It is crucial for individuals with scoliosis to be well-informed about the available treatment options because different approaches yield varying results, which can significantly impact their quality of life. There are two primary methods for treating scoliosis: traditional and conservative. Continue reading to understand the distinctions and the treatment possibilities associated with each approach.

Residents of the Chicago, IL area looking for non-surgical scoliosis treatment are within a 280-mile distance from the renowned scoliosis chiropractor, Dr. Mark Morningstar, who operates the ScoliSMART Clinic in Grand Blanc, Michigan. This clinic provides access to a variety of treatment disciplines under one roof.

Choosing between surgical and non-surgical scoliosis treatment can be a complex and confusing process, and my goal is to ensure that patients are well-informed to make the right choice for their individual needs.

Residents of the Chicago, IL area

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a prevalent spinal condition affecting nearly seven million individuals in the United States alone, making it the most common spinal condition among school-aged children.

Scoliosis involves the development of an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine, characterized by not only bending to the side but also twisting in multiple dimensions, creating a complex 3-dimensional condition.

Moreover, to receive a diagnosis of scoliosis, the unnatural spinal curve must reach a minimum size, typically measured as a Cobb angle of at least 10 degrees.

The Cobb angle, determined through X-rays, quantifies the degree of misalignment in a scoliotic spine and classifies the condition’s severity as follows:

Mild scoliosis: Cobb angle between 10 and 25 degrees

Moderate scoliosis: Cobb angle between 25 and 45 degrees

Severe scoliosis: Cobb angle of 45+ degrees

Very-severe scoliosis: Cobb angle exceeding 80 degrees

Additionally, scoliosis is a progressive condition, meaning that its state at the time of diagnosis does not indicate where it will ultimately settle.

Scoliosis is a Progressive Condition

Due to the progressive nature of scoliosis, early and proactive treatment is essential.

Residents of the Chicago, IL area are fortunate to be within a 280-mile radius of the ScoliSMART Clinic in Grand Blanc, Michigan, where Dr. Mark Morningstar has been effectively treating scoliosis through conservative methods, emphasizing the preservation of the spine’s natural strength and function, as well as the comprehensive nature of the disorders and how it affects the entire individual.

Scoliosis can easily progress from mild to moderate and severe to very severe. Only proactive treatment can counteract this condition’s progressive tendencies.

While the exact cause of scoliosis onset remains unclear, its progression is typically triggered by growth and development.

Scoliosis can affect individuals of all ages, with children still in their growth phase being particularly susceptible to rapid progression. This is especially true for cases of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), typically diagnosed between the ages of 10 and 18, during the unpredictable growth spurts of puberty.

As scoliosis progresses, it becomes increasingly challenging to treat. Therefore, initiating treatment early in the progression of the condition is crucial. However, the approach to diagnosis and intervention depends on the chosen treatment method.

Chicago Scoliosis Treatment is a Progressive Condition

Scoliosis Treatment Options

As mentioned, two primary scoliosis treatment approaches exist: traditional and conservative. While the former often leads to spinal fusion surgery, the latter adopts a non-surgical approach that prioritizes corrective results.

The difference in how each approach handles mild scoliosis diagnoses highlights the shortcomings of traditional methods and the advantages of a modern strategy.

Traditional Scoliosis Treatment

Traditional scoliosis treatment lacks a proactive strategy for addressing mild scoliosis. It often recommends a “watch and wait” approach, which involves monitoring for signs of progression but may allow the condition to advance unchecked.

This approach raises concerns, particularly when adolescents undergo significant growth spurts during the monitoring period, as growth is the primary trigger for progression. As scoliosis advances, the abnormal spinal curve becomes larger, more rigid, and complex to treat.

Increasing spinal rigidity reduces the spine’s responsiveness to treatment while amplifying the effects of the condition’s uneven forces.

Proactively working to prevent progression and alleviate symptoms is far more effective than attempting to reverse established effects.

Traditional treatment does little to prevent progression, and severe cases, with Cobb angles exceeding 45 degrees, often lead to surgical recommendations.

Traditional Scoliosis Treatment for Chicago

Spinal fusion involves fusing the most-tilted vertebrae into a single solid bone to eliminate movement (progression) in that area. In most cases, rods are attached to the spine with pedicle screws to maintain stability.

Fused spines deviate from their natural, movement-based design, become more susceptible to injury, and may restrict flexibility, potentially causing limitations in activities.

While spinal fusion surgery can straighten a scoliotic spine, it does so at the expense of overall strength, function, and health, a scenario that I aim to help patients avoid.

Conservative Scoliosis Treatment

Residents of the Chicago, IL area seeking proactive, non-surgical scoliosis treatment are conveniently located within 500 miles of Dr. Morningstar’s ScoliSMART Clinic, where positive results speak for themselves.

Dr. Morningstar supports patients on their scoliosis journey by offering a non-surgical treatment alternative that initiates treatment as close to the time of diagnosis as possible.

While no treatment can guarantee specific outcomes, beginning treatment early in the progressive phase offers several advantages that enhance the likelihood of success.

Scoliosis is easier to treat during the mild stage, as the curve is smaller, the spine remains flexible, and the condition’s effects are subtle.

Scoliosis imposes uneven forces on the body, with the main symptom in children being postural deviations such as uneven shoulders, hips, and the development of a rib arch. In adults, pain becomes the primary symptom as scoliosis progresses during adulthood, after reaching skeletal maturity.

At the ScoliSMART Clinic, patients gain access to multiple scoliosis-specific treatment options under one roof.

By combining chiropractic rehabilitation, physical therapy, corrective bracing, and functional medicine, patients receive comprehensive treatment addressing various aspects of their condition for the best possible results.

Chiropractic rehabilitation focuses on reducing the curvature because scoliosis is a structural condition requiring intervention at a structural level.

Through a series of rehabilitative techniques and manual adjustments, efforts are made to realign the most-tilted vertebrae at the apex of the curve with the rest of the spine.

Chicago Conservative Scoliosis Treatment

Physical therapy strengthens the muscles surrounding the spine, ensuring optimal support and stability while addressing any muscle imbalances that may have developed. This is accomplished through my patented ScoliSMART Activity Suit.

Maintaining the spine’s natural curves and alignment is not solely the responsibility of the spine but also its surrounding muscles. The condition’s uneven forces can lead to muscle imbalances, with one side becoming stretched and the other weakened.

Corrective bracing helps by guiding the spine into a corrected position, complementing other forms of treatment. While traditional bracing has limitations, modern solutions like the SCT Cheneau brace offer corrective benefits by addressing many of the shortcomings of traditional bracing.

Custom-prescribed scoliosis-specific exercises (SSEs) and stretches enable patients to establish a home rehabilitation program for long-term, sustainable treatment results.


My primary goal is to ensure that individuals with scoliosis are well-educated about their treatment options so they can make informed decisions that align with their needs.

Residents of Chicago, IL have the advantage of being a 4.5-hour drive, or 280 miles, away from conservative treatment options that attract patients from around the world.

Patients at the ScoliSMART Clinic benefit from an integrated approach that combines various treatment modalities to address each patient’s unique requirements.

Given the complex nature of scoliosis, a personalized and proactive treatment approach is essential. Although scoliosis is a progressive condition, early detection and intervention can lead to highly effective treatment, offering hope for better outcomes.

If you or a loved one has recently received a scoliosis diagnosis, it is crucial to reach out for guidance and support to embark on a path toward successful treatment, particularly during the early stages of the condition’s progression.