The Future of Scoliosis Treatment: Cutting-Edge Innovations
FACTUALLY ACCURATE & VERIFIED BY
Dr. Clayton J. Stitzel
LAST UPDATED ON
January 5, 2023
The three most common types of treatments for scoliosis are braces, surgery, and observation. Yet none of these actually stabilizes or reduces the curve or the underlying cause of the condition. Posture memory improvement, genetic testing for scoliosis, and the ScoliSMART Activity Suit are more modern scoliosis solutions that provide long-term results for different types of scoliosis.
Early Intervention and Scoliosis Exercises for Best Outcomes
Why are bracing, surgery, and observational approaches most recommended?
Doctors commonly opt to only observe children with early stage idiopathic curvatures. Spinal curves measuring less than 25 degrees (mild curve) receive no treatment for at least the first six months. The idea is that doctors can tell if the mild scoliosis is progressive or not after this amount of time has passed. Yet, if the curve reaches 25 degrees, there is a 68 percent chance the curve will continually get worse! ScoliSMART doctors know it’s best to start treatment that includes posture memory training as soon as possible. It is much more than just “physical therapy” and Chiropractic. It is important to go to your health care provider if you notice signs of scoliosis in your child. Mild curves can develop without you or your child knowing it because they appear gradually and usually don’t cause pain. Occasionally, teachers, friends, and sports teammates are the first to notice a child’s spine curving.
Giving the condition six months to worsen before taking action isn’t logical or wise. Our innovative treatment approach improves:
- Improve curvature flexibility
- Mobilizes the spinal joints
- Retrains the patient’s brain to learn new and better straighter spine position on its own forever.
This scoliosis rehabilitation program can slow or reduce curvature progression. It is effective regardless of the stage of scoliosis, but the sooner your child starts it, the more likely it is that the curve will never reach 50 degrees (spinal fusion surgery recommendation).
Treatment for Early Stage or Mild Scoliosis
Most cases are idiopathic, meaning they have no known cause, but is linked to genetic variant patterns. The progression of the curve is caused by a miscommunication between the brain and the muscles. It appears the brain doesn’t realize that your child’s posture is out of alignment. Thus, it doesn’t know to send the messages telling the muscles to correct the spine curvature. This is not the case in neuromuscular scoliosis, a type of scoliosis that is caused by neuromuscular conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury. However, during puberty, a curvature of the spine usually diagnosed as adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, which is the most common type of scoliosis.
ScoliSMART training focuses on correcting that neuromuscular miscommunication. Our Posture Memory Training creates new muscle memory. This exercise training lowers the chance that the curve will get worse and may reduce the spine curve below the diagnosis of scoliosis, to less than 10 degrees. No treatment or physical therapy can “fix” the condition 100 percent. The intended result is to halt the progression and reduce the curve as much as possible. Bad posture can lead to curