There may be many different reasons. Sometimes it is a motor vehicle crash, or an incident of trauma. More often, however, it may develop slowly, over time, as we live day-to-day. Studying in school, working at a computer, or focusing on a project on our workbench often requires that we hold our head downwards and forwards for long periods of time. Eventually, this causes the spine to slip, bit by bit, until the muscles become tight and strong. The body then begins to use these stronger muscles more than the weaker ones, reinforcing the change in posture. With the loss of the curve in your neck, the nerves that travel from the brain to every single cell in our body begin to suffer. In a straight neck, with no curve at all, the spinal cord is stretched by 10%. If the neck buckles completely, this can increase to as high as 28%! If somebody pulled on your finger until it was 28% longer, you’d probably complain about it a little.
Why do the doctors at the Scoliosis Correction Centers know that restoring the curve in your neck can help to correct a scoliosis? Well, there is research that suggests scoliosis may correct spontaneously if the tension from the spinal cord is removed:
Can Hindbrain Decompression for Syringomyelia Lead to Regression of Scoliosis? European Spine Journal, June 2000; 9(3):198-201
“ patients underwent a hindbrain decompression, and… the scoliosis was seen to improve or arrest its progression in 6.”
And other researchers have concluded that the spine adapts to a short, taut spinal cord by producing rotation in the spinal column, which will take pressure off of the nerves.
Can a Short Spinal Cord Produce Scoliosis? European Spine Journal, February 2001; 10(1):2-9
“A short, unforgiving spinal cord could produce the abnormal rotatory anatomy observed at the apex of scoliosis…”
Of course, restoring the curve in the neck is only one aspect of our unique approach to scoliosis. Rehabilitating the muscles, tendons, & amp; ligaments is also important, as is re-training the brain to use the postural muscles more evenly. For now, we hope you understand more about how what happens in the neck can affect the rest of the spine and why it is important not to neglect the top of the spine in scoliosis correction!
Why Scoliosis Surgery Doesn’t Work: Read an informative article by Dr. Hersh about the ineffectiveness of scoliosis Surgery.
“The results of these studies are known as Euler’s laws and may be used to predict the behaviour of any column of known shape and proportions. The behaviour of curved columns differs from that of straight ones and may be summarized by saying that if force is applied to a rigid curved column so as to tend to increase that curve, then no lateral deviation or twisting of the column will occur even if the force is increased until brittle failure occurs. By contrast, if force is applied so that it tends to straighten the column, then twisting and lateral bending will occur during the phase of plastic deformation.
An example of this is the ease with which a metal rod may be bent to contour it to the spine in comparison with the difficulty of straightening it thereafter. The application of these laws to spinal mechanics is clear and has been stated before. However, if a fixed lordosis is subjected to forward bending it will behave like any other curved column when it is stressed to unbend it: it will twist and bend to the side. A scoliosis must result. If a further bending force is applied, for example by asking a patient with a lordoscoliosis to touch her toes, this rotation will increase; this is the mechanical basis of the clinical test of forward bending.
The practical importance of an understanding of the underlying sagittal profile of a scoliotic spine is in its application to the treatment of these deformities. If an abnormal sagittal profile is merely converted to a different abnormal profile, as with Harrington instrumentation, then further buckling and progression of the curve may be anticipated during growth.
Aubin et al, March 15, 1997, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Sainte-Justine Hospital, Quebec.
These are some quotes from a research article that was published by the Department of Mechanical Engineering in Quebec:
● “Boston brace treatment produces complex trunk motions that tend to shift the spine and rib cage anteriorly, with little de-rotation and lateral displacement to the left, whereas ideal expected correction would be the opposite.● A more optimal way to achieve trunk corrections could be made by applying loads laterally on the convex side and on the anterior thoracic opposite the rib hump, with a system that constrains mechanically the posterior rib hump from moving backward.”
The standard ‘Medical Model’ is one of ‘wait and see’. What that means is that the physician, usually an orthopedic surgeon, will simply re-xray a scoliosis patient, starting from either juvenile, adolescent or adult curvatures. They’ll do this periodically, until curve reaches 25 degrees or greater. At that point a hard brace known as a ‘Boston Brace’ which is worn almost all the time can be prescribed. This can also have deleterious physical and psychological overtones for the patient, especially younger patients, and therefore compliance is a factor.
If continued progression is observed, surgical treatment for scoliosis is the traditional medical procedure. Whether the standard Harrington Rod is surgically implanted or the newer laser surgeries are performed, both are maximally invasive and results are spotty. Research states “the initial average loss of spinal correction post-surgery is 3.2 degrees in the first year and 6.5 degrees after two years with continued loss of 1.0 degrees per year throughout life”.
The average pre-operative scoliosis curvature is 72 degrees, while the post-operative surgical treatment for scoliosis results in an unimpressive 44 degrees which then continues to deteriorate each year thereafter. Doctors Woggon and Lawrence concluded that 44 percent of scoliosis bracing attempts are considered failures because they do not cease the scoliosis development.  It is also known that upper middle class children wore the prescribed brace not more than 10% of the recommended time thereby negating any potential benefits. Scoliosis surgery also does nothing for the rib hump deformity.
The work we are doing is based on the fact that scoliosis is not just a spinal curvature, but involves abnormal spinal curves in the neck, as well as hip rotation. Active scoliosis patients always present to the office withforward head posture and a loss of the cervical lordosis (as seen on x-ray). In addition, there is also abnormal biomechanical malpositions of the head and neck. Therefore, before the A-P dimension of scoliosis (the lateral curve you are concerned with) can be corrected, the cervical lordosis must be re-established first. Following this correction, the lateral curve (Cobb angle) is reduced to normal or as close to normal as possible.
Average change with the work we do is a 62 % reduction (permanent, if exercises are done) of the Cobb angle. These results are achieved with a combination of specific spinal adjustments done with instruments, not by hand, specific rehabilitative procedures including proprioceptive neuromuscular re-education, muscle and ligament rehab and vibration therapy.
The scoliotic spine compresses and rotates three dimensionally, therefore it must be de-rotated, and de-compressed in order to achieve correction. At the Scoliosis Correction Centers, we use a vibration platform and vibration scoliosis traction chair as well as specific techniques to pull the Cobb angle back into proper alignment.
Please contact us for an in-depth consultation and examination to determine if our method of treating scoliosis non-surgically is right for you.