Idiopathic scoliosis

Hi, I'm a 14 year old girl living in Melbourne, Australia. I just recently discovered my scoliosis after discovering a muscle protrusion in my back when I stood on my side to the mirror. I went to my GP and he told me I had a slight scoliosis. I had a back specialist look at my back and he told me my lower curve was the problematic one at 35 degrees and the top one (I can remember the degree) was most likely a compensatory curve for the lower one, but it wasn't too big. The specialist also informed me that my hips were well aligned and both legs were the same height, my neck is also well in line with my tail bone but there is curvature around my torso. I don't have agonising pain but I do get the occasional ache it is sometimes quite bothersome... I would really like to have my scoliosis straighter, but I would not like surgery. Would you say chiropractic care would possibly be beneficial to my situation and also if you have any tips on finding a good chiropractor as I know getting a bad chiropractor can turn out very badly. Please get back to me on this, I'm trying to stay positive and figure out ways by myself to use exercise to straighten it but I don't know if I'm doing it right and it sometimes makes me quite upset.

I have x-rays and I can send through copies but I might not do so just now, but if you think it would be more helpful to have a copy just send me a message and I'll send them through.
Thank you so much for your time and help with this, I really appreciate it.

Hello TD,
Firstly, be cautious taking anything you read on the net too seriously, including my comments. I haven't had the opportunity to examine you.

A Cobb's angle of 35* (the usual measure) is in fact quite large.

The big thing is not to let this affect you emotionally. Frankly there aren't too many perfect "Barbie doll" bodies around. Most folk have a defect of one sort or another. Remember, nobody else noticed this, not your parents, siblings, teacher, doctor... only you.

It's good that your hips are level, but was the x-ray taken with you standing? It can be quite misleading if they were taken lying down.

Ask your mum to stand behind you, place both her hands on your iliac crests, and she can get a pretty shrewd idea if you have a significantly short leg.

Chiropractic treatment, nor any other will straighten your spine; nor actually in my opinion is it terribly important to do so. If you have no pain, I'd be inclined to do much less, and focus on exercises for your back. They are your lot for life, like brushing your teeth. I ask all my patients to do lower back exercises in any case, and do them myself. They take less than two minutes before getting out of bed in the morning. That is important.

Yes, send me copies of the x-rays to If they are plain radiographs then you can easily photograph them on a clear window with a digi camera.

Your folks should be party to these discussions.

Dr B

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti-inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He is doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost pain-free. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily stroll has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift; he has a short leg.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. X-rays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65-year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88-year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done. 

10. Mr X is a 71-year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a few months ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he could not sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71-year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

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