Effect of chiropractic intervention on small scoliotic curves in younger subjects: a time-series cohort design

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. Jul-Aug 2001;24(6):385-93. doi: 10.1067/mmt.2001.116419.


Background: Chiropractors have long claimed to affect scoliotic curves, and case studies abound reporting on successful outcomes. No clinical trials exist, however, that evaluate chiropractic's effectiveness in the management of scoliotic curves.

Objective: To assess the effectiveness of chiropractic intervention in the management of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in curves less than 20 degrees.

Design: Cohort time-series trial with all subjects electing chiropractic care. Entry-level Cobb angle was compared with postmanagement curve.

Methods: Forty-two subjects completed the program of chiropractic intervention. Age range at entry was 6 to 12 years, and patients were included if their entry-level x-ray films revealed curves of 6 degrees to 20 degrees. Participants had adjustments performed for 1 year before follow-up. Full-spine osseous adjustments were the major form of intervention, but heel lifts and postural and lifestyle counseling were used as well.

Results: There was no discernable effect on the severity of the curves as a function of age, initial curve severity, frequency of care, or attending physician.

Conclusion: Full-spine chiropractic adjustments with heel lifts and postural and lifestyle counseling are not effective in reducing the severity of scoliotic curves.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Chiropractic / methods*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Posture
  • Scoliosis / therapy*
  • Time Factors