Skip to content $80(normally $180) NEW PATIENT SPECIAL LEARN MORE

Can Chiropractic Treat Scoliosis?

curved spineScoliosis has been around for quite some time, spanning all the way to ancient times. The Ancient Greeks, namely Hippocrates, were familiar with this condition and wrote detailed descriptions that don’t differ much from today. The word itself derives from the Greeks, meaning “crookedness” with its root word being skolios.

The current estimation is around 2-3% of the population have scoliosis, where 20% are born with it and 80% develop it later. But the average age it reveals itself is around 10-15 years old, where females are eight times more susceptible to require treatment for a curve. This condition can be hereditary but most cases have no known cause, revealing itself with specific symptoms. This is where early diagnosis is key in order to get a head start for your child.

While this is a global problem, we truly see the impact of scoliosis on a local level at our Papakura chiropractor clinic. Thus, we decided to write an article on it to help answer any questions you may have about it. We’ll be diving into what scoliosis is, ways a chiropractor can help, preventative measures, and methods of managing the condition.

What is Scoliosis?

By definition, scoliosis is “an abnormal curvature of the spine (backbone)”. Being a chiropractic centre, you can imagine we see a lot of people with the condition. If you can imagine a spine, horizontally speaking, it is linear in nature. For those with scoliosis, there are one or more curves in the spine in either the top, middle, or lower region. These curves in the spine can range from 10 degrees to something as drastic as 100 degrees out of place.

Scoliosis can also present itself in those who have muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy.

The two main categories of scoliosis are structural and nonstructural. Structural being it is generally permanent with a spine rotation and nonstructural is temporary with no rotation.

The four main types of structural scoliosis are idiopathic which begins in adolescence, degenerative comes later in adults, neuromuscular from other conditions and congenital which is in utero.

Some causes of nonstructural scoliosis are muscle spasms, inflammation in that area, or when there is a difference in leg height. Seeing a doctor of chiropractic can help analyse the symptoms and provide appropriate chiropractic treatment.

Some telltale signs of scoliosis are unevenness in the shoulders and or waist, a protruding shoulder blade, lopsided hips, and height loss. All of which would be analysed at your first consultation at a chiropractic practice. Symptoms that come alongside these are back and neck pain, leg pain from overworking the muscles, fatigue, and difficulty breathing. Scoliosis can also cause some balance issues due to these symptoms as well as pressure on the sciatic nerve.

How A Chiropractor Can Help Alleviate Scoliosis Pain

Treatment for scoliosis varies depending on curve severity with some people not needing treatment, just monitoring for any changes. Those with a large spinal curve will need either a back brace or corrective spinal surgery. But as mentioned above, the symptoms include back and neck pain, leg pain, and fatigue from the spinal curve.

While natural chiropractic cannot cure or straighten scoliosis completely, attending to the misaligned spine will relieve pressure in those areas. A chiro does this by way of spine adjustment and flexion distraction therapy.

A chiropractic adjustment is when short, quick pressure is made to the joints as a correction to a misalignment. The adjustments also improve your current range of motion as well as reduce the pressure on your nerves. Some chiropractic therapy is done with bare hands while another back chiropractor may use a drop table which allows for less force to be applied.

Flexion distraction therapy is used to reduce spinal compression by stretching it out. Taking a look at the spine, it is made up of stacked vertebrae and each is separated by intervertebral discs. Throughout the day, your spine can become compressed and squeeze down on the discs, causing pain. Flexion distraction therapy combats this with another table that moves your lower half up and down, bringing decompression to your spine and relief.

Note that you may be eligible for an ACC chiropractor treatment cover if you are diagnosed with scoliosis. Visit or call our chiropractor South Auckland based clinic to discuss your specific case.

Preventative Measures – Seeing A Chiropractor For A Spinal Assessment (Body Posture)

Having a healthy posture not only looks good but is essential when it comes to our overall physical well-being. It affects our muscles, nervous system, bones, and even our organs. When our posture is poor, it can put unnecessary strain on our muscles and bones, restrict our movement, damage nerves and even lead to chronic diseases.

If you feel like your posture needs some attention, schedule a visit with a good chiropractor for a professional assessment. In this assessment, a top chiropractor will take a look at certain areas of your body to evaluate current alignment. To list a few, here are some of the things being assessed at a chiropractic office:

  • An anterior (too-forward) or posterior (backward) pelvic tilt.
  • The level of your hips to see if they are imbalanced.
  • The alignment of your knees to see if they turn in or out.
  • The level of your shoulders in case one is higher than the other.
  • Your neck and head posture for any craning of the neck or incorrect tilts.
  • Your stance and how you walk to see the position of your feet.
  • A chiropractor X-Ray will uncover the degree of curvature.

Overall, the best chiropractor will be looking for any imbalances in your general physical body. These will lead the chiro to the correct diagnosis and chiropractic care. Once any corrections have been made, your chiropractor will draw up a plan in order to keep treatment up to work towards fixing your posture.

Non-invasive Method Of Managing The Condition (non-surgical)

As mentioned previously, the degree of the curve determines the severity of scoliosis and also the treatment. Generally, those with curves under 20 degrees will need monitoring but not so much treatment. Seeing a doctor of chiropractic is recommended to check up and counter any bad posture habits. Those who have anything above 20 to 40 degrees usually get back braces to combat the curve and those with 50 and over will consider surgery.

The surgery is a spinal fusion and it doesn’t make the spine fully straight as well as cause stiffness thereafter.

One of the non-invasive ways to manage scoliosis in infants is Mehta casting. This is where the child is put to sleep and then fitted with a fiberglass cast which acts as a brace to assist in correcting the spinal curve. These casts are removed and fitted again every eight weeks.

Another non-invasive way of managing this condition is by approved forms of physical therapy, including chiropractic services. This can look like actively improving one’s posture, stretching daily, doing low-impact exercises, and keeping active.

Another form of physical therapy is the Schroth Method which is customised exercises for those with scoliosis. It uses specialised stretches and exercises to elongate the spine and further develop the muscles of the rib cage. One of the exercises consists of semi-hanging which decompresses the spine and relieves the pressure on the discs.


Can a chiropractor treat scoliosis? In short – no, but in saying that, scoliosis is incurable, only manageable.

When it comes to dealing with particular symptoms, a qualified chiro will be able to bring relief and relieve tension. Through the use of the drop table or just their hands, full body chiropractic adjustment is used to correct misalignments and posture.

Through flexion-distraction therapy, a doctor of chiropractic is able to elongate your spine enough to allow your discs to decompress.

With your condition in mind, a family chiropractic is able to put together a plan tailored to your needs. This provides you with a management plan so you are not needing to rush to something more invasive. It is important to find a chiropractor who can diagnose you correctly and if in doubt, ask as many questions as you need to.

If you are based in Auckland, New Zealand, then Papakura Chiropractic may be just the place for you. We serve many patients from Papakura as well as those searching for a chiropractor Manukau, a Clevedon chiropractor, and beyond.