There are two primary approaches to addressing scoliosis, each offering distinct potential outcomes. Indeed, the most significant decision confronting individuals newly diagnosed with scoliosis is how to proceed with treatment. Continue reading to gain insight into the important distinctions between the traditional surgical approach and the non-surgical conservative approach.

Michigan residents seeking scoliosis treatment in Ann Arbor need not travel far. Dr. Mark Morningstar, from the ScoliSMART Clinic, offers proactive non-surgical treatment to Ann Arbor-area residents, while patients from various regions seek his specialized expertise and experience.

Selecting the right scoliosis treatment provider plays a pivotal role in the success of treatment. Therefore, before delving into the specifics of scoliosis treatment in Ann Arbor, let’s first discuss scoliosis in general and the two primary treatment approaches.

Michigan residents seeking scoliosis treatment in Ann Arbor

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a structural spinal condition characterized by the development of an abnormal sideways curvature combined with rotation, resulting in a 3-dimensional deformity. This condition involves not only lateral bending but also twisting in multiple dimensions, contributing to its complexity.

Two crucial aspects of scoliosis that individuals recently diagnosed with the condition should comprehend are its high variability and progressive nature. Scoliosis manifests across a broad spectrum of severity, ranging from mild to moderate, and severe to very severe.

The severity of the condition is classified using a measurement called the Cobb angle, which involves drawing lines from the top and bottom of the curve’s most-tilted vertebrae (at its apex). The resulting angle, expressed in degrees, determines the classification:

Mild scoliosis: Cobb angle measurement between 10 and 25 degrees Moderate scoliosis: Cobb angle measurement between 25 and 40 degrees Severe scoliosis: Cobb angle measurement of 40+ degrees Very-severe scoliosis: Cobb angle measurement exceeding 80 degrees

In general, higher Cobb angles tend to be associated with more pronounced symptoms, which may include postural deviations and pain. However, pain is more commonly experienced by adults than by children and adolescents.

It is essential to recognize that the wide range of Cobb angle measurements underscores the condition’s variability. Furthermore, scoliosis is inherently progressive, meaning it tends to worsen over time, especially when left untreated or not treated proactively.

Because scoliosis progresses, the state of the condition at the time of diagnosis does not predict its future progression. Even individuals initially diagnosed with mild scoliosis may experience progression to moderate, severe, or very severe stages at different rates. This underscores the importance of proactive treatment.

Having discussed the condition in general, including its defining features, let’s now explore the two primary approaches to scoliosis treatment: traditional and conservative.

Traditional Scoliosis Treatment: Surgical Approach

The traditional approach to treating scoliosis is primarily surgical in nature. When confronted with a diagnosis of mild scoliosis, the traditional approach typically adopts a “watch and wait” strategy, monitoring the condition for further progression.

While some individuals experience slow progression over time, others may progress rapidly. Growth and development, particularly in children and adolescents, represent the primary triggers for scoliosis progression. Adolescents are often re-evaluated for progression at regular intervals, such as every 3, 6, or 12 months, depending on the treatment provider. During the intervals between assessments, adolescents may undergo significant growth spurts, leading to substantial progression and complicating treatment. Invasive options like spinal fusion become more likely.

In fact, the traditional approach generally employs traditional bracing as the only form of treatment before considering surgery. However, traditional bracing has limitations, primarily because it addresses the condition in a 2-dimensional manner rather than comprehensively addressing its 3-dimensional nature.

Ann Arbor Traditional Scoliosis Treatment

Scoliosis Treatment by Age

Once a patient’s condition progresses beyond the 45+ degree mark and enters the severe, they become candidates for surgery. The issue with this approach is that proactive treatment earlier in the progression of the condition could have potentially prevented the need for invasive surgery and mitigated the challenges associated with increased severity.

Fortunately, for those who opt to forgo surgical recommendations or prefer a less invasive approach, Grand Blanc, Michigan is home to one of the world’s leading scoliosis chiropractors and researchers: Dr. Mark Morningstar.

Conservative Scoliosis Treatment: Non-Surgical Approach

For individuals seeking Ann Arbor Scoliosis Treatment, the ScoliSMART Clinic in Grand Blanc, Michigan, offers a comprehensive solution. While many patients travel great distances to benefit from Dr. Morningstar’s modern and comprehensive non-surgical scoliosis treatment approach, Ann Arbor residents have the advantage of proximity.

The conservative approach prioritizes proactive intervention as close to the time of diagnosis as possible. Recognizing that scoliosis is a progressive condition, there is a sense of urgency to counteract its natural progression. The aim is to spare patients the difficulties associated with worsening condition severity, escalating symptoms, and the necessity for invasive treatments.

With training and certification in multiple scoliosis-specific treatment modalities, patients at the Clinic gain access to various forms of treatment, each with its unique benefits, all conveniently available under one roof.

Even for patients traveling from outside Ann Arbor, the journey can be worthwhile to undergo treatment that aims to preserve the spine’s natural function, including flexibility and range of motion. Additionally, it helps patients avoid the expenses and invasiveness associated with surgical procedures.

While no treatment can guarantee specific outcomes, the combination of chiropractic rehabilitation, in-office therapy, functional medicine and diagnostics, customized home exercises, and corrective bracing allows for the pursuit of structural curvature reduction. Subsequently, various therapies and scoliosis-specific exercises (SSEs) contribute to enhancing core strength, ensuring optimal support and stability provided by the surrounding muscles.

Moreover, specific SSEs, when combined with other effective treatments, can stimulate areas of the brain, promoting improved communication between the brain and body, postural remodeling, and more natural body positioning.

Ann Arbor Conservative Scoliosis Treatment Non-Surgical Approach


When it comes to scoliosis treatment, individuals must consider what kind of outcome they desire. For those seeking to preserve as much of their spine’s natural function as possible, including flexibility and range of motion, a conservative non-surgical treatment approach offers the best chance of achieving this objective.

For individuals in search of Ann Arbor scoliosis treatment, we encourage reaching out to us to embark on a path toward proactive treatment tailored to the specific needs of each patient and their unique type of scoliosis.