Can a Chiropractor Fix Scoliosis Posted in: Treatment

“Can a chiropractor fix scoliosis?” It’s a common refrain from potential patients and skeptics alike. More often than not, we hear this question from people who have had a bad experience with a chiropractor (or two) in the past. Maybe they were promised something that wasn’t delivered. Or maybe their chiropractor was vague in what they were actually promising from the outset.

We absolutely believe that a chiropractor can help you drastically improve your quality of life. But answering the question, “Can a chiropractor fix scoliosis?” requires a bit of a deeper dive.

Setting Expectations Around “Fixing” Scoliosis

It’s important to understand from the outset that scoliosis is absolutely treatable. But it isn’t technically “curable.” Scoliosis is sometimes compared to diabetes since it’s a condition that requires ongoing care. It’s important to reframe your thinking from the short term to the long term here. This is going to be an ongoing battle that you’ll likely be waging the rest of your life.

That said, if you find the right approach to managing your scoliosis, you can live a wonderful life with few limitations. As long as you stay dedicated to the plan you develop with your doctor, you can drastically improve the quality of your life without bracing or surgery.

Approaches that promise a quick fix for scoliosis unfortunately rarely deliver meaningful results. It’s easy to promise a quick fix, but it’s a lot harder to actually deliver it. Many of these approaches ultimately have little impact on quality of life and, all too often, actually substantially worsen a patient’s situation.

Once you’ve reframed your thinking around what it means to be “fixed” when it comes to treating scoliosis, it’s time to find the right chiropractor for you.

All Chiropractors Aren’t Equally Equipped to Help

Scoliosis is a unique condition that requires a unique approach. Unfortunately, many chiropractors try to treat scoliosis as they would any other spinal condition. But with scoliosis, that simply won’t work.

Diagnosing Scoliosis

We often say “you can’t be a better clinician than you are a diagnostician.” What we mean is you can’t treat something you can’t effectively diagnose. Most chiropractors simply aren’t trained or equipped to effectively diagnose issues related to scoliosis. As a result, it’s easy to miss the underlying root causes as well as related issues such as instability of the surrounding ligaments.

Effective diagnosis is a central piece of developing a treatment plan that’s right for you and likely to deliver results. From there, you can move into treatment.

Treating Scoliosis

Traditionally, chiropractors look for “stuck” joints in the spine and try to make them “unstuck.” But with scoliosis, joint mobility isn’t the major issue. It’s the location of the joints that’s off. Treating scoliosis with a traditional chiropractic approach can actually put more pressure on the spinal joints, aggravate the surrounding nerves and lead to the scoliosis worsening over time.

The joints of the spine need to be repositioned first and foremost. But for any long term benefit to occur, there’s a whole lot more that needs to accompany this repositioning. Your muscles need to be relaxed. Your brain needs to be retrained to use the muscles and spinal joints differently than it’s become accustomed to. In order for scoliosis to be effectively treated, all of these things need to be happening together. In practice, this usually means scoliosis massages, stretches and exercises along with scoliosis-specific adjustments.

When We Assess New Patients

We sometimes get asked what it is CLEAR doctors look for when assessing a new patient with scoliosis. How do we know how much we’ll be able to help? It’s a great question, and the answer depends on each patient’s unique case. But here are a few general indicators we always look for.

1. Spinal Rigidity

We look for how rigid the spine is that we’re starting with. This can give us an indication of how much upfront work needs to happen before we can effectively start repositioning the spine.

But we focus on more than just discs, muscles and bones. We also factor in the nerves in your spine. More specifically, we look at how much tension is being placed on these nerves. Some theories of scoliosis believe it develops to relieve tension being placed on the nerves of the spine. While the jury is still out on nerve tension as a root cause of scoliosis, we believe it’s a major player not only in the shape of the spine, but also your quality of life. By alleviating nerve tension, we can help you feel better more quickly as we move forward with treating the shape of your spine.

2. Sensorimotor Integration

Sensorimotor integration (or “SMI”) is a fancy name for how well your brain is able to communicate with your body. Miscommunication between the brain and body can lead to all sorts of issues, including scoliosis. Fixing scoliosis requires us to retrain the brain to use the body, especially the spine, in ways it’s grown unaccustomed to.

This assessment often involved a series of balance-related tests to see how well things are aligned from the outset. We repeat these tests throughout a typical treatment to chart improvement. This is a major aspect of treatment that many traditional chiropractors overlook when it comes to effectively treating a patient with scoliosis.

