Outcomes For Adult Scoliosis Patients
Receiving Chiropractic Rehabilitation:
A 24-month Retrospective Analysis

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SOURCE:   J Chiropractic Medicine 2011 (Sep);   10 (3):   179–184

Mark W. Morningstar, DC

Private Practice, Grand Blanc, MI

OBJECTIVES:   The purpose of this study was to retrospectively report the results of patients who completed an exercise-based chiropractic program and its potential to alter the natural progression of adult scoliosis at 24 months after the clinic portion of treatment was concluded.

METHODS:   A retrospective chart review was conducted at 2 spine clinics in Michigan, USA. Each clinic uses the same chiropractic rehabilitation program to treat patients with adult scoliosis. Multidimensional patient outcomes included radiographic, respiratory, disability, and pain parameters. Outcomes were measured at baseline, at end of active treatment, and at long-term follow-up.

RESULTS:   A total of 28 patients fit the inclusion criteria for the study. The average beginning primary Cobb angle was 44° ± 6°. Patients received the same chiropractic rehabilitation program for approximately 6 months. At the end of active treatment, improvements were recorded in Cobb angle, pain scores, spirometry, and disability rating. All radiographic findings were maintained at 24-month follow-up.

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CONCLUSION:   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.

From the Full-Text Article:


Approximately 68% of scoliotic curvatures greater than 30° at skeletal maturity tend to progress at a linear rate, regardless of the type of scoliosis curvature pattern. [1-3] Asymmetrical gravitational loading on the spine and disk elements leads to asymmetric degeneration. [4, 5] This cyclic process ultimately causes the adult scoliosis to progress and negatively affect quality of life later. [2] Therefore, as other authors have already discussed, [6] the only way to improve the asymmetrical degenerative environment is to promote symmetry of the global spine, thus removing asymmetrical gravitational loading.

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