Pediatric Scoliosis – A Neck problem in Disguise

Pediatric Scoliosis

Pediatric scoliosis can be caused by an imbalance of the atlas (C1) vertebra in the neck following a head, neck or birth injury. Upper cervical care can help treat the cause. Clear Chiropractic is an upper cervical specialist practice in Spokane, Washington that is a natural choice in healthcare without twisting, stretching or cracking.

Pediatric scoliosis is an abnormal sideways spinal curve that develops during childhood. The question is “Why?

From a medical standpoint, physical therapy, bracing and even surgery are all common treatment options for pediatric scoliosis.

However, there may be another option. Research shows that the origin of pediatric scoliosis can come from an unexpected source: a problem with the alignment in the upper neck. If so, a gentle and natural approach known as the Blair procedure can help!


Research on Pediatric Scoliosis

There is an amazing study on pediatric scoliosis from 2021 that did not get near the public attention it deserves.

Researchers studied 40 consecutive cases of children with idiopathic scoliosis. They discovered that these children exhibited an apparent leg length imbalance of 11mm (approx 1/2”). Normal is within 3mm or 1/8.” Interestingly, these children also exhibited a phenomenon known as a “positive cervical rotation test.” In brief, the apparent imbalance improved simply by turning their heads.

A positive cervical rotation test is an orthopedic indicator that the upper neck (C1 and C2 vertebrae) are producing a neuromuscular imbalance that travels through the entire body and which causes one leg to appear shorter than the other (when, in fact, the legs are the same length).

The researchers believed that by correcting the imbalance at the top of the neck that it could change the apparent leg imbalance. By doing so, they hypothesized that this could also help improve pediatric scoliosis.

The researchers used a treatment known as the Blair procedure, which is a gentle and non-invasive correction for the C1 vertebrae in the neck. With 1-2 adjustments of the atlas (C1) vertebra, they found that in almost all the kids in their study that their apparent leg length inequality completely balanced out!

While the researchers didn’t study spinal changes directly, these changes in posture suggest that the spine must also when a change in the process. Thus, the Blair procedure may be a natural and effective way to help kids with pediatric scoliosis.


What is the Blair Procedure?

The Blair procedure is a special division of craniocervical or upper cervical specific healthcare. It is a specialty of chiropractic that does not involve any neck twisting, stretching or cracking.

I repeat: no twisting or cracking.

The procedure involves a detailed assessment of the structure and alignment of the joints in the upper neck. This includes low-dose diagnostic images that show the exact location, direction and degree of neck misalignment. With this information, a Blair practitioner designs a custom-correction to restore the normal function of these neck joints. Because the procedure is so specific, it is like designing a custom-fit key to unlock a door. The procedure is gentle and safe for children of all ages.


What causes an Upper Neck Misalignment?

This delicate area of the body can be injured any number of ways:

  • birthing process (e.g., difficult birth, forceps, vacuum, etc)
  • falling and hitting your chin or head when learning to walk, ride a bike, etc
  • sports injuries (including gymnastics, trampolines, etc)


The upper neck is the only area of the spine that doesn’t have a disc that locks the bones into place. Therefore, this is the area of the spine that is most likely to become injured with any head, neck or even tailbone injury. With children, this area is especially flexible. This is largely due to the fact that a child’s head is disproportionally large to the size of its body

One of the ways that the body disperses local tension is to produce changes to the full spinal alignment. This is a phenomenon known as body imbalance that we see in both children and adults. The difference in children is that their spine is still growing. As a result, the spine may grow into an abnormal posture.

Especially if children experience other symptoms such as headaches, migraines or low back pain, these are tell-tale signs that something is not right.

     Note: A few other early warning signs include colic (which is associated with difficult births and migraine headaches, which have an exceptionally strong connection with upper neck misalignments) and also anxiety and mood disorders in children.

Pain is not normal in an adult, and it is NEVER normal in a child.


A different approach for Pediatric Scoliosis

There is an old expression: “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.” This adage is especially true in pediatric scoliosis.

When the cause comes from an upper neck misalignment, this non-invasive approach can have a profound impact on helping to improve spinal health. Even if are working with a physical therapist and orthopedist, the Blair approach can help. If you are looking for a chiropractor in Spokane, visit our home page more information. To schedule a new patient appointment with our Mead (north Spokane) or South Hill offices, complete a new patient request form here or call us direct at 509-315-8166.