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Scoliosis. At the end of this article will include a link to Sarah Key, physiotherapist’s website. It is a lovely website that I agree with in theory and methodology.
This article will express my professional opinion as well as my personal experience. In advance, I will say I am very passionate about my opinion on this topic because I have scoliosis. I find the rods put in the spine, one of the most barbaric forms of surgery. The only need for something so severe as rods is if a child has something termed ‘runaway scoliosis’ and it is advancing so rapidly that no other method can change it. But beware the solution. I treat patients who have had the rod surgery and still have up to 75-degree curvatures. The spine never stopped growing crooked and now they have rods on their back. There is no evidence that the rods, in fact, did anything. Spinal growth is self-limiting and regardless of whether it grows straight or crooked, it will eventually stop growing and stabilize.
Scoliosis is idiopathic, meaning medicine has NO known cause. How many things in this day and age does medicine admit to not knowing about?! That is pretty remarkable in itself.
I have a great respect for those who research. It is a job I have no patience to do. And research is of great importance. However, double blind studies that are not financed by outside interests are rare, in all fields. I always say ‘the proof is in the pudding’. If chiropractic does not work for your scoliosis, don’t do it, but its worth a go. My scoliosis affected me in such a way that it lead me to become a doctor of chiropractic when modern medicine failed me. (See Dr. Janelle’s, Story)
My theory of how scoliosis begins is not new: congenital factors related to genetics, nutritional deficiencies, and environment are one possibility. Another is something I see in practice: the result of a car accident, multiple head traumas from falling, or other traumatic events in babies or childhood that lead the spine to grow incorrectly. Lastly, birth trauma is an issue. When a baby is born it is often in torsion and the cranial bones and C1 especially are out of alignment. To the naked eye, you can see when a baby is not growing straight. As a provider, it is physically evident that after a baby is adjusted, they unwind.
While a theory, mine is based on the ‘righting reflex’. The body will contort in any way to keep the eyes straight on the horizon. Correcting a misalignment can help the baby’s body to unwind and give it a chance to grow straighter. It is amusing, these articles I read about how subluxations or misalignments aren’t true. They are areas that aren’t entirely functioning correctly and measured in millimeters based on spinal mechanics. This is the same as any form of medicine measured in milligrams and millimeters. What a difference psychology believes that a few milligrams of medicine make. A surgeon knows millimeters is the difference between life and death. The body is functional, fluid, and self-healing.
Regardless of the degree of your scoliosis: mild, moderate, or severe; balance is the key. A scoliosis person always feels out of balance or like they have random things wrong because of it. They do not function the same as a person with a straight spine, ***and they should not be adjusted the same. Getting adjusted typically results in an effort to balance the spine as is; I have never claimed to straighten a spine. The increase in proper posture and function results from the nerve-bone-muscle structure being released and put into correction And the surrounding supportive muscles strengthened.
When the upper cervical area in a scoliosis patient is corrected, it makes a world of difference. It feels like a spring has been unwound. While the actual curve may not change, the neurology of the body, in its own wisdom, allows the body to function better.
For people without scoliosis, it is hard to understand how painful it is to live ‘off balance’.
Adjusting the patient in the convexity (curves) of the spine in a cross body fashion as opposed to bilaterally makes a significant difference in how that person functions. Likewise, I always recommend unilateral exercises for patients (lunges or one legged squats instead of regular squats for example) over bilateral. Lastly, foot mechanics can be a factor in the spine not growing correctly and the feet also need properly assessed and adjusted. Orthotics should not be cast unless the child is ‘in correction‘ and they are not a total solution for a dynamic foot. I prefer kinesiology tape myself, as it is a functional solution.
Regardless of your age, there are many functional solutions for scoliosis. If it is evident in your child, please search and exhaust all options before you undergo rod or clip surgery. It is not a forever solution and decreases function and adds pain to your child’s life.
Dr. Janelle M. Farris (who has scoliosis) is the owner of Be Well Chiropractic in Franklin TN and lives in town with her two daughters.
REVIEWS FROM PATIENTS
“(My experience) has been amazing and I have formed a wonderful relationship with both doctors. They continue to research how to show me more exercises and treatment plans to help strengthen my body.”
“My body has adjusted better as time has gone by and feels very flexible and strong doing long days at work.”
“I’ve gotten a lot better and have learned how to take care of my own body with stretches and exercises Dr. Janelle has given me specifically for my body type.”
“I would recommend not just seeing a chiropractor, but seeing Dr. Janelle. She’s knowledgeable and thorough and will give you the best plan to bring you into a healthier lifestyle”
“I loaded up on Tylenol and other pain medications and tried getting frequent massages, which only provided temporary relief. I was always in pain and stiff.”
“I absolutely love this office and staff. Dr. Greg gave me a great program of treatments and exercises (and) I started to feel relief after the very first session.”
“Chiropractic should be in one’s priority list, just as taking vitamins and eating healthy. A must try, as you may not know how much better you can feel. Depending on the issue, I strongly feel chiropractic care is important to feeling healthy and staying active.”
“I was kind of scared of the adjustments but I figured chiropractic care was the only medical care that could “fix” the problem. Dr. Hutti was very kind and good about explaining what was going on in a clear way that was easy to understand for an average person with no medical background.”
“(Dr. Hutti) recommended continued adjustments to re-align the vertebrae, daily exercises to keep movement and to strengthen my muscles, to hold vertebrae in the correct position.”
“I am so thankful for their knowledge and help!”
Anna starting coming to Be Well Chiropractic with lung complications due to cystic fibrosis. She was having middle back pain mainly due to coughing. She has “always been a huge fan of chiropractic care when it comes to keeping (her) immune system at its strongest.”
“Dr. Janelle has been a huge factor and partner in my health. When your body is aligned right it can heal itself so much easier. I think chiropractic care is crucial to my health and quality of life.”
Since seeing Dr. Janelle her “breathing has become much easier and more free.”
“I am better now than when I first came. I continue to get/feel better with every visit. I am learning things that I believe will allow me to stay healthy for a very long time.”
“I find that going to Dr. Greg was very helpful. I tried everything else (and) nothing seemed to help. My headaches are gone. I would recommend trying Dr. Greg. It does work.”
Her first impression of chiropractic, this office, and the doctor was that “Dr. Janelle has a holistic approach that will have long-term benefits.” She was “very impressed with her knowledge and her approach.”
Since seeing Dr. Janelle, Lauren has gained back her range of motion in her neck and back. The numbness in her leg has gone away, the pain in her rib has lessened, and she no longer has headaches.
“I would recommend improving your lifestyle habits such as diet, physical activity, and chiropractic care.”
“I feel that this is a life-changing practice and that (chiropractic) is necessary for a healthy life.”
“(I) feel so much better and the pain is practically gone.”