Dr. Thomas Gregson, D.C.

Family Health

NEWS & EVENTS

Scoliosis


Case Study #1

Clinical Features: The patient is a fifteen-year-old female with a history of scoliosis, vertigo, lumbar pain, and lack of vitality. Objective indicators of vertebral subluxation were identified through palpation, National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA) protocol, and radiographs. She had scoliosis with a Cobb angle of 44 degrees.
Interventions and Outcomes: NUCCA chiropractic adjusting directed at reducing vertebral subluxations in the upper cervical region was performed. Post upper cervical X-rays revealed a reduction of the Atlas subluxation. After 5 months of care, the Cobb angle was reduced to 32-degrees.
Conclusion: The case of a 15-year-old female with AIS is presented. After one adjustment to correct the Atlas subluxation and 5 months of check-ups, the Cobb angle was reduced. Further investigation is needed to study the relationship between the correction of the Atlas subluxation and the reduction of the Cobb angle in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients.

News Report

Children with mild scoliosis treated with chiropractic adjustments have shown a reduction in their spinal curvature, according to the findings of a three-year, $143,000 study funded by the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research.
This cohort study was conducted by Charles "Skip" Lantz, DC, PhD, director of research of Life Chiropractic College West, and his associates. The researchers were studying the effects of chiropractic full-spine adjustive procedures, heel-lifts, and postural counseling on children 9-15 years old with mild idiopathic scoliosis (less than 20 degrees of curvature, with no complicating conditions).

Case Study #2

A nine-year-old male presented in our office with a chief complaint of juvenile idiopathic scoliosis and intermittent back pain. The patient had fractured his clavicle one month before his initial visit and complained of intermittent "growing pains" in his right foot. The case history also revealed that he had been involved in a motor vehicle accident two years previously
The patient was managed with upper cervical care, utilizing the Grostic Procedure of adjusting by hand. Over the five months and ten days of care, the patient was checked on 13 visits and required an upper cervical adjustment on five of those visits. The leg length inequality, posture, and palpatory findings balanced immediately after the first upper cervical adjustment. Post-adjustment paraspinal surface EMG showed that the paraspinal muscular activity was more balanced. Post-treatment x-ray taken on the 13th visit revealed the thoracic curve to be reduced to) and the lumbar curve was measured at 3.0x, which represents an 88% overall reduction in the scoliosis after the five months of chiropractic care.

International Case Report (Who could make this stuff up?)
Male child - Age 5 from a Central American country. Prior diagnosis: malformation of cervical spine, severe scoliosis, occiput position severely anterior to cervical spine. Not vocalizing well. Absence of T-cells, immune dysfunction, has colds all the time. Surgery had been considered to correct skull positioning. In the first series of adjustments, we adjusted the lad in a sitting position utilizing the infant toggle headpiece. The Atlas was adjusted ASL. Child was reevaluated in native country and medical staff stated that everything was now normal. Child returned to U.S. for care 6 months later. Vocabulary was now normal. Head position - normal. No colds evident during these months. Scoliosis was greatly reduced.

Proprioception and Its Possible Link
Disturbances of postural equilibrium have been found in idiopathic scoliosis, and it has been suggested by several researchers that this is a result of brain stem disturbances. It has been shown experimentally that stress on posterior nerve roots can also cause spinal deviation.
Is there a correlation between scoliosis and subluxation? (Real case reports from all around the country)
Every year since he was 6 years old John would go to visit family in Indiana on his summer vacation. He would work on his uncle's farm for two months, and then return home. The year when he was 8 years old, John and his cousins were playing in the barn and he fell off a stack of hay bales. He landed on his right side on the corner of a bale hard enough to knock the wind out of him. Because the children had been told not to play in the barn, his cousins encouraged John to get up and "shake it off". After a couple of minutes, John was back on his feet and playing as if nothing ever happened.
I first met John when he was 11 years old. He had developed a classic Distortion #3 scoliosis. There was a primary left thoracic curvature of 20 degrees, a secondary lumbar curvature of 13 degrees, and a tertiary cervical curvature of 12 degrees. John started under care and for the next 9 months he received specific chiropractic care to correct his vertebral subluxation complex and the scoliosis. The result was a reduction of the 3 curves from 14/20/12 degrees down to 3/4/4 degrees, and the reduction of his vertebral subluxation complex.

