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Open Access Highly Accessed Case report

Scoliosis treatment using spinal manipulation and the Pettibon Weighting System™: a summary of 3 atypical presentations

Mark W Morningstar1* and Timothy Joy2

Author Affiliations

1 Director of Research, The Pettibon Institute; 3416-A 57th St Ct NW Gig Harbor WA 98335, USA

2 Evergreen Spine & Posture Correction Center; 6615 6th Ave Tacoma, WA 98406, USA

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Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2006, 14:1  doi:10.1186/1746-1340-14-1

Published: 12 January 2006

Abstract

Background

Given the relative lack of treatment options for mild to moderate scoliosis, when the Cobb angle measurements fall below the 25–30° range, conservative manual therapies for scoliosis treatment have been increasingly investigated in recent years. In this case series, we present 3 specific cases of scoliosis.

Case presentation

Patient presentation, examination, intervention and outcomes are detailed for each case. The types of scoliosis presented here are left thoracic, idiopathic scoliosis after Harrington rod instrumentation, and a left thoracic scoliosis secondary to Scheuermann's Kyphosis.

Each case carries its own clinical significance, in relation to clinical presentation. The first patient presented for chiropractic treatment with a 35° thoracic dextroscoliosis 18 years following Harrington Rod instrumentation and fusion. The second patient presented with a 22° thoracic levoscoliosis and concomitant Scheuermann's Disease. Finally, the third case summarizes the treatment of a patient with a primary 37° idiopathic thoracic levoscoliosis. Each patient was treated with a novel active rehabilitation program for varying lengths of time, including spinal manipulation and a patented external head and body weighting system. Following a course of treatment, consisting of clinic and home care treatments, post-treatment radiographs and examinations were conducted. Improvement in symptoms and daily function was obtained in all 3 cases. Concerning Cobb angle measurements, there was an apparent reduction in Cobb angle of 13°, 8°, and 16° over a maximum of 12 weeks of treatment.

Conclusion

Although mild to moderate reductions in Cobb angle measurements were achieved in these cases, these improvements may not be related to the symptomatic and functional improvements. The lack of a control also includes the possibility of a placebo effect. However, this study adds to the growing body of literature investigating methods by which mild to moderate cases of scoliosis can be treated conservatively. Further investigation is necessary to determine whether curve reduction and/or manipulation and/or placebo was responsible for the symptomatic and functional improvements noted in these cases.