How Upper Cervical Alignment Affects Scoliosis

Treatment of scoliosis through upper cervical care

Scoliosis refers to a condition where the spine has an S or C shape to it when looking from the back (from the side, the spine should have an S shape). In 4 out 5 scoliosis cases, the underlying cause is never discovered.

While anyone can have scoliosis, it affects mostly children. Scoliosis may lead to a lifetime of regular checkups from a general practitioner. A severe case may even lead to spinal braces or the recommendation of surgery. This is usually based on the degree of scoliosis.

Each year in the US alone, diagnosis of scoliosis reaches 3 million cases. This makes it an extremely common spine condition. If you are suffering from scoliosis, what do you need to know? First of all, it is important to realize that it may not be as difficult to determine why scoliosis happens as it seems by the fact the 80% of cases are label as idiopathic. Second, it is important to know that there is hope and that invasive surgeries are rarely a necessity.

We’re going to look at a case study that will help us to link scoliosis with misalignments of the upper cervical spine (the top two bones in the neck). Then we will discuss why this phenomenon occurs.

A Scoliosis Case Study

In 2010, a 15-year-old-girl turned to upper cervical chiropractic care for help with a 44-degree scoliosis. The Cobb scale revealed the measurement. (Anything over 10 degrees is significant enough to require medical care). The girl suffered from an upper cervical misalignment as indicated in the results of her x-rays and physical examination.

Care was provided over the course of 4.5 years using gentle adjustments to the neck (upper cervical chiropractic is low force and doesn’t involve the popping or twisting of the spine generally associated with chiropractic care). During this time period, the girl received upper cervical care for a total of 35 times.

Adjustments were only provided during 5 of those 35 visits. This is because upper cervical practitioners work on an as-needed basis. Due to the gentle nature of adjustments, the atlas (C1 vertebra) tends to hold in place longer. Therefore, adjustments may be spaced further apart depending on how well a particular patient’s adjustments hold.

Outcomes of the Study

The patient had also been suffering from lower back pain. A little over two years into care, following the fourth adjustment, the patient said that she was no longer experiencing lower back pain. By the end of the 4.5 years, the degree of scoliosis had decreased from 44 degrees to 25 degrees. While still significant, this got her back under the threshold where a doctor would normally recommend surgery.

But how does adjusting the top bone in the spine produce these kinds of changes throughout the entire back?

The Atlas and Spine Health

The atlas is the top bone in the spine. It balances the head, which weighs approximately 12 pounds depending on the person. If the atlas is even slightly misaligned, it throws the balance of the head off. The body works quickly to compensate for this. As a result, changes in the spine take place in a domino effect.

The rest of the neck can become misaligned. If it stays in a stressed position, the discs between the vertebrae may begin to wear prematurely leading to arthritis in the neck. However, not all atlas misalignments necessarily present with neck pain, and the effects are certainly not limited to the neck.

One shoulder will usually drop to compensate for the misalignment in the neck. You may even notice when standing up straight and looking into a mirror that one shoulder is lower than the other. Continuing on down the spine, the vertebrae continue to move and shift leading to similar disc problems as the neck may already be experiencing. As problems reach the lumbar spine, the hips can become misaligned. This is why most people with a misaligned atlas will also present with one leg that is shorter than the other.

Lower spine problems can lead to sciatica if the misalignment puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. Thus, the entire spine is affected. With shoulders at different heights as well as hips and legs at different lengths, the perfect conditions for scoliosis exist. It makes sense then that fixing the problem at the location where the issues began can help provide restoration, perhaps even avoiding the need for invasive surgery.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic – Natural Help for Scoliosis

If you are suffering from scoliosis, even if it is to a degree where doctors have recommended surgery, wouldn’t it make sense to try a natural and non-invasive therapy before going under the knife? Upper cervical chiropractic may be able to provide just the help you’ve been searching for. To learn more, contact a practitioner near you. You can find one using the search feature of this website.

A no-obligation consultation can help you to see if there is potential to receive benefits from care. Then an examination can be performed to see if there is a misalignment present in the atlas. If so, a gentle adjustment will be modified to meet your specific needs. The adjustments are safe for patients of any age due to being low force. If your alignment holds, you can go longer and longer between visits. This also makes upper cervical chiropractic a cost-effective solution for many people.

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.