Scoliosis is differentiated as functional or structural. It is functional when the curvature is caused by contracted muscles and the spine itself is intact. It is structural when the spinal bones themselves are involved. Functional scoliosis is easier to treat but even structural scoliosis is treatable because bones are in a continual process of renewal.
Clinically, structural scoliosis always involve a functional element. The curvature of the spine throws surrounding muscles into imbalance. The muscles assume abnormal tonicities to maintain the functioning of the musculoskeletal body. This adaptive behavior can spread through the body. What started as a left-right imbalance soon causes front-back and top-bottom imbalance. The organs may also be affected because of the effects of the scoliosis on the spinal nerves. In Chinese medicine, there are acupuncture points along the erector spinae that are thought to have direct influence on each and every interior organ.
In my experience of treating scoliosis, the functional contribution is usually severe. This in fact opens up the opportunity to bring improvements to even hardened, congenital scoliosis. Treatment combines acupuncture with manual manipulation and focuses on relaxing the musculature and restoring balance. Very often, obvious straightening of the spine can be felt and observed at the end of a treatment. There is always some lapse back because the body falls back on its old ways. However, with continued treatments over a period of time, significant improvements can be achieved in straightening the scoliosis, and in the comfort and functioning of the body.