Can Chiropractic Care Help Scoliosis?

According to Dr. Charles Lantz, “Full-spine chiropractic adjustments with heel lifts and lifestyle counseling are not effective in reducing the severity of scoliotic curves”.  (JMPT 2001 Jul-Aug;(6):385-93, Lantz CA, Chen J.)

In an article published by Dr. Mark Morningstar, et al, the abstract states: “In this study, we investigate[d] the possible benefits of combining spinal manipulation, positional traction, and neuromuscular reeducation in the treatment of idiopathic scoliosis….  After 4-6 weeks of treatment, the entire sample size averaged a 62% reduction in their Cobb angle measurements.” (

I digress to the second article, with which I have a personal bias and representation.

Unfortunately, spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) and chiropractic adjustments (CA) both may have a detrimental effect on scoliosis by mobilizing compensated fixated stabilizing spinal units.  SMT and CA may actually increase scoliosis, and symptomatic care is taught in most chiropractic colleges.

The medical model is much worse, beginning with observation (like watching a coming disaster), followed by bracing (psychological and functional disability) and then surgery (permanent disability).

Scoliosis begins in the head, not in Cobb’s angle.  Cobb’s angle is only a reaction to the unaddressed subluxation resulting from abnormal biomechanics.

Scoliosis begins with forward head posture (FHP), loss of cervical and/or lumbar lordosis.

In the Active Phase, this is seen by a flexion malposition of C0 (occiput) and C1 (atlas) and a lateral deviation of the atlas relative to the head and upper cervical spine.

The C0 and C1 flexion subluxations create interference with the anterior corticospinal tract1 and laterally with the dorsal spinocerebeller tract.2  These tracts affect the postural muscles of the body.

This loss of lever arms causes a lateral shift of the body as an innate compensation to strength with a loss of flexibility.  (Note:  The normal curves of the spine give it strength and flexibility).

In normal spinal biomechanics, the body will compensate for this in order to survive.  This is Innate Intelligence.

The flexion malposition of C0 on C1 (posterior occiput) is unusual, but common in the active developing scoliosis.  This is accompanied by obvious head tilt or atlas laterality.

With the FHP and loss of spinal lordosis, this creates abnormal stress on the spinal cord.

Once the Cobb angle is above 30 degrees, normal spinal biomechanics no longer are applicable!

As the spinal canal lengthens in kyphosis, the spinous processes will then rotate into the concavity as a compensatory mechanism to decrease adverse mechanical tension on the spinal cord.  This is the “Over The Hill” or “Through The Valley” theory.

Abnormal spinous rotation causes the rib hump. As the spinouses rotate into the concavity, the rib cage will follow.

Without correction of the cervical and lumbar lordosis, correction of the scoliosis is not possible.  This is why manipulation, bracing and surgery fail, as they do not address the cause of the problem.

In order to correct scoliosis, the normal cervical and lumbar lordosis must be re-established first.  Once this is accomplished, it is then possible to correct the scoliosis.  Re-establishment of the normal curves reduces adverse tension on the spinal cord and then allows the Cobb angle(s) to correct.

In order to correct the scoliosis, establish a normal relationship of occiput (C0) and atlas (C1), correct the forward head posture, establish the cervical and lumbar curves, THEN, correct the spine in the lateral (Cobb Angle) dimension). 

Scoliosis Correction and Whole Body Vibration

Whole Body Vibration Therapy has been shown to be effective in working with the scoliotic patient.  The vibration overrides the proprioceptive system of the body, allowing for quicker alignment.

This would include 45-60 HZ for muscle guarding, 4.5 HZ for ligament and disc relaxation and 30 HZ for proprioceptive neuromuscular reeducation. By utilizing these principles, the Doctor of Chiropractic will become the spinal expert and take control of the care of the scoliotic patient.

The purpose of CLEAR Institute is to empower the DC who wants to specialize with the patients who have scoliosis and the doctors who treats them.

For Seminar information contact Parker College of Chiropractic @, or call 1-800-266-4723.

For information on The Vibe or Vibrating Traction (VT), contact Williams Healthcare Systems at or call 1-800-441-4967.

For further information, contact Dr. Dennis Woggon at

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