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curved spine overlay on backConsidered an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine, scoliosis begins as a postural distortion. Left untreated, scoliosis can become a permanent deformity. It’s important to note that scoliosis not only affects children but adults as well. Often mild scoliosis (approximately 10-15 degrees) goes undetected during childhood and adolescence. If then seen in adulthood, it can have a major effect on spinal and pelvis alignment.

There are three causes of scoliosis:

  • Congenital (genetic predisposition)
  • Habitual (behavioral routines)
  • Idiopathic (unknown cause)


Are There Obvious Clues?

Changes in scoliosis are often slow, subtle and unaccompanied by pain. This is why all children over age 8 should be screened for spinal curvature. Parents can look for postural changes, like an elevated shoulder or hip. Sometimes ill-fitting clothing, or uneven footwear will give clues.

Wait and See?

Scoliosis can often worsen if left to just “run its course.” In severe cases, a child may need to wear a cumbersome brace 23 out of 24 hours daily for up to four years. In very severe cases, they may need surgery. Two of Dr. Martin’s young patients have had to have surgery, which involves bone fusion techniques to force the spine into a more upright position and that reduces compression on their vital organs. Surgery aims to protect the lungs, heart, and other important organs.

Natural Approach

Chiropractic adjustments may help to improve the spine’s structure and function. Because an adjustment also may help strengthen and retrain muscles, your child’s posture may improve.

If you think your child may have scoliosis, we recommend that you bring them in so we can evaluate and determine if we can help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Isn’t a certain amount of sideways curvature considered normal?

No, any type of sideways curvature is abnormal. From the back, the spine should appear straight. When a person has scoliosis, there are typically two curves: a primary curve in one direction and a compensatory curve in the other direction.

When does care become necessary?

There is some disagreement among experts on when scoliosis needs to be addressed.

Most surgeons in Canada recommend surgery only when the spinal curve is at or beyond 55 degrees. For mild curves, those between 10 and 25 degrees. chiropractic care can be very helpful in improving spinal movement and pain reduction.

Do heavy backpacks cause scoliosis?

It can contribute to it.

What techniques and treatments do you find successful in addressing this issue?

For the most part, chiropractic adjustments can manage it well. We correct vertebral misalignment and provide postural advice, home exercises, traction or inversion, and sometimes physiotherapy modalities. And if there’s an anatomically short leg, a heel lift can make a big difference.

How long do patients typically notice relief?

This is very case-specific. Some people come in, and they are asymptomatic. We don’t treat symptoms but instead manage the spinal mechanics and posture.

What is this process?

The process isn’t that different from treating other patients. We typically will work with a patient for four weeks, then do a mini reassessment to see how we’re doing with them subjectively and objectively, and then make recommendations afterwards.

Get Help Today

If you or your child has scoliosis, we want to help. Contact Martin Chiropractic Clinic today to schedule an appointment.


Scoliosis Waterloo, Kitchener ON | (519) 886-2570