The first Scoliosis Awareness 5k Fun Run/Walk in St. Mary’s County was held at Chaptico Park on Saturday, August 22, 2015. Over 60 people came out to support Emily Clark’s Girl Scout Gold Award project to bring awareness to scoliosis.

Emily was diagnosed with scoliosis when she was in elementary school and started wearing a brace towards the end of middle school and wore it for four years. She continues to follow up with her orthopedic doctor but is out of her brace and leads a normal life.

All the participants were very excited about the run and are hoping it will be an annual event. Some of the participants had scoliosis so it was a great opportunity for individuals and families to discuss this topic and share treatment stories

Dr. Jay Lipoff from Back at Your Best Chiropractic & Physical Therapy was Emily’s adviser on her project and was there to provide pre-screenings and talk with individuals who had any concerns. He did recommend some follow-ups with various doctors depending on their situation.

From Emily’s Brochure, “Scoliosis is a lateral curvature in the spine. When you look at someone that has scoliosis, their back will appear curved as compared to someone with a normal spine, whose back appears straight.” 

“Idiopathic scoliosis, scoliosis that has no known cause, affects 2 to 3 percent of American teenagers. Idiopathic scoliosis is most commonly found in adolescent girls, and growth spurts can cause an increase in curvature.”

“The other three types of scoliosis have known causes. Congenital Scoliosis is caused by a bone abnormality at birth, neuromuscular scoliosis is caused by abnormal muscles or nerves at birth, and degenerative scoliosis is caused by a spinal injury.”

“All have treatments, but early detection can make a significant difference in its progression.”

Chiropractic treatment has been shown to help reduce curves that are less than 18 degrees by utilizing spinal adjustments, muscle work and rehabilitation exercises. Beyond 18 degrees many patients may still discover relief temporarily from the aches, pains, tightness and decreased mobility.

Yoga specific for curvature of the spine can be helpful as well. Evolve Yoga has some courses to specifically help people with scoliosis and I have heard nothing but great reviews.

Emily also wrote that, “Monitoring the progression is important as it may lead to bracing the patient’s spine if the curve becomes too great and potentially could harm the internal organs or affect growth.”

“Bracing options include the Boston brace, a brace that is worn 23 hours of the day; the Charleston Bending Brace, which is worn only at night; and the Milwaukee Brace, which isn’t used as frequently anymore. Physical therapy is helpful after bracing is complete to help regain normal ranges of motion.”

“If bracing is unsuccessful, surgery may be the next course of action, which is determined by the progression of the curve and the age of the patient. These surgeries limit the patient’s range of motion and activities permanently.”

Curvy Girls of Southern Maryland, a support group for girls with scoliosis, was also there with pamphlets and information about their support group, of which Emily was one of the first members.

The day was a huge success and hopefully all that participated gained knowledge they can pass on to others.

Ms. Clark’s take home message was that “Scoliosis can be treated in many ways        depending on the type. Early detection makes a big difference in some cases.”

Dr. Lipoff also spoke to participants about proper use of school book bags as far as; packing them, selecting a good one, how to use them, correct weight for your child, etc.

The American Occupational Therapy Association reported 79 million low back injuries have been reported by kids carrying heavy backpacks.

In 2013, the US Consumer Products and Safety Commission published that over 22,000 sprains, strains, dislocation and fractures were treated at various clinics, all due to back packs. Many of those are from children tripping due to the weight and awkwardness of their bag.

As a Chiropractic Doctor I have seen my share of kids complaining of headaches, neck pain, upper back issues, posture changes and scoliosis to name a few. Most were related to sports incidents and school work.

Watch your kids and listen to them when they talk about back pain and headaches. Medications help the symptom but do not correct spinal problems and in a growing child, it is extremely important that they have a healthy spine.

Also, kids respond quickly because their body and muscles haven’t had a chance to adapt and become a bigger problem like us adults who wait.

Thank you everyone that came out to support Emily and her first Scoliosis Awareness 5k Fun Run/Walk in St. Mary’s County.

Dr. Jay M. Lipoff is the owner of Back At Your Best Chiropractic & Physical Therapy, LLC, which is located in the Wildewood Shopping Center. Dr. Lipoff is also the author of “Back At Your Best; Balancing the Demands of Life With the Needs of Your Body.” It is available in book and Kindle format at Amazon.

He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University in 1990, a Doctorate of Chiropractic (D.C.) from New York Chiropractic College (NYCC) in 1994 and he became a Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT) in 2005.

Dr. Lipoff is an Executive Board Member, International Chiropractic Association Council on Fitness and Sports Health Science; won the 2015 Arnold Schwarzenegger Legacy Award for his community work; has a radio segment: Back At Your Best in 5 Minutes or Less, President and Founder; Foundation 4 Heroes, Contributing writer; The Baynet, Huffington Post and SoMD News, Co-Founder, Drug Free Training USA; Member, NY Strength-promoting the importance of physical conditioning; Board Member of Public Relations Committee, Maryland Chiropractic For more information, go to, find us on facebook, or call 301-863-BEST (2378).