Has your osteopath, chiropractor, physical therapist, or school nurse told you that you have scoliosis and that surgery is the only way to relieve your pain?  Or that there is no treatment at all, except, perhaps, a back brace?  Or even that you just have to live with it?

What is Scoliosis?

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Scoliosis is one of the most severe postural problems. It is a complex, S-shaped  side-bending of the vertebral column. If long-standing and severe, it may be accompanied by the formation of an upper thoracic costovertebral hump. However, it is very seldom a “life sentence”—as some would like you to believe.

Causes of Scoliosis

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Scoliosis is usually secondary to other resolvable musculoskeletal issues. It is often caused by a dropping of the sacral base due to a sacroiliac ligament sprain injury.  This unlevel sacral base is associated with a functionally short leg and a dysfunctional sacroiliac joint on the short side.

When one side of the sacral base drops due to sacroiliac ligament sprain and laxity, the body automatically compensates with a side-bending of the vertebral column. In order to keep the eyes level, the back eventually twists and bends to form an S-shaped vertebral scoliosis. Oftentimes, this results in costovertebral joint sprains at the mid to upper thoracic levels creating intrascapular movement restriction and pain.

On rare occasions, scoliosis results from malformed vertebral bones in the back or from cerebral dystrophy.

The good news—CONTRARY TO COMMON TEACHINGS AND CLINICAL DOGMA—is that this form of scoliosis is usually reversible—if the primary sacroiliacl joint problem is resolved.

IMPORTANT: Obtain the right diagnosis! Do not let a school nurse’s or doctor’s diagnosis of “scoliosis” leave you with the sense that you have a life sentence of a non-treatable physical deformation. There is very good hope that your “scoliosis” can be relatively easily treated.


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Osteopathic Manual Therapy (OMT) or Prolotherapy will resolve most musculoskeletal sprain injuries that can lead to secondary, compensatory scoliosis. Interim use of a back brace or Sacroiliac Belt may be appropriate. It is important to avoid surgery unless absolutely necessary.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy would be more appropriate if the sprain injury and dysfunction are due to significant ligament or tendon tearing.

If there is clear evidence of a significant neurological component to the scoliosis, appropriate tests and consultations are always considered.

Other rehabilitative therapies can be of immense benefit, especially Rolfing (Structural Integration) and Pilates Instruction.

For more details on the cause of Scoliosis and possible treatments, visit our other site at

Gary B. Clark, MD, MPA | 1790 30th Street, Suite 230, Boulder, CO | (303) 444-5131