“Research is revealing that there is a relationship between structural abnormalities in the spine, the nervous system and brain” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. McCoy continued “This case adds to the body of scientific literature suggesting that chiropractic should play an important role in managing children with scoliosis and spinal curvatures.”
Research has shown not only that the brain relies on normal structural integrity and joint movement, but that complex neurological communication and pathways involved in helping humans balance and orient themselves in space are tied into spinal biomechanics and their related neurological pathways.
McCoy stated “Abnormal spinal alignment and posture also increase stress and strain to the nerve and blood supply of the spinal cord. This can seriously affect the nervous system.” It is a rare phenomenon for resolution of these abnormalities in the absence of intervention. However, there is literature that supports the effectiveness of chiropractic to restore a healthy spinal alignment and motion according to the research, thereby lowering the risk of chronic pain, degeneration, and poor health.
According to research, scoliosis is estimated to affect up to 5% of the population. Long-term follow up of patients with scoliosis reveal several important findings: curve progression, loss of pulmonary function, increased overall mortality, increased prevalence of self-reported arthritis, negative perception of health, increased difficulty in basic strenuous and semi-strenuous physical tasks, more days of limitation due to sickness, injury, and other health problems, and increased prevalence and intensity of back pain.
“Considering the fact that every single function of the body is controlled by the nervous system it should not surprise anyone that removing obstructions to the nerves that control the muscles and joints of the spine would lead to improvement in the curves” remarked Dr. McCoy.
The girl in this case study had scoliosis, neck pain, low back pain, shoulder and ankle pain, stomach discomfort, and difficulty concentrating. She had been suffering from headaches following a head injury while playing lacrosse and had a loss of consciousness with headaches that recurred daily.
The chiropractor examined her and found structural spinal shifts in her upper neck, shoulder, and pelvis. She had postural changes, pain, and tight muscles in her neck and throughout her body. X-rays confirmed these findings. These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.
Following chiropractic care her scoliosis improved as well as the curve in her neck. Her headache symptoms improved dramatically. The study’s author called for additional research to investigate the clinical implications of chiropractic in this patient population.
Matthew McCoy DC, MPH
Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research