3. Dedication of the Patient

This is perhaps the greatest factor we look at when determining how much progress we’ll be able to make with a new patient that has scoliosis. Your level of commitment will be one of the most important factors in how much improvement you’ll see in your quality of life.

We think of it like visiting the dentist (but hopefully without the sense of dread). Most of the “hard work” when it comes to oral hygiene doesn’t happen at the dentist’s office. It happens in your own home. The same is true when treating your scoliosis. If you stay dedicated to your treatment plan, you’re far more likely to reap the benefits of chiropractic procedures .

How to Find a Chiropractor to Fix Your Scoliosis

So can a chiropractor fix scoliosis? As we mentioned above, the first thing to look for is a chiropractor that can effectively diagnose your scoliosis. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions, not only from the outset, but throughout your treatment. The better you understand your diagnosis and treatment plan, the better your chances of substantially improving your quality of life.

We’ve prepared a bunch of questions you can ask your doctor that should be a nice starting point. But if any others come up, definitely don’t hesitate to add them to your list.

If you’re looking for a CLEAR-certified chiropractor in your area, you can do a quick search based on your location. Finally, if you have any questions for us about chiropractic care and scoliosis, please let us know in the comments below. We’d be happy to help.

55 comments on “Can a Chiropractor Fix Scoliosis?”

  1. 1
    Gloria Hood on November 8, 2016

    Looking for adult scoliosis treatment in Indianapolis. I am not ready for surgery.

    Thank-you

    1. 2
      Dr. Josh Woggon on November 8, 2016

      You can find a list of CLEAR Certified Doctors by clicking on the “Find a Doctor” button at the top-middle or bottom-right of this page.
      If there is not a CLEAR Certified Doctor near you, please consider reaching out to an Intensive Care (IC) Certified location, and asking them if Intensive Care would be a good fit for you.
      Thank you!

    2. 3
      Anastasia on March 28, 2017

      See if you can find a Schroth certified physical therapist in your area.

  2. 4
    Sebastian on November 10, 2016

    This was a really good article, thank you!

  3. 5
    Lakshminarayanan on December 28, 2016

    Is it possible to get a straight spine through this for an adolescent? Also can the ribs be put back in position?

    1. 6
      Dr. Josh Woggon on December 28, 2016

      Most cases of scoliosis can be controlled, but not completely cured. If the scoliosis is caught early enough, when it is still very mild (below 20 degrees), it may be possible to reduce a Cobb angle below 10 degrees (which would then technically not be considered a scoliosis). However, treating scoliosis is an ongoing process; once it is reduced, additional home exercises and other therapies must still be done to stabilize it and solidify the correction.
      The ribs are attached to the spine, so as the rotation of the spine is reduced, the posterior rib arching will become less noticeable and more symmetrical. It’s very common to see subtle but significant improvements in the appearance of the ribs (typically in the back on the right side and the front on the left) after just a few short weeks of treatment. It is important to note, though, that if the scoliosis has existed for many years, the bones themselves can start to change shape; reversing this process can take months or years, and it might never be completely corrected. Your CLEAR doctor will be able to evaluate your individual case and, after reviewing your x-rays and exam findings, provide an estimate of what results you might reasonably expect from treatment, as well as how long it might take to achieve them.

  4. 7
    Betty Jean Stanek on December 28, 2016

    I am looking for a CLEAR Certified Doctor in San Antonio, Texas. Thank your for all your articles and helpful information on Scoliosis.

    1. 8
      Dr. Josh Woggon on December 28, 2016

      You are very welcome! We’re very glad that you find the information we share to be valuable.
      You can find a complete list of CLEAR Certified Chiropractors at https://www.clear-institute.org/find-a-doctor/. There is also a helpful article on what to do if there isn’t a CLEAR doctor near you, which can be found here: https://www.clear-institute.org/blog/no-clear-doctor-near-you/.
      While unfortunately there are no CLEAR Certified Doctors in San Antonio, Drs. Drew and Jeanie Czerminski (www.advancedintegratedmedicine.net) have attended our seminars and are familiar with our approach, and may be able to review your case and provide you with some suggestions. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at care@clear-institute.org or (866) 663-7030 if there is any assistance or information we can provide!

  5. 9
    Theresa Lawson on January 9, 2017

    You were a lot of help, but is not any doctors in the Temecula Murrieta area

  6. 10
    Edie Shea on January 9, 2017

    I have spent most of my adult life in good chiropractic hands but have been nervous about going for the past 4 or five years because my bone density has gotten progressively worse. Most of my bones have a negative 3 .1 but a recent test showed the bone density in my lower spine was a negative 5.1. I question wether my bones are too fragile for chiropractic adjustments, given the combination scoliosis and stage 5 osteoperosis. Any suggestions or comments?

