On September 28, 2020, the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research published the results of a case study that documented the reduction of scoliosis in a young girl who received chiropractic care. The chiropractic adjustment given were only done on her neck but caused the rest of her spine to change.
The study begins by explaining that scoliosis is a curve of the spine to the side, greater than 10 degrees when looking from either the front or back on spinal x-rays. The method of analysis which measures the degrees of curvature is known as the Cobb method. The study notes that when disease or physical bone deformities are not present as the cause of the curvature, it is considered to be idiopathic scoliosis.
Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) is described by the Scoliosis Research Society on their website as, “AIS is by far the most common type of scoliosis, affecting children between ages 10 to 18; it’s found in as many as 4 in 100 adolescents. In general, AIS curves progress during the rapid growth period of the patient.”
Scoliosis is found in 2-4% of children between the ages of 10 and 16 years old. It is less common in children younger, and very rare in those less than three years of age. AIS is considered to be the most common form of scoliosis. Typical medical care for the more severe cases is bracing.
In this case, a 12-year-old girl was brought to the chiropractor after having had a collision with a blow to the head while playing lacrosse over a week earlier. As a result of the accident, the girl was suffering with headaches. The collision was so severe that the girl temporarily lost consciousness and resulted in daily pulsating headaches near her left ear. In addition, the girl also was suffering with difficulty concentrating, neck, low-back, shoulder and ankle pain, and stomach discomfort.
A chiropractic examination and x-rays were performed. The x-rays showed a significant scoliosis present in the girl’s spine. From the examination and x-rays, it was determined that subluxation in the upper neck was present. To address the subluxation, specific chiropractic adjustments were started.
As care continued, follow-up examinations and spinal x-rays were performed. It was reported that the girl was experiencing symptomatic relief with her complaints. The x-rays showed a reduction of the subluxation in the upper neck. Additionally, the x-rays showed that the scoliosis was reducing, even though no adjustments were given to that part of the spine. Measurements of the curvature on the x-rays revealed that after 28 days of chiropractic care, there was a 40% reduction of the girl’s scoliosis.
In the discussion portion of the study, the authors summed up this case by stating, “This case presented the reduction of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in a 12-year-old female presenting with a chief complaint of headaches. Over a 28-day period, conservative chiropractic management led to improvement in chief complaint as well as incidental findings of scoliotic distortions.”