Chapter 13 from: Clinical Biomechanics
By Richard C. Schafer, D.C., FICC
In traditional medicine, scoliosis is commonly ignored until gross cosmetic effects or signs of structural destruction are witnessed. In chiropractic, however, even minor degrees of distortion should be considered at the time of spinal analysis because of their subtle biomechanical and neurologic consequences, and to halt potential progression at an early stage. To give a better appreciation of these points, this chapter describes the general structural, examination, and biomechanical concerns that should be considered, along with the highlights of conservative therapy.
Physical Examination of the Lungs and Thorax
Chapter 3 from: Physical Diagnosis: Methodology in Chiropractic Practice
By Richard C. Schafer, D.C., FICC
The term scoliosis refers to any combination of lateral curvature from a straight line with twisting of the spine when viewed from the front or the back. What is grossly viewed in the typical scoliosis from the posterior are the
typical spinal curves normally seen from the lateral. That is, the curves are situated in the wrong plane, frontal rather than sagittal, and the vertical axis rotation is usually in the wrong direction and often exaggerated. Simply, it is
often as if the spine were fixed in space and the head and pelvis were rotated +/- several degrees in the same direction. Thus, the majority of the distortion seen in scoliosis is the result of rotation. This is the gross effect of scoliosis. The segmental effect is abnormal focal motion-unit disrelationship where normal rotation, lateral tilting, and A-P facet slip has become fixed, functionally and/or structurally. Scoliosis is a mechanical disorder when gross, but there are always many biologic influences operating as well as purely mechanical forces.
The Use of Spinal Manipulative Therapy For Pediatric Health Conditions:
A Systematic Review of the Literature
J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2012 (Jun); 56 (2): 128141 ~ FULL TEXT
Six clinical trials investigated the effectiveness of SMT on colic, two each on asthma and enuresis, and one each on hip extension, otitis media, suboptimal breastfeeding, autism, idiopathic scoliosis and jet lag. None investigated the effectiveness of SMT on spinal pain.
Outcomes For Adult Scoliosis Patients Receiving Chiropractic Rehabilitation:
A 24-month Retrospective Analysis
Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2011 (Sep); 10 (3): 179184
This report is among the first to demonstrate sustained radiographic, self-rated, and physiologic benefits after treatment ceased. After completion of a multimodal chiropractic rehabilitation treatment, a retrospective cohort of 28 adult scoliosis patients reported improvements in pain, Cobb angle, and disability immediately following the conclusion of treatment and 24 months later.
Four-Year Follow-Up of a Patient Undergoing Chiropractic Rehabilitation
for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis
Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health - Chiropractic 2011; 2: 54-58
A 14 year old female with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis presented to a private chiropractic rehabilitation clinic for care. She had complaints of mild thoracic and right sacroiliac pain which worsened during prolonged sitting or while running long distances. Her scoliosis measured 24° in the thoracic spine and 17° in the lumbar spine. Abnormalities in chest expansion and axial trunk rotation were also observed and recorded. Patient participated in a multimodal chiropractic rehabilitation program consisting of 28 clinic visits over 17 months. She also committed to a specific home exercise program. After 17 months, her curvatures decreased to 15°/6°, while showing concomitant improvements in peak expiratory flow, axial trunk rotation, and chest expansion. These outcome measures further improved at follow-up after 4 years with the Cobb angles reducing to 12°/4° respectively.
Chiropractic Manipulation in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis:
A Pilot Study
Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2006 (Aug 21); 14: 15 ~ FULL TEXT
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) remains the most common deforming orthopedic condition in children. Increasingly, both adults and children are seeking complementary and alternative therapy, including chiropractic treatment, for a wide variety of health concerns.
Scoliosis Treatment Using Spinal Manipulation and the Pettibon Weighting System:
A Summary of 3 Atypical Presentations
Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2006 (Jan 12); 14: 1 ~ FULL TEXT
Each patient was treated with a novel active rehabilitation program for varying lengths of time, including spinal manipulation and a patented external head and body weighting system. Following a course of treatment, consisting of clinic and home care treatments, post-treatment radiographs and examinations were conducted. Improvement in symptoms and daily function was obtained in all 3 cases.
Concerning Cobb angle measurements, there was an apparent reduction in Cobb angle of 13 degrees , 8 degrees , and 16 degrees over a maximum of 12 weeks of treatment.
Scoliosis Treatment Using a Combination of Manipulative and Rehabilitative Therapy:
A Retrospective Case Series
BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2004 (Sep 14); 5: 32 ~ FULL TEXT
The combined use of spinal manipulation and postural therapy appeared to significantly reduce the severity of the Cobb angle in all 19 subjects. These results warrant further testing of this protocol.
A New Look at Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis
By Mark Sanna, D.C.
My patients with AIS consistently experienced positive outcomes when, in conjunction with chiropractic adjustments, they were placed on the program of proprioceptive training that I will outline later in this article. While it is most likely that the etiology of AIS is multifactorial, I have been pleased to note that recent efforts in scoliosis research have been concentrating on seeking defects in proprioceptive mechanisms, substantiating my long held hypothesis of proprioceptive involvement. Lets begin our AIS research review with a study performed by W. Keesen in the Netherlands. 
Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis
By Dr. Diane Benizzi DiMarco
A lateral bending of the spine, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis can present with a lateral and rotary deformity. Spinal curvatures can be the result of varied factors including; muscle diseases or spasms, neurological disease, diseases of the CNS or PNS, congenital vertebral deformities, leg length inequalities, tumors, pain, injury and degenerative spinal arthrosis. The most common cause of scoliosis, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, accounts for approximately 80% of all diagnosed scoliosis cases.  Females are affected at a rate of 9:1. Idiopathic scoliosis, juvenile and adolescent affect females ages three to ten years of age and ten years to skeletal maturity, respectively. [2,3]
Manipulation for the Control of Back Pain and Curve Progression in Patients
with Skeletally Mature Idiopathic Scoliosis: Two Cases
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1994 (May); 17 (4): 253257
Diversified-type CMT has a favorable effect on acute back pain when used palliatively. The procedure may also have a favorable long term effect of preventing recurrence of back pain and on retarding curve progression when used routinely 1-2 times per month.
Anatomical Leg Length Inequality, Scoliosis and Lordotic Curve
in Unselected Clinic Patients
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1991 (Jul); 14 (6): 368375
The results of this study indicate that while there is no strong correlation between any one of the particular postural adaptations to anatomic leg length deficiency, nevertheless at least one abnormal spinal adaptation (scoliosis or hypo-hyperlordosis) occurs in over half of subjects who have LLI greater than 6 mm.
Scoliosis: Biomechanics and Rationale for Manipulative Treatment
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1989 (Feb); 12 (1): 3845
Since scoliosis is a lordotic problem, associating lateral curvatures with gender, age, and attitude of the thoracics during growth spurt may answer questions of a female disposition and a male tendency to Scheuermann's disease. Further, this paper evaluates the lateral curvatures of the spine concerning normal curve mechanics and idiopathic scoliosis. Mechanical stability is considered, applying engineering principals to understand buckling and critical loading. By examining the factors of spine slenderness, flexibility and strengths of the trunk muscles, and applying this understanding to curve mechanics-biomechanics of scoliosis, the chiropractor has a rationale for the treatment of mild lateral curves.