    1. 11
      Dr. Josh Woggon on January 10, 2017

      Thank you very much for taking the time to post your question! Most forms of chiropractic adjustments are very gentle, and have little to no risk of causing fractures, even in individuals with osteopenia or osteoporosis. The adjustments and therapies utilized with the CLEAR protocol are even safer than most. In 2015, we completed a study looking at over three-thousand patient visits, involving patients of all ages, and there was not one single incidence of a fracture or other serious side effect (the study was published in the scientific journal Scoliosis, and you can also access it on our Research page). Personally, I believe the beneficial effects of chiropractic in improving balance, mobility, and function are much more likely to decrease the risk of falls & fractures, and vastly outweigh the chance of a chiropractic adjustment to cause one. Ideally, your chiropractor will sit down with you to review the various therapies and adjustments that they feel would be safest and most effective with your individual case, and make decisions about your case together with you.
      Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns!

  7. 12
    T4T12S1 on January 31, 2017

    Hello!
    I was fused from T4 to T12 when I was 14 yo. I am now 24 yo and my lumbar curve progressed to 80 degrees of Cobbs angle. Doctors want to fuse my spine again all the way to S1. I am from Croatia, Europe. I started to go to a chiropractor in my country and already had 6 treatments, but I am not sure if he is CLEAR certified. I mean, I do feel a bit better but he explained to me that it takes time for spine to readjust. How should I know if what he does is the right treatment for me?
    Is there any way that chiropractice can work on such a severe curve?

    1. 13
      Dr. Josh Woggon on February 1, 2017

      Thank you so much for taking the time to ask! Treating a curve of this severity is difficult, and it is complicated by the fusion. While it is important to be realistic in these cases, and understand that it may take time & that there is only so much that can be done (since the fused segments can no longer be treated), it is possible for some forms of chiropractic to help. To know that the treatment is working for you, you’ll want to combine your personal, subjecting feelings (is it reducing your pain and improving your quality of life?) with objective measurements like ranges of motion, lung function, and images like MRI, x-rays, or ultrasound. This list of questions to ask your doctor might help you to decide if your current chiropractor is right for you:
      https://www.clear-institute.org/treating-scoliosis/questions-to-ask-your-doctor/
      While unfortunately there are currently no CLEAR Certified Doctors in Croatia, there are scoliosis specialists like Dr. Mark Berry at the American Spinal Clinic in Sofia, Bulgaria. Milan, Italy, is a world-leader in conservative scoliosis treatment, with centers such as ISICO and the Spine Method clinic. My personal friend, Dr. Enrico Pandiani, also lives in Milan and is currently taking the CLEAR Scoliosis Seminar series online! You may want to consider suggesting this to your current chiropractor, as well, to see if he would be interested in learning more about scoliosis & the CLEAR approach. Also, you can consider traveling for CLEAR Intensive Care treatment; for example, to Madrid, Singapore, or the US.
      Good luck, and I wish you all the best of health!

  8. 14
    Maria Lena Huecas on February 7, 2017

    Can this treatment still be applied if the scoliosis is already 42 degrees? Thanks in advance!

    1. 15
      Dr. Josh Woggon on February 7, 2017

      Yes, CLEAR can be effective even in cases of severe scoliosis. In fact, most people who choose CLEAR treatment are parents seeking to avoid surgery for their son or daughter with severe scoliosis. In most cases, with good patient compliance and adherence to the recommended follow-up care, they are successful! You can view more information on our Research page under About CLEAR, or visit our page on Severe Scoliosis to learn more about how CLEAR handles these types of cases: https://www.clear-institute.org/learning-about-scoliosis/types-of-scoliosis/severe-scoliosis/

  9. 16
    Florina Tan on February 20, 2017

    Hi, thanks for this article. Do you have CLEAR certified doctors here in the Philippines? Grateful if you could provide me of their contact details/location. Thank you so much.

