OBJECTIVE: This report of two cases illustrates the potential effect of chiropractic manipulative therapy on back pain and curve progression in the at-risk, skeletally mature patient with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.
CLINICAL FEATURE: Two patients suffering from lumbar scoliosis and chronic back pain. Both had scoliosis that had progressed after skeletal maturity.
INTERVENTION AND OUTCOME: Diversified type chiropractic manipulative therapy was used palliatively for back pain relief in one case, and routinely 1-2 times per month in the other case. The manipulation was applied manually, with the patients in the prone and side-posture positions. Vertebral levels manipulated were identified as fixated/dysfunctional segments based on static and/or motion palpation. They were generally applied to areas above and/or below the curve apex. When applied at the apex, cavitation was more easily achieved when the direction of thrust was into the concave side. This was also tolerated better by the patient. No attempt was made to "straighten the curve" by thrusting into the convex side. Gentle manual intersegmental mobilization, stretching and muscle massage techniques were also applied. The case treated palliatively had curve progression consistent with the literature over an 8-yr period. The case treated routinely did not. The procedure was effective in both cases for subjective relief of back pain.
CONCLUSIONS: Diversified-type CMT has a favorable effect on acute back pain when used palliatively. The procedure may also have a favorable long term effect of preventing recurrence of back pain and on retarding curve progression when used routinely 1-2 times per month.
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