The physics of scoliosis2019-02-08T13:43:08+00:00

THE PHYSICS OF SCOLIOSIS

In order to improve the scoliosis, it is important to recognize the fundamental role of the physiological curves of the spine from a side view (sagittal plane), called lordotic or kyphotic, the curves maintain the correct weight distribution in response to gravity and minimize the physical stress on the spine. The loss of cervical or lumbar curve is called hypolordosis and seems to permit lateral displacement of the spine, and therefore is an aggravating factor in scoliosis.

The reason behind this has to do with physics. A loss of cervical curve implies an anterior displacement of the head, adding stress to our spine. In fact, for every 2.5 centimeters of anterior head displacement, the effective weight of the head increases 4 kilograms. A clear example of how this works can be seen in grocery bags. It is easier to carry the bags if we hold them next to our bodies than of we increase the distance from our bodies by extending our arms.

Why do we lose our natural spinal curves?

The are many reasons we lose the curves. It can occur after a trauma like a traffic accident or a sports injury. But frequently the loss of curve occurs slowly over time. Paying attention in school, studying at home, working on the computer or driving, are routine activities that force us to adapt forced postures for many hours at a time.

Maintaining these postures so many hours permits the spine to be displaced little by little until the muscles become hypertonic and rigid, because of the increased weight that they have to support. The body begins to use the stronger muscles more than the weak ones, forcing postural changes. With the loss of curve in the neck, the spinal cord is stretched 10% (in forward bending 28%) and the nerves that travel from the brain to every organ start to suffer tension.

Research suggests that scoliosis can correct itself spontaneously if the spinal-cord tension is eliminated. This implies that by restoring the physiological (natural) curves of the spine we will remove spinal-cord tension, and we can favor an improvement in scoliosis.

Of course, restoring the curves is only one aspect of our focus on scoliosis. Rehabilitation of muscles, tendons and ligaments is also important. Also, we educate the brain to more efficient in its use of postural muscles.

Sengupta DK, Dorgan J, Findlay GF. Can hindbrain decompression for
syringomyelia lead to regression of scoliosis? Eur Spine J. 2000
Jun;9(3):198-201. PubMed PMID: 10905436; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3611393.

How our treatment is different

The work we do is based on the fact that scoliosis is not only a lateral curvature of the spine. It is a 3-D (three dimensional) problem which involves the loss of the physiological curves and well as rotation of the hip and thoracic cage. People with scoliosis always arrive at our installations with forward head carriage and a loss of sagittal curves.

Before we can correct the most worrying curve, which is the frontal (or side-to- side) curve, first we must reestablish the physiological curves in the sagittal (or front-to-back) planes. After this sagittal correction, the lateral curve (measured by the Cobb angle) will return toward its re-aligned state.

Aside from working with the curves, we focus another part of the treatment on the 3-D rotation of the thoracic cage and hips using weights and traction.

The results are achieved with a combination of specific chiropractic adjustments and rehabilitation procedures that include re-education of neuromuscular proprioception, muscle and ligament rehabilitation and vibration therapy.