    1. 17
      Dr. Josh Woggon on February 21, 2017

      You’re very welcome! While we do not currently have any doctors in the Philippines who are CLEAR Certified, we do have some doctors in the Philippines who are currently enrolled in the online class. Hopefully one will complete the certification process very soon! In the meantime, we have doctors in Tokyo and Singapore, and you can also encourage your local chiropractors to learn more about CLEAR by sharing our website with them. On the top right of the page, there is a link to Doctor Resources; the DC page is specifically designed to provide chiropractors with free seminars and more information about the benefits of CLEAR Certification: https://www.clear-institute.org/doctor-resources/dc/

  10. 18
    Indu on February 22, 2017

    My daughter has 65 degree angel of congenital scoliosis I don’t want surgery can it b fixed by chiropractic

    1. 19
      Dr. Josh Woggon on February 23, 2017

      Hello; the good news, the answer is yes, many people with congenital scoliosis have successfully avoided surgery with the CLEAR protocols. However, it’s important to recognize that it requires a much higher level of commitment than in most cases of idiopathic scoliosis.
      When scoliosis is caused due to a congenital malformation of one or more vertebrae, it adds another level of complexity. It is possible to reduce and stabilize a case of congenital scoliosis through conservative means, such as advanced chiropractic treatment. However, there is a limit to the amount of potential correction, and the risk for losing the correction is much higher. Like building a house an an imbalanced foundation, there will always be forces working to pull the spine out of place. In a case of idiopathic scoliosis, the risk of progression and losing the achieved correction gradually decreases with time, and so the frequency of in-office care and the time requirements for the home exercises can gradually be decreased as the spine stabilizes. With congenital scoliosis, the minimum amount of care & time needed to prevent the scoliosis from worsening is much higher, and so the frequency of visits and the time spent doing exercises must always be sufficient to overcome the imbalance caused by the malformation(s); it cannot be decreased over time as much as with idiopathic cases.

  11. 20
    Rose on February 24, 2017

    Hello, can you recommend any practitioners in or near Brisbane Australia? For my adolescent daughter.

    1. 21
      Dr. Josh Woggon on February 27, 2017

      CLEAR’s reputation is built upon the results of our doctors, so we only recommend doctors who have completed our Certification Process. You may find a list of these doctors by clicking on the Find a Doctor link at the top-middle or bottom-right of the page. You can also find helpful suggestions for what to do if there isn’t a CLEAR Certified Doctor in your area at the top of the Find a Doctor page.

  12. 22
    Tara Hobbs on March 1, 2017

    I’ve been told my a spinal surgeon that this is a moderate case, and that since her pelvic growth plate has almost closed, indicating that she was just about ”finished growing”, that there was no need to consider surgery and that it would likely not progress past this point she is at now (about 6 mos. ago). I do not recall the specific degree of her curvature, only that it was in the moderate range, and that the doctor did not seem overly impressed by it.
    He did not even suggest any type of treatment up front, until I asked if there was any way to manage pain she occassionally experiences. He referred us for PT but each visit was running $200-300 and twice a week. I simply cannot afford that. I do not know if her scoliosis is congenital or idiopathic.

    My additional concern is because it is an apparently severe enough curve that other doctors have made mention of how bad the curve looks when viewing her xrays at the local ER. The xrays were related to an incident in which the pediatrician we saw wanted to rule out appendicitis when my daughter was experiencing some severe pains in her right side. It turned out that the pain was due to another condition she suffers with (chronic constipation). But the ER doctor commented to me something along the lines of, ”Wow! She really had a bad case of scoliosis, huh?”
    That made me wonder if the two could have been interrelated when she was an infant. She has almost from the start had to deal with constipation. In addition, I recall that at about 6 mos, I noticed that her lowermost left rib protruded significantly, but when I asked her pediatrician about it, she dismissed it as insignificant. Any insight you can offer into the possibility of these conditions being interrelated would be appreciated. I am so glad I ran across your article first in my search for chiropractic treatment for scoliosis. It has been very informative and has brought much relief that there are treatment options out there.
    Thank you for your time.

    1. 23
      Dr. Josh Woggon on March 1, 2017

      Thank you for your kind words! We’re very glad to hear this information has been helpful to you!
      We think of scoliosis as a curve because we’re used to seeing it on two-dimensional x-rays. But the truth is, scoliosis is a helix. The spine isn’t bending, it’s coiling in on itself like a spring. This leads to the rotation of the torso which causes the ribs to stick out in the front on the left side (typically), and in the back on the right side.
      Many patients with scoliosis report issues with digestion, constipation, and similar problems. The brain controls every organ in the body through the spinal cord, so it makes sense that problems with the spine can lead to problems with other organs.
      Finding out the exact degree of the scoliosis is very important. It’s also important to ensure that your doctor is measuring the Cobb angle accurately (I’m always amazed by how many x-rays I receive on a regular basis where the measurement is wildly inaccurate). Measuring Cobb angle is not difficult; we show you how, here: https://www.clear-institute.org/learning-about-scoliosis/cobb-angle/ If the Cobb angle is more than 30 degrees, research suggests it is likely to continue to get worse even after the spine is done growing.
      It seems to me that there are many warning signs here that your current doctor might not be very familiar with the latest research on scoliosis, nor aware of just how much of an effect it can have upon an individual’s physical, emotional, and social health. I’d highly recommend consulting with a different doctor who will take your concerns more seriously; perhaps our List of Questions to Ask Your Doctor might be helpful in this regard: https://www.clear-institute.org/treating-scoliosis/questions-to-ask-your-doctor/
      Please do not hesitate to let us know if there is any additional assistance or information we can provide!

