Scoliosis Types And Treatments

Scoliosis is a condition in which a person's spine, when viewing it from the back, has an abnormal curve to it.

Ideally the spine should have a straight appearance or alignment when viewing it from the back. From the side view it should possess a cervical and lumbar lordosis and a thoracic kyphosis.

With scoliosis the spine from the back view has a "s" or "c" shaped curve.


There are two main types:

  1. Functional (also known as postural). This means that the curvature is not "static" or immovable.
  2. Non-Functional (Structural). This can be broken down into 3 sub-classes:
    a. Congenital - as the result of anomalies present at birth.
    b. Idiopathic - meaning-of an unknown cause. (Most common)
    c. Neuro-muscular - due to some type of nerve or muscular disease.


Idiopathic scoliosis appears to have a genetic causation and effects females predominantly. It is usually discovered as the result of general spinal screening in a school setting or on normal physician examination.

Treatment options consist of one or more of the following:

  • Observation
  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Chiropractic or Osteopathic Therapy
  • Casting
  • Bracing
  • Surgery

The treatment is usually one of periodic monitoring every 3-12 months with x-ray analysis and rehabilitation exercises. If progression is absent or minimal no action is taken beyond a conservative approach. Targeted and specific exercise, bracing or casting, and chiropractic care may be sufficient to halt or slow down the progression and prevent the need for surgical intervention.

However, when the spinal curvature does show signs of severe progression surgery will be a primary option. The surgery is one of fusion with insertion of a metal rod.

It is best to consider all options and take a team approach with management.


Functional scoliosis is spinal curvature that is able to assume a straight or more straight alignment.

It is best determined by an improvement in the curvature with forward bending. Structural (non-functional) spinal curvatures will remain evident with changes in posture and upon forward bending of the trunk.

A functional curvature is more responsive to conservative care. Any and all postural deficits need to be corrected. This may be in the form of arch supports, heels lifts for leg length inequality and muscular imbalances as well as chiropractic adjustments.

If the functional curvature is not corrected to its maximum it has a very great chance of promoting, contributing to and causing future ailments. Some of these include, DDD, disc herniation, trigger points, sciatica, facet syndrome and injuries.

Do not assume that because you do not have symptoms as the result of a functional scoliosis that it is not something that needs corrected or treated. Again, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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