Many people believe that a scoliosis is something that develops at random for no explainable reason. Some children get it and some children don't. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. According to research by Dr. Robert Mawhinnie and others, 85% of all scoliosis develop as the result of childhood lateral spinal trauma. Many of these childhood spinal traumas go unnoticed, ignored, or discounted as, "it's nothing, just shake it off." Research has shown the dangers of believing, "it's nothing," because these spinal traumas almost always cause subluxation. Left untreated, the subluxated spine heals incorrectly and then may grow improperly, resulting in the development of scoliosis. So scoliosis is not something that just happens at random. Most scoliosis develops as the result of childhood lateral spinal trauma, spinal injury, and uncorrected subluxation.

Sandy’s Case:

Sandy, a cute little three-year-old was riding her bike, or I should say learning to ride her bike, on the sidewalk. She hit a patch of sand as she was trying to turn. She skidded to the right, was ejected from the bike, over the handlebars, and landed on the curb, on her right side, with her right arm under her. Sandy did break her right arm and it was in a cast for about 7 weeks. The broken bone healed normally and two months after the fall, Sandy was back up on her bike and having a wonderful time with no apparent spinal problems.

I met Sandy when she was 9 years old. She was referred to my office as the result of a school scoliosis-screening program. When she first came in we did our normal scoliosis examination and x-ray series. This revealed a Distortion #2 type scoliosis, which included a left lateral thoracic curve of 23 degrees and a right lateral compensatory curve in the cervical spine of 9 degrees. After a six-month care program, Sandy's thoracic curvature was down to 4 degrees.

Another major contributing factor in the development or worsening of scoliosis is timing. Changes in hormonal levels can effect scoliosis. The time of life when hormonal changes are significant enough to contribute to scoliotic changes is puberty, and also for females during pregnancy. During puberty hormones cause the tendons, ligaments, and muscles to become less rigid and more flexible to allow for growth. Also during pregnancy the hormones have the same effect to allow the body to stretch to accommodate the developing baby.

Danielle’s Case:

Danielle was three years old when the car she was riding in with her mom was hit broadside. The ambulance came and took Danielle to the hospital. After the usual cursory examination and many x-rays, the nurse at the emergency room told Danielle's mom that she was fine. Mom never heard any complaints from Danielle so she never gave it another thought.

I first met Danielle when she was 10 years old when her mom brought her into my office for a spine check examination and scoliosis screening. The results of the exam reviled Vertebral Subluxation Complexes at the levels of: C1, C5, T11, T12, L4, and L5. I also found a classic Distortion #3 type scoliosis. There was a left lateral rotatory curve of 6 degrees from T10 through L3, a right lateral curve of 15 degrees from T4 through T10, and a slight compensatory curve in the cervical spine. I made recommendations for mom to bring Danielle in on a 2x per week. Mom followed through by bringing in Danielle in for care 1x every 6 weeks.

Danielle entered into puberty just after her 11th birthday. Shortly after that I noticed that her scoliosis seemed to be worse so I took some new x-rays. The new x-rays revealed a slight cervical curve, T4 through T10 was now 26 degrees, and T10 through L3 was now 20 degrees. At that point I started some much more specific scoliosis care. After 6 months the curves were; slight cervical, T4 - T10 18 degrees, and T10 - L3 20 degrees. Mom was very pleased that the curves were reduced and she took this as a cue to reduce Danielle's treatment frequency to 1x every 8 weeks.& The hormone levels in young Danielle's body finally leveled off at the age of 15. That is when her scoliosis finally stopped getting worse. Her new scoliosis complex was now; slight cervical curve, T4-T10 19 degrees, and T10-L3 43 degrees. We then started Danielle on 1x per week care program and I am excited to say that the curves are now; cervical slight, T4 through T10 12 degrees, and T10 through L3 29 degrees, and going down.

John’s Case:

Remember John? The summer that John was 13, he was off again to Indiana and his uncle's farm. This year John was older and he was ready for more responsibility and more physical work. John's job that year was like this: As he was sitting down he would reach to his right and pick up a bale of hay off the ground, bring it across in front of his body and place it on a conveyer belt on his left side. All summer long, a constant twist / bend / lift / twist / bend, all day long. When John came back home at the end of the summer he came into the office for an adjustment. We took some new x-rays and discovered that the constant bending and twisting had taken its toll on John's spine. The thoracic curve that was 6 degrees when he left for vacation.