  13. 24
    K Davis on April 22, 2017

    My 12 y.o. (almost 13) daughter is a competitive gymnast who was just diagnosed with a left curvature of the spine less than 20 degrees and complete loss of cervical lordosis. Is there any information regarding continuation of the sport causing her “scoliosis” to progress? Will it interfere with treatment?

    1. 25
      Dr. Josh Woggon on April 25, 2017

      Hello,
      The relation between scoliosis and gymnastics has long been observed, but participating in gymnastics does not necessarily cause scoliosis to get worse. In fact, some research suggests that it may actually be the opposite – participation in gymnastics might reduce the risk of scoliosis progressing (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25866554). While scoliosis is more commonly observed in gymnasts (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10828918), it’s more likely that people with scoliosis tend to be more flexible, and so they naturally gravitate towards activities like gymnastics and dance (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16895527).
      However, it’s important to evaluate each case individually. It is possible that certain maneuvers can aggravate certain types of curves, or that some pre-existing injuries or issues might be worsened by the gymnastics. CLEAR also has a guide to physical activities & scoliosis which you might find helpful: https://www.clear-institute.org/living-with-scoliosis/scoliosis-exercises/sports-and-activities/

  14. 26
    Irish Dimatulac on June 22, 2017

    Hi, i just want to ask if a chiropractor can help me, I have mild levoscoliosis, leftward deviation from T12 – L4 with apex at L2 and cobbs angle of 11° grade 1 rightward rotation.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. 27
      Dr. Josh Woggon on June 22, 2017

      It’s important to understand that there are many different chiropractic techniques, and some of them are more effective in treating scoliosis than others. What you describe is a relatively mild case of scoliosis, which a CLEAR certified chiropractor would most likely be able to help reduce & stabilize in a short period of time. However, a chiropractor who used primarily “gentle” adjusting techniques and did not include exercises or rehab procedures would most likely not be able to help you with your scoliosis, even if they treated you for a year or longer.

  15. 28
    Santona on July 28, 2017

    Hello. I am a massage therapist and I live in Jamaica, I recently found out that i have scoliosis, have been searching high and low for a chiropractor. My back hurts sometimes and my neck hurts and feels stiff is it because of the scoliosis?

    1. 29
      Dr. Josh Woggon on July 29, 2017

      Yes, scoliosis can be the cause of back and neck pain. If you’re looking for a great chiropractor in Jamaica, may I recommend Dr. Neil Gardner? I’ve been friends with him for years. He practices in Kingston, and he’s an absolutely incredible doctor/athlete/all-around great person. If you see him, please mention my name (Dr. Josh Woggon with the CLEAR Scoliosis Institute) and tell him I said hi! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Gardner

  16. 30
    Nicolás on July 29, 2017

    Hi, I live in Chile. Do you know someone you could recommend?

    Thanks in advance

    1. 31
      Dr. Josh Woggon on July 31, 2017

      Unfortunately we do not currently have any doctors in South America; however, we do have a clinic in Panama in Central America, which would be the closest to you. You can find a complete list of our doctors here: https://www.clear-institute.org/find-a-doctor/

  17. 32
    Carmelo Q. Quitoriano on August 24, 2017

    Hi Dr. Josh Woggon, good day to you. I am Carmelo Q. Quitoriano, from the Philippines. I have a 13 yr old son whom I have observed to have curved spine, which was confirmed by her pedia through an xray. I am now trying to get more informed myself and knowing my options and choices if I go to a regular ortho-spine specialist or go to a chiropractor? His xray does not indicate any cobbs angle, but I estimate based on my internet research, its within 25-40 or moderate scoliosis. Can you enlighten me doctor please. I am residing in the countryside so I want to know everything I must know before we go spending out hard-earned resources. Thanks a lot for your kind reply. Appreciate it.

