Answers to Questions about Chiropractic:
Is Network Spinal Analysis Effective against Scoliosis?

Samuel Homola, D.C.

Question

My 14-year-old son has been diagnosed with a 20-degree curve between his shoulder blades. We are scheduled to go back to the orthopedist in a few weeks to see whether the curve has progressed. Meanwhile, I am looking at alternative methods of treatment. In a scoliosis forum, a parent reported good results with Network Spinal Analysis, a chiropractic treatment. I am seeking information about this treatment or any others that might effective in the treatment of scoliosis.

Answer

A 14-year-old child with a 20-degree curvature should be kept under observation by an orthopedic specialist who can watch for signs that the curvature is becoming progressively worse. Some types of structural curvatures will not progress, especially after age 16 or so. If the curvature goes beyond 20 degrees before growth is completed, however, bracing or surgery might be required to halt its progress. Otherwise, the curvature might result in crippling deformity.

It's important for an orthopedic specialist to keep you child under observation until growth is completed. Hopefully, the curvature is structural and won't progress. If it is a progressive idiopathic curvature, it should not be allowed to go beyond 20 degrees before the age of 16 without bracing or some other form of treatment.

No type of chiropractic treatment can correct a structural scoliosis or halt the progress of an idiopathic scoliosis. An exercise program would, of course, be helpful in controlling a structural scoliosis. Once your orthopedist has determined that your son's scoliosis is not of the progressive idiopathic variety, he can recommend an exercise program for him.

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Dr. Homola is a second-generation chiropractor who has dedicated himself to defining the proper limits on chiropractic and to educating consumers and professionals about the field. His 1963 book Bonesetting, Chiropractic, and Cultism supported the appropriate use of spinal manipulation but renounced chiropractic dogma. His 1999 book Inside Chiropractic: A Patient's Guide provides an incisive look at chiropractic's history, benefits, and shortcomings. Now retired after 43 years of practice, he lives in Panama City, Florida.

This article was posted on December 8, 2002.