Chiropractic Treatments for Idiopathic Scoliosis: A Narrative Review Based on SOSORT Outcome Criteria

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SOURCE:   J Chiropractic Medicine 2017 (Mar); 16 (1): 64–71

Mark W. Morningstar, DC, PhD, Clayton J. Stitzel, DC,
Aatif Siddiqui, DC, Brian Dovorany, DC

Natural Wellness & Pain Relief Center,
Grand Blanc, MI.

OBJECTIVE:   The purpose of this review was to evaluate the current body of literature on chiropractic treatment of idiopathic scoliosis against the 2014 consensus paper of the Society on Scoliosis Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Treatment (SOSORT) and the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) Non-Operative Management Committee for outcome reporting in nonoperative treatments.

METHODS:   A search of the PubMed and Index to Chiropractic Literature databases for studies published from January 2000 through February 2016 detailing specific treatments and outcomes for idiopathic scoliosis was conducted.

RESULTS:   A total of 27 studies that discussed chiropractic scoliosis treatments were identified. Of these, there were 15 case reports, 10 case series, 1 prospective cohort, and 1 randomized clinical trial. Of the 27 studies, only 2 described their outcomes as recommended in the 2014 SOSORT and SRS Non-Operative Management Committee consensus paper.

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CONCLUSION:   The 2014 SOSORT and SRS Non-Operative Committee consensus paper details the format and types of outcomes they collectively believe are the most important and relevant to the patient. Among the chiropractic studies located in this review, 2 described outcomes consistent with how SOSORT recommends they be reported. Given that these consensus papers form the basis for nonoperative treatment recommendations and outcome reporting, future chiropractic studies should seek to report their outcomes as recommended by these papers. This will allow for better interprofessional collaboration and methodologic comparison.

KEYWORDS:   Chiropractic; Rehabilitation; Scoliosis; Spine


From the Full-Text Article:


Idiopathic scoliosis is a condition with a long history of proposed nonoperative treatments. These treatments have varied widely, but often with the common goal of stabilizing or correcting the Cobb angle and/or providing pain relief. [1, 2]

Chiropractic medicine first began in the United States as a healing profession in 1895. [3] Chiropractic medicine was originally created under the premise that spinal misalignments, called vertebral subluxations, could adversely affect nearby peripheral nerves and result in downstream organic health disorders. [4] Despite chiropractic medicine’s declared focus on the spine and conditions thereof, comparatively little research has been performed on the relationship between chiropractic care and idiopathic scoliosis. Because of the variety of treatment methods employed by doctors of chiropractic, [5] it is difficult to compare the effectiveness of various methods against one another. For example, chiropractic physicians, within their respective scopes of practice, may use spinal manipulation, nutrition, exercises, traction, bracing, or electric stimulation as scoliosis treatment therapies. Although these therapies are common to other health professions as well, it is possible that the results differ when performed by chiropractic physicians. They may also be reported differently than by other health professions. The focus of this article is less on the treatment results specifically, but rather on the manner in which they are reported. Thus, the goal of this review was to identify peer-reviewed chiropractic literature specifically regarding idiopathic scoliosis and compare the reporting of results to that recommended by the 2014 SOSORT and SRS consensus paper [6] and Weiss. [7] This review may provide insight into how future chiropractic studies can use this consensus paper to strengthen outcome reporting and foster interprofessional communication.

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