    Carl Q. Quitoriano
    carl_quitoriano@yahoo.com

    1. 33
      Dr. Josh Woggon on August 28, 2017

      Hello, Carl! There is a great deal of information on this site, in the blogs, glossary, and under the Treating Scoliosis section. I also recommend the book Scoliosis and the Human Spine, by Dr. Martha Hawes, PhD. You might also find these posts helpful: https://www.clear-institute.org/blog/practical-guide-handling-diagnosis-of-scoliosis/ and https://www.clear-institute.org/learning-about-scoliosis/types-of-scoliosis/moderate-scoliosis/
      Please let me know if there is any additional assistance or information I can provide!

  18. 34
    harlika langit on September 13, 2017

    Hi. I have an idiopathic thoracic dextroscoliosis with a 62 degree cobbs angle. Is chiropractor reccomended for me? I am 21 y.o. and havent gone any treatment at all.

    1. 35
      Dr. Josh Woggon on September 13, 2017

      CLEAR does not recommend traditional chiropractic care for the treatment of severe scoliosis (40 degrees or above). The CLEAR Certified Doctors undergo hundreds of hours of special training that empowers them to achieve greater success in managing these types of cases, however, and together our doctors have successfully helped thousands of patients avoid surgery since 2000. I would encourage you to reach out to a CLEAR doctor in your area and share your x-rays and case history with them, so they might provide you with their recommendations and assessment. You can find a list of the CLEAR doctors here: https://www.clear-institute.org/find-a-doctor/
      If there is not a CLEAR doctor near you, don’t worry! Read this article for additional help: https://www.clear-institute.org/blog/no-clear-doctor-near-you/

  19. 36
    Anna on September 30, 2017

    Hello. I live in Houston and, unfortunately, the nearest CLEAR certified chiropractor is in Austin… That’s too far away. Could you please recommend somebody in Houston?
    Thank you very much.

    1. 37
      Dr. Josh Woggon on October 1, 2017

      Unfortunately we only recommend chiropractors that have been fully trained and certified. Visit our blog on what to do when there’s no CLEAR chiropractor in your area for helpful tips: https://www.clear-institute.org/blog/no-clear-doctor-near-you/

  20. 38
    Jeff on October 16, 2017

    Greetings, my 5 year old was recently diagnosed with a 10 degree scoliosis. Her doctor didn’t feel it was even worth discussing with us & simply had his nurse tell us to bring her back in a year. I understand it’s the mildest form, but given she’s so young, would it be easier to treat now while it’s still mild, or does it make more sense to simply monitor to determine if it’s even progressing before going through the effort & cost of chiropractic treatment? I just haven’t found much info/guidance specific to juvenile scoliosis (especially chiropractic treatment), and whether it tends to progress any slower or faster than during the adolescent stage. Thanks!

    1. 39
      Dr. Josh Woggon on October 16, 2017

      A 10 degree curve in a 5 year-old could be a simple matter of posture, or it could be the beginning of a severe scoliosis. With so much growing left to do, it’s not uncommon to see the curve worsen by about 10 degrees in a year. In my opinion, it’s always better to take a proactive approach, and treat any condition in its mild, growing stage, rather than wait until it becomes more severe and thus requires a greater investment of time & money to reverse. There may be some ways of screening your daughter to determine her individual risk of progression. I would recommend bringing her in to see a CLEAR doctor. A small investment now could prevent large problems down the road, and even if the doctor determines the individual risk to be very low, it would still be worth it, to have the peace of mind.

  21. 40
    Alice on October 26, 2017

    At age 66 I was diagnosed with scoliosis in my upper back when I went to a local chiropractor for the pain. The chiropractor took x-rays but didn’t do the math on the degree of the curve but did say it was probably a little less than 20 degrees. So far, I have had 43 adjustments with only minimal pain relief for brief periods. My chiropractor has had training on the treatment of scoliosis and is working to un-rotate my spine somewhat to take pressure off a nerve. Is there a time limit on treatments to work (if they are going to work at all)?

    1. 41
      Dr. Josh Woggon on October 27, 2017

      Having a doctor who does not measure your Cobb angle should be considered a warning sign that they might not be the ideal person to treat your scoliosis. You can find a list of helpful questions to ask your doctor on our website (https://www.clear-institute.org/treating-scoliosis/questions-to-ask-your-doctor/) that could aid you in finding the best doctor for your scoliosis.

