Chiropractor or an Osteopath for corrective treatment.

The short answer is no, scoliosis does not correct itself. Sometimes a spinal curvature is called a scoliosis, and where previously the curvature had to be over 35 degrees to qualify, they now say that a lesser curve can be scoliosis also. True scoliosis is genetic and is usually passed from mother to daughter although the father can pass the gene, too. It is more common in girls and tends to get worse when girls start getting their cycles to age 18 or so, and can resume during pregnancies. The good news is that there are many things that can be done to help scoliosis, without surgery!! Chiropractic is excellent at helping with scoliosis with gentle adjustments and exercises to strengthen and support the spine. Braces and casts are sometimes used. There are also clinics that specialize in scoliosis treatment if some of the other treatments are not working as well as expected.

Best of health,

Dr. Steven Moon
Scoliosis happens for a number of reasons. Once you have an official diagnosis, your doctor should be able to give you more information on the cause and course of treatment for her particular case. Many times scoliosis can be treated with conservative care without the need for bracing or surgery. In some cases, young patients can "grow out" of scoliosis, and in others the scoliosis remains, but doesn't impact their quality of life at all. I would urge you to get multiple opinions if there is ever a doubt for your daughter's case.
No, scoliosis does not correct itself. You need treatment and right away -- don't wait.
Not usually without the help of a healthcare provider. A chiropractic examination would be a great place to start!

Depends upon the degree of angle of the scoliosis and whether it is functional or structural curvature of the spine. If the curvature is not too bad, then a visit with the chiropractor may help. They may take an X-ray or review them if you have them to determine if they can help.
Treatment depends on severity of the curve. An X-ray will be necessary to monitor the patients progress as they grow. Recommendation is to seek consultation where X-ray is taken and discussion pending amount of curvature is discussed and therapy choices will be determined. This condition should not be left to “wait and see,” as the earlier the analysis, the better educated the patient is for proper treatment options.

Sherry McAllister, M.S. (Ed), D.C., CCSP
Treatment for scoliosis depends upon the severity. Once X-rays are taken (and the degree of curvature established), the health practitioner would have a general idea of the prognosis. Typically, treatment involves chiropractic care and sometimes involves the use of a back brace (depending upon the severity, etc).