3 months before had now developed into a 56-degree curvature. The constant repetitive insult to John's spine in the form of the bending and twisting, combined with the hormonal effects of puberty had really taken their toll.

John, Sandy, and Danielle are examples of children with very obvious trauma induced scoliosis. Danielle and John are also examples of how the increased hormone levels of puberty can dramatically effect an unstable scoliosis. In addition, John is a classic example of how a constant micro-trauma can also cause a scoliosis to develop or worsen.

Another example of a constant micro-trauma, which is going largely unnoticed, is on display on a daily basis all around us. We have all seen it - at home, in the schools, at work, even in the mall: a backpack/book bag, usually weighing more than the child should be carrying, with two perfectly good straps, one for each shoulder, slung over one shoulder with the other strap hanging down unused. Or, the two straps are used, but extended to their full length causing the too heavy bag to hang down below the child's hips. This results in the bag swinging from side to side as it bounces off their sacrum. Either way, these are two examples of how the book bag was NOT designed to be used.

For some children, the habit of "book bag abuse" does not seem to make a difference. However for children who have had previous spinal injuries that were unnoticed, undetected, untreated, or just ignored and as a result, healed incorrectly, it does make a difference, a significant difference.

When previous incorrectly healed trauma and the resultant Vertebral Subluxation Complex are combined with the constant micro-trauma of "book bag abuse", these children become much more vulnerable to the stresses and forces that lead to the development or the worsening of a scoliosis. And as if that were not enough to deal with, we can also add in the fact that we have a child that is about to go through, is going through, or has just gone through puberty with all the dramatic hormonal changes involved. The result of this, in many cases, is a scoliosis that gets dramatically worse.

Whether you are dealing with the chronic micro-trauma of carrying a book bag incorrectly, the effects of years of uncorrected Vertebral Subluxation Complex and Subluxation Degeneration, or a combination of both. During both initial examination and x-rays, and any follow-up, you must always consider the correlation between subluxation, scoliosis, and the trauma or activity that could have contributed to both of them.

Proprioception, Spinal, and Brain Development

Proper proprioception is the key to developing young minds to have a strong sense of self. Only with this strong sense can a child accurately form impressions of the world around him. This is especially important for brain development in the right hemisphere. The right hemisphere is the seat of abstract thought, shape processing, and new learning. It is also the area of the brain where emotional expression develops!

Problems with development in the right brain will likely lead to behavioral and learning challenges. These learning challenges are namely in the area of reading as the child struggles to recognize the most abstract of shapes, new letter combinations. These children may also have difficulty with fine motor skills (putting things together), eye tracking (visual challenges and more difficulty reading), and posture (cannot sit or stand upright for any length of time or even possible outwards signs of scoliosis).

Some say that changes in environment and school curriculum are to blame. Yes, we are expecting our children to read before they are ready. Yes, kids are way into technology computers, phones, and TV. Yes, opportunities for free play and physical activity are diminishing in schools and homes. Kids rarely escape birth let alone their first couple years of childhood without some type of spinal trauma. While many people mistakenly consider the birth process or childhood falls as no problem because kids are resilient, this trauma, even if mild, may influence spinal and ultimately neurological development potentially resulting in proprioceptive deficits as your child grows. We need to

Proper proprioception is equally important to developing balance and coordination. This is where we tend to see the impact of spinal subluxations and development of scoliosis. Scoliosis is almost never an orthopedic problem, especially when vertebrae are properly formed. Yes, some children have congenitally wedge-shaped vertebrae that can lead to lateral deviations in the spine as it develops. However, children with normal anatomy who experience subluxations often lack appropriate feedback of muscle and joint nerves called mechanoreceptors. This can lead to disturbances in cerebellum, frontal lobe, and brain stem functions as they relate to maintenance of upright posture and the results are deviations of overall spinal alignment. A person's eyes will dominate and in an effort to correct visual axes - the result: a child’s brain will alter posture in other areas create visual comfort. The result can be a rather twisted looking spine on x-ray.

Again, proper proprioception is the key. Scoliosis is like a physical manifestation of how a child with a learning problem or difficulty reading seeing new letters and words. Similar root to different problems and correction is possible for both. Would you like more information? We are always here to answer you questions.