A patient walked into my office concerned because her family physician told her that she had scoliosis. She had shown signs of increased curvature for 2 years and it was monitored with x-rays. She was told that the curvature in her spine was getting worse and that she might need bracing or surgery. The patient was in her adolescence and did not want bracing or surgery. Her mother heard from someone that scoliosis can be treated with chiropractic care. The patient's mother looked on the internet to see if there were any chiropractors in the area that her insurance covered. Fortunately, that is how she found me. When she came in, she brought the x-rays with her. After looking at them I could definitely see a progression and decided that something needed to be done to stop it. I continued on, with the initial free consultation that I offer, and found that her scoliosis was more a functional problem and less a structural problem. A treatment plan and prognosis was made and given to the patient. After days of consideration, they agreed to treatment. This is a fictional story with some truth to it but due to HIPPA laws I cannot go into much detail. What I can say is that this scenario is one I see in my office regularly. It is amazing that the majority of the patient's I see with scoliosis have a functional and not an anatomical curve.
A functional curve is one that goes away with a positional change and is caused mainly from a muscular imbalance. The real problem comes from somewhere else. In most cases the cause is flat feet. An anatomical curve is one which has to do with a structural deformation that the patient was born with, trauma, or has some underlying disease such as neurofibromatosis. A functional curve can be treated and even reversed conservatively if found soon enough along with recognizing the underlying problem. An anatomical curve is more serious and may need surgery to be corrected. No matter what the case may be, it is recommended that children get screened for scoliosis usually after 3 years of age because after the patient reaches skeletal maturity. When that happens the curve is very difficult to treat and almost impossible to fully correct. It is also recommended that a person get several different opinions before making a definite decision. These opinions should include a chiropractor, pediatrician, family physician, and orthopedic surgeon if severe or recommended by PCP. This can be a serious problem but can be prevented. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via phone: 260-459-2205, fax: 260-459-2209, e-mail:
Thank you and have a healthy day.