Scoliosis or A Short Leg?

Scoliosis has many varieties and a good scoliosis provider knows how to distinguish one from the other and the proper treatments for each.  The most common type of scoliosis is the idiopathic variety that comes on for mostly unknown reasons.  Other types of scoliosis are compensations caused by other problems.  This case is a male patient of ours who came to see us at the age of 15.  This patients parents had seen another out of town scoliosis specialist who wanted to treat their son with a SpineCor brace.  This traveling specialist had informed this young mans parents that their son had a moderate scoliosis ( 25 degrees +) that would advance rapidly without brace treatment and that he needed to brace him immediately.  They sought a consultation with our office for a 2nd opinion.

After looking at this young mans x-rays I was fairly certain that this was not a case of idiopathic scoliosis but rather a case of a compensatory scoliosis due to another anatomical problem called leg length insufficiency or an anatomically short leg.  While it is common for lumbar scoliosis to involve a short leg there still has to be other signs present to classify scoliosis as idiopathic.  A big sign is the vertebra frequently rotate or twist and in this case there was minimal rotation for the magnitude of the curve and displacement of the posture.  Also there is commonly an identifiable wedging in one of the vertebra.  In this case no wedging was seen.  So I asked these parents if I could take 2 x-rays on their son to confirm if there was truly an idiopathic scoliosis present.

These are the films I took of this young man.  The film on the left reveals that he had an anatomical deficiency in his left leg measuring 3/4’s of an inch.  The second film on the right reveals what happens when I had this patient stand on a 3/4 inch foot lift.  As you can see his pelvis leveled out and his scoliosis reduced by 50%.

aizpreaizpostIn this case no idiopathic scoliosis was present and therefore no brace was needed.  We treated this young man in the office for 2 months with traction and exercise and put a 3/4 inch sole lift on his left shoe and at the end of care his spine was virtually straight and his posture was normal.  This is what experience and knowledge can do with scoliosis cases.  If you wish to see if our office can help your scoliosis case then call Pivonka Chiropractic at (480) 892-0022.


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