Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine of 11 degrees or more. An estimated 500,000 adults in the United States have scoliosis. Scoliosis is usually discovered during adolescence and is called idiopathic scoliosis, a fancy term meaning the doctor has no idea what caused the scolios.
In common language, scoliosis means that the spine is crooked. The spine is held together by the same thing that holds all the bones together, ligaments. The patient often experiences pain at the site where the spine curves. At the apex of this curve, the ligaments are being stretched with the scoliosis, and localized ligament weakness is one of the etiological bases for it.
Traditional treatments for scoliosis, especially during adolescence, include observation, bracing, and surgery. Observation of a crooked spine does not sound very helpful, bracing has been shown to decrease the progression of mild scoliosis, and surgery involves placing big rods in the back to stabilize the spine. Surgery is generally utilized for severe scoliosis when bracing has failed to stop the progression.
Again, every disease has a cause. Since scoliosis involves the spine moving in the wrong direction, treatment should be aimed at why this is occurring and correcting the problem. Ligament laxity is probably the main plausible explanation for the development of scoliosis and its pain.
Prolotherapy treatments to strengthen the weakened ligaments can have potentially stabilizing and curative effects in scoliosis. If the scoliosis is progressing quickly, then bracing would be necessary in addition to Prolotherapy.
Scoliosis pain has common patterns depending on where the scoliosis is located. These pain patterns are easily reproduced by palpating the ligaments over the scoliotic segments of the spine. A positive ‘jump sign” will be elicited ensuring the diagnosis. The most common reason for pain with scoliosis is ligament weakness at the apex of the scoliosis curve. Prolotherapy treatments over the entire scoliotic segment is effective at eliminating the pain of scoliosis.
It has the added benefit of causing the ligaments to strengthen which will help stabilize the segment. For these reasons, Prolotherapy should be a part of comprehensive scoliosis management.