      Exactly what type of scoliosis training does your doctor have? Forty-three adjustments is a lot of time and money to invest to achieve only minimal, temporary relief. While it is true that the spines of older individuals usually are more rigid and take longer to respond to care, you should have had at least one (preferably three) re-evaluations after 43 visits (the standard in chiropractic is to re-evaluate the patient after 30 days or 12 treatments, whichever comes first). Are there objective signs of improvement on x-ray, functional exams, pain or disability questionnaires, or other clinical care metrics? If you have evidence that the treatment is effective, even though your symptoms have yet to improve, it may be that your spine is simply responding slower to care, and it’s worth continuing care. However, if your pain levels have not changed, and you do not have any other signs of the effectiveness of the care plan, I would recommend at least consulting with a different doctor to explore alternative options.

  22. 42
    Lyusi Mirzoyan on November 4, 2017

    Hello, since 16 my parents noticed my scoliosis and after getting an x-ray I had a double curvature of 21°. I began getting physiotherapy every week and after a year my curvature had reduced by half and because of studies I unfortunately stopped going to the physio and doing exercises at home and now when I am 18 I noticed that my back had gone back to how it was before getting the treatment. When I sometimes do back exercises similar to what I had been doing at the physio I notice that my muscles do stretch and cramp and my back does crack during the exercises. I do get back pain but it goes away after a day and some exercise. I got my period when I was 14 and I did notice that I got taller since last year. I was wondering that if I start the physio again but more rigorously, would I be able to fix my scoliosis? I cannot afford surgery as I am in my last year of high school and I cannot miss 5 months of school. Are there any possibilities I can consider without any surgical treatment

    1. 43
      Dr. Josh Woggon on November 5, 2017

      Hello,
      With a scoliosis of less than 35 degrees, surgery is not usually an option one would consider. After the age of 16, bracing becomes much less effective as well. Honestly, a scoliosis-specific physiotherapeutic or exercise-based program (such as CLEAR, Schroth, SEAS, ScolioGold, or similar) would most likely be the best choice for managing the pain and other symptoms, and ensuring optimal spinal function.
      It’s important to understand that most cases of scoliosis cannot be fixed or cured, but they can be managed and controlled. Reducing and stabilizing a scoliosis through scoliosis-specific exercise is possible, but most people with scoliosis will always live with some degree of curve in their spines. Exercises are also like proper diet & nutrition, or regular dental hygiene, in that they are about the journey, not a destination. If you want the benefits of a good diet or regular brushing & flossing, you have to continually maintain these practices – they have to become part of your life. It’s very similar with scoliosis exercises. You may start out with an intensive program that takes 1 or 2 hours every day, and gradually decrease the time spend exercising each day once you get the results you want, but you should always count on doing at least 10 or 20 minutes of exercises for your spine every day.

  23. 44
    Dr. Josh Woggon on November 5, 2017

    Hello,
    With a scoliosis of less than 35 degrees, surgery is not usually an option one would consider. After the age of 16, bracing becomes much less effective as well. Honestly, a scoliosis-specific physiotherapeutic or exercise-based program (such as CLEAR, Schroth, SEAS, ScolioGold, or similar) would most likely be the best choice for managing the pain and other symptoms, and ensuring optimal spinal function.
    It’s important to understand that most cases of scoliosis cannot be fixed or cured, but they can be managed and controlled. Reducing and stabilizing a scoliosis through scoliosis-specific exercise is possible, but most people with scoliosis will always live with some degree of curve in their spines. Exercises are also like proper diet & nutrition, or regular dental hygiene, in that they are about the journey, not a destination. If you want the benefits of a good diet or regular brushing & flossing, you have to continually maintain these practices – they have to become part of your life. It’s very similar with scoliosis exercises. You may start out with an intensive program that takes 1 or 2 hours every day, and gradually decrease the time spend exercising each day once you get the results you want, but you should always count on doing at least 10 or 20 minutes of exercises for your spine every day.

  24. 45
    female on December 7, 2017

    Hello. I am in my late 40’s and have very mild scoliosis with 7 degree curve and rotation on axis. I feel grateful that it is as mild as it is but wonder if it is already as good as it gets or if treatment could improve it. Thank you

    1. 46
      Dr. Josh Woggon on December 8, 2017

      Hello,
      We believe every one living with scoliosis should have the right to decide for themselves if their case of scoliosis is deserving of treatment or not. Mild cases of scoliosis can sometimes cause pain, muscle tension, & impairments in lung function & the body’s ability to exercise, and an clead to long-term problems with the muscles, joints, and legs over time. The CLEAR Scoliosis Protocols are extremely effective in mild cases of scoliosis, and due to the comprehensive nature of our treatment, we often identify & improve other areas of dysfunction in the body as well, leading to an overall increase in wellness and health-related quality of life.
      So the short answer is, Yes! Even people living with mild scoliosis can benefit from CLEAR treatment, and experience significant improvements. Find a doctor today at https://www.clear-institute.org/find-a-doctor/.

  25. 47
    Nafisa on January 7, 2018

    Can someone who has already gotten the surgery go see a chiropractor

    1. 48
      Dr. Josh Woggon on January 9, 2018

      Yes, many post-surgical patients have been helped by the CLEAR protocols. You can read a case study on one patient’s experience here.

      Please keep in mind that not every chiropractor has advanced training in scoliosis. Before you select a chiropractor for your scoliosis – whether or not you have had the surgery – you should use our List of Questions to Ask Your Doctor to ensure they have the proper training to achieve the results you want.

  26. 49
    Do Chiropractors Really Help on February 21, 2018

    yes i am agree with it this method of treatment is really effective and great .
    Thanks for this great article. Especially it works on Neck, Spine ayes i am agree with others this method of treatment is really effective and great .
    and also for back pain and on Foot and also for back pain

  27. 50
    Ali Qureshi on April 18, 2018

    Thanks for sharing this quality of work

  28. 51
    Santi on June 13, 2018

    Hi Dr Josh.
    My 7 year old son has scoliosis and due to his genetic condition(leukodystrophy), expected to get worsen over the time and need spinal fusion.
    Please advise if Clear treatment will help? We worry that chiropractor treatment will get his spine worsen.
    Regards,
    Santi

    1. 52
      Dr. Josh Woggon on June 13, 2018

      Hello,
      Patients with neuromuscular scoliosis (which is scoliosis caused by another disease, such as muscular dystrophy or in this case, leukodystrophy) have been helped by CLEAR treatment in the past. However, these types of scoliosis are obviously complicated by the presence of the genetic condition or associated disorder, and so need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. I would recommend that you get in touch with a CLEAR doctor that would be possible for your son to receive treatment from. They will ask that you send them your son’s medical records and x-rays so that they can evaluate his case and determine if he would be a candidate for CLEAR treatment. It may also be necessary to schedule a in-person or phone consultation so they can go over additional information with you.

      The good news is that, even if surgery turns out to be necessary, the time & resources you invest in CLEAR treatment are not wasted. We have recently begun working together with orthopedic surgeons who have noticed that their surgical patients who undergo CLEAR treatment before their surgery achieve better results, have fewer complications, and recover faster than patients who do not. I hope this encourages you to get in touch with a CLEAR doctor to see if they can help your son!

      Please let me know if there is additional information or assistance we can provide!

  29. 53
    family medical center on June 17, 2018

    Very informative. Thank you for this post. Will help many understand how scoliosis can be managed by chiropractors.

  30. 54
    Aly on July 8, 2018

    Hello, so I recently found out that I have “scoliosis” my doctor said its only about 5 degrees, It was quite shocking especially since I’ve never notice, never had back pain or anything. I would like to join the military but heard you cant unless you get a waiver. Would it be easier to get a waiver since I’ve never had back problems from it and it’s only 5 degrees, or would it be easier to try to find a treatment? Don’t really know if you can answer this but I would greatly appreciate any advice!!

    1. 55
      Dr. Josh Woggon on July 9, 2018

      It’s important to note that scoliosis can only be diagnosed on an x-ray, and that the Cobb angle must measure 10 degrees or higher for a scoliosis diagnosis. Sometimes, healthcare professionals use a scoliometer (sometimes called a Bunnell scoliometer) to measure rotation of the ribs when the patient is bending forward; this is also measured in degrees, with 7 degrees on the scoliometer correlating roughly to a 20 degree Cobb angle (this is only approximate, as rotation does not correlate very well with the Cobb angle measured on x-ray). The reason I mention this is, if your Cobb angle is less than 10 degrees, you do not technically have scoliosis. If your scoliometer measurement was 5 degrees, you may have scoliosis and should have an x-ray taken to be sure.
      The military guidelines for scoliosis can be found here. Unless your Cobb angle is over 20 degrees in the lumbar spine or 30 degrees in the thoracic spine, you will have no problems signing up. We have had many patients who were turned away from enlisting due to their scoliosis, came to us for treatment, and then were able to sign up without a problem, so if you are reading this and in a similar situation, please reach out to a CLEAR doctor today!

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