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Can a Chiropractor Help with Scoliosis?

By: Dr. Shane Davidson DC

Scoliosis is a medical condition characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine, often in an “S” or “C” shape. This condition can significantly impact spinal health, causing pain, discomfort, and postural issues. Without proper management, scoliosis can lead to further complications like muscle imbalances and reduced lung capacity.

Seeking professional guidance for scoliosis is crucial to effectively manage its progression and associated discomfort. Healthcare providers, such as orthopedic specialists or chiropractors, can assess the severity of the curvature, recommend appropriate treatments, and monitor the condition over time.

Chiropractors play a vital role in assessing and treating various spinal conditions, including scoliosis. They use hands-on techniques and adjustments to improve spinal alignment, alleviate pain, and enhance overall spinal health. Chiropractic care can complement other medical approaches to provide a holistic and personalized treatment plan for scoliosis patients.

Scoliosis 101

Scoliosis encompasses various types, including idiopathic (the most common, with no known cause), congenital (present at birth due to vertebral abnormalities), and degenerative (develops later in life due to age-related changes in the spine). Each type has unique characteristics, contributing to the complexity of scoliosis diagnosis and treatment.

Common symptoms of scoliosis include abnormal spinal curvature, uneven shoulder or hip alignment, back pain, muscle imbalances, and postural issues. If left untreated, scoliosis can lead to complications such as reduced lung capacity, nerve compression, and psychological distress.

Scoliosis is a progressive and chronic condition that cannot be permanently fixed. However, with proper medical management, it can be controlled. Treatments may include bracing, physical therapy, or surgery, depending on the severity. Regular monitoring by healthcare professionals is essential to manage its progression and maintain the best possible spinal health.

Traditional Medical Approaches to Scoliosis

Conventional treatments for scoliosis aim to manage the condition and improve spinal health. Bracing is a common approach, particularly for adolescents with moderate curves. The brace helps prevent further curvature progression by applying external pressure on the spine. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended. Spinal fusion surgery involves fusing the affected vertebrae with rods and screws to correct the curvature.

While these treatments can be effective, they come with limitations and potential side effects. Bracing can be uncomfortable, impacting a patient’s quality of life, body image, and self-esteem. Surgery carries risks such as infection, nerve damage, and restricted spinal mobility. Moreover, neither option guarantees a complete correction of the curvature, emphasizing the importance of careful consideration and professional guidance in scoliosis treatment decisions.

Chiropractic Care and Scoliosis

Chiropractic care plays a valuable role in the management of scoliosis, offering a non-invasive and holistic approach to spinal health. Chiropractors focus on improving spinal alignment and function through manual adjustments and therapies. While they may not “cure” scoliosis, they can significantly reduce pain, and discomfort, and improve the patient’s quality of life.

Chiropractors assess scoliosis through a comprehensive evaluation, which includes a physical examination, X-rays, and a thorough review of the patient’s medical history. Based on the findings, they create individualized treatment plans that may involve spinal adjustments, therapeutic exercises, and postural training. These plans aim to enhance spinal mobility, reduce muscle tension, and help manage the condition’s progression, offering a conservative and patient-centered approach to scoliosis care.

How Does a Chiropractor Treat Scoliosis

Chiropractic adjustments and therapies used in scoliosis management are tailored to the individual’s condition. Specific techniques may include spinal adjustments to improve spinal alignment, reduce pain, and enhance flexibility. Chiropractors often incorporate soft tissue therapies like massage or myofascial release to alleviate muscle tension and discomfort. Additionally, therapeutic exercises and stretches are prescribed to strengthen supportive muscles and improve posture.

The benefits of these chiropractic techniques include pain relief, increased mobility, and improved quality of life for scoliosis patients. While chiropractic care cannot reverse the curvature, it can effectively manage symptoms, slow progression, and provide patients with tools to lead active, comfortable lives. The potential outcomes of such care are reduced pain, enhanced function, and a better overall sense of well-being.

A certified and well-trained scoliosis chiropractor can play a significant role in slowing down or even reversing its progression. Chiropractic treatments are effective in alleviating scoliosis-related pain by reducing pressure on the nervous system and strengthening the core muscles. Additionally, a chiropractor can offer recommendations for maintaining an active lifestyle without exacerbating scoliosis symptoms.

The Collaborative Approach

Collaboration between chiropractors and other healthcare providers is vital in scoliosis cases. Chiropractors can work alongside orthopedic specialists, physical therapists, and primary care physicians to ensure comprehensive care. This collaboration allows for a more thorough assessment, effective treatment planning, and a multidisciplinary approach that addresses both the structural and functional aspects of scoliosis.

A holistic approach to scoliosis management involves combining various therapies and treatments to cater to the patient’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being. This may include chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, nutrition counseling, and psychological support. By addressing the condition from multiple angles, patients receive a well-rounded treatment plan that promotes better overall health and improved quality of life.

Chiropractic Care for Scoliosis: What to Expect

Preparing for your first chiropractic appointment for scoliosis involves gathering relevant medical records, including X-rays or MRI scans, and jotting down any questions or concerns you may have. Dress comfortably to facilitate movement during the evaluation.

During the evaluation, the chiropractor will conduct a physical examination, review your medical history, and assess the severity and type of scoliosis. X-rays may be taken for a more detailed view of the spine.

The potential treatment duration varies based on factors like the severity of scoliosis and your response to care. Chiropractic treatment for scoliosis is often ongoing, with appointments scheduled regularly over several weeks or months. The chiropractor will discuss a personalized treatment plan with you, including the frequency of visits and expected goals for improvement. Open communication and collaboration with your chiropractor are essential for achieving the best outcomes in scoliosis management.


Chiropractic care for scoliosis emphasizes its role in managing the condition through non-invasive methods. Chiropractors focus on improving spinal alignment, reducing pain, and enhancing mobility. While they can’t cure scoliosis, chiropractic care can significantly improve your quality of life by managing symptoms and slowing its progression.

Consult a chiropractor and explore holistic options for scoliosis management. Combining chiropractic care with other healthcare providers and therapies can provide a well-rounded approach to addressing both the structural and functional aspects of scoliosis.

If you are dealing with scoliosis, take the first step towards better spinal health by scheduling a consultation with a qualified chiropractor today. A proactive approach to scoliosis management can lead to a more comfortable and active life.

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Content Reviewed By

Dr. Shane Davidson Lincoln, NE Chiropractor
Doctor of Chiropractic