It is estimated that there are more than 6 million people in the United States with Scoliosis. Scoliosis is the sideways curvature of the spine and in 80% of cases, the best medical evidence currently states that we have no idea why it occurs. Intervention for scoliosis can range from a simple monitoring approach to extensive surgical rods that last a lifetime. So when is it appropriate to intervene verses simply monitor the progression? When you look at your spine from the front, the optimal alignment should be a straight vertical line from your skull to your tailbone. When a scoliosis occurs, even a mild one, the spine is no longer in proper alignment. Scoliosis doesn’t just appear overnight. It takes times to develop. If there is a misalignment or motion restriction in the spine, also known as a vertebral subluxation, there will be forces known as the Piezoelectric Effect that can cause assymetrical bone growth. In a developing spine, if one side grows at a more rapid rate compared to the opposing side, then you can develop a sideways curvature or scoliosis. The approach to your scoliosis will vary greatly depending on the severity, location, timeline, and age of detection. The good news is that in cases of mild scoliosis that are detected BEFORE spinal maturity, which occurs around 20-24 years of age, spinal correction is possible with specific chiropractic care. When we focus on restoring proper alignment and motion to the vertebral subluxation, piezoelectric forces are normalized and the scoliosis may be reduced or corrected entirely. Children respond extremely well to gentle, specific chiropractic adjustments. Quite often, just a handful of adjustments can make a huge difference to a growing spine. That was the case for Liam, a patient in our office. In just 8 weeks, his previously undetected scoliosis was corrected. He now comes in periodically with his family for spinal checkups to make sure that he continues on the healthiest path he can. For curvatures detected later in life, the goal is much different. In several cases, I have adults in their 60’s that presented with severe scoliosis, measuring over 60 degrees. Imagine trying to take a 100 year old tree with a bent trunk and trying to forcefully straighten it. The result cannot be good. But that does not mean the tree cannot continue to grow healthy and strong for another 100 years if the conditions are right. In the same respect, an adult with a severe scoliosis has adapted to that curvature for decades. That is their NORMAL. It may not be the ideal normal, but it is theirs, and our goal is to cultivate, stabilize and strengthen the spine and allow for optimal daily function for decades more to come. The best way to find out if you or your family member has scoliosis is to have a spinal check up with a chiropractor who takes x-rays. Other signs that a scoliosis may be present include visibly uneven shoulders, having one shoulder blade that appears more prominent than the other, an uneven waistline or one hip that is higher than the other. I encourage everyone who has a spine to schedule your spinal check up today. That way you are sure you’re growing in the right direction.