Does sleeping position affect scoliosis of spine?

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Infantile Scoliosis and the "Back to sleep" program

Out of 278 infantile patients with plagiocephaly (malformation of the cranial bones) evaluated between 1968 – 1983, 272 had scoliosis, with 268 demonstrating a correlation between the side of plagiocephaly and the laterality of the curve.

Scoliosis has been on the rise since 1992, when pediatricians first introduced the “Back to Sleep” campaign in an effort to reduce the number of SIDS cases.

Parents over-reacted, thinking the new guidelines meant that NO child should EVER be on their stomach.

Lying on their backs all day long, infants lost the opportunity to develop the cervical curve through the nodding reflex, and began to develop cranial subluxations – especially of the occipital bone, which protects the cerebellum, which in turn regulates posture & proprioception.

In past decades, the incidence of scoliosis was much higher in Europe where infants commonly were placed on their backs to sleep than in the US, where a face-down (prone) sleeping position has been traditional (Wynne-Davis 1974). Infantile IS reportedly has almost complete disappeared since Europeans adopted the prone sleeping position for their children. Thus, according to Mau (1981), “Following the widespread introduction of the prone-lying position for babies in Germany some ten years ago, infantile scoliosis has now become a rare entity, so that further studies have been restricted.” -Excerpted from Scoliosis and the Human Spine, by Martha Hawes, PhD
In the 1960’s-1970’s, prior to the introduction of the Back to Sleep campaign in America, cases of infantile scoliosis represented about 0.5% of the total diagnosed cases of scoliosis (with juvenile accounting for 10.5%, and adolescent cases being the remaining 89%).

Meanwhile, in Scotland, where parents were routinely advised to place their infants to sleep on their backs, cases of infantile scoliosis accounted for 41% of the number of cases diagnosed.

After 1980, when this stance was reversed, the incidence of infantile scoliosis in Scotland dropped to 4%.

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