• Dr. Rob Thiry

Is it more than just growing pains?



A condition I’ve been seeing more and more in my practice is scoliosis. The medical term is “adolescent idiopathic scoliosis” (AIS), and it remains the most common deforming orthopedic condition in children. Increasingly, parents of these children have been asking me about chiropractic treatment for this condition.


Scoliosis is presented as a spinal curvature occurring at or around puberty which, in its most aggressive form, leads to progressive spinal curvature and vertebral rotation. In children, it is associated with increased pain, reduced function and poor self-image. As children begin to experience growth spurts, the spine is driven out of alignment. Because the body is growing at such a rapid pace, these disc translations become cemented, setting the tone for long-term spinal dysfunction.


The good news is that scoliosis is common and well understood. Today, chiropractic is highly recognized as a non-invasive, corrective approach to scoliosis.


Why chiropractic?


If left unresolved, scoliosis can cause lifelong issues. To compound things, correcting scoliosis in adults is definitely harder than in children, simply because the spine has gone beyond its developmental stages and become cemented in its dysfunction.


Options available to growing children with identified scoliosis are varied, but have often involved bracing. In severe cases, corrective surgery may be required. Before these, however, I’ve found that chiropractic offers a non-invasive, low-cost, relatively side-effect-free option at the early outset of treatment. It enables parents to explore corrective options for their children without drastic impositions.


At an age where more than just the spine is developing, chiropractic is a simple, effective option for treating both congenital and secondary scoliosis.

Is chiropractic safe for children?


Many concerned parents ask me about the effectiveness and safety of chiropractic for children. This is understandable, because the spine is at a developmental stage and chiropractic involves things such as low-velocity adjustments, traction, and mirror-image adjusting.


Approximately 2.7 million patient visits are made to American chiropractors each year for scoliosis and scoliosis-related complaints. Chiropractors are using manipulation and other chiropractic approaches with these patients.


The good news for parents is that chiropractic is absolutely safe when performed by a qualified professional. Peer-reviewed studies have been published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, confirming the relative safety and outlining potential benefits of pediatric chiropractic adjustments.


The use of chiropractic care in children has been the subject of many review articles in medical journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatric Child Health, Journal of Manipulative Physiologic Therapy, and the New England Journal of Medicine.


In these articles, experts conclude that chiropractic treatment for children and adolescents is not uncommon. It is a rational use of this treatment in selected musculoskeletal conditions for which there is proof of efficacy.


Alternative treatments to prevent curve progression or prevent further curve progression such as chiropractic medicine, physical therapy, yoga, etc. can be utilized if they provide some physical benefit to the patient such as core strengthening, symptom relief, etc.


Preventing a lifetime of trouble


To avoid chronic ailments caused by nerve compression, disc herniation, general spinal dysfunction, and more, it is essential to identify and correct scoliosis at a young age. Chiropractic offers a choice to parents for the wellness of their children, without the stigmas and invasiveness of other corrective methods.


As with any therapy or medication, we encourage you to discuss all treatments with each doctor you and your child visit.


Contact my office for a free evaluation.


I can screen for scoliosis with a complimentary in-office consultation and will discuss various options, if indicated. In addition, if your child already has been diagnosed with scoliosis, we can determine if chiropractic care can help.


Sources referenced for the article:

Rowe DE, et al. Chiropractic manipulation in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis: a pilot study. Chiropr Osteopat. Aug 21, 2006.

Scoliosis Research Society website

Spigelblatt L, et al. Chiropractic care for children Paediatr Child Health. 2002 Feb; 7(2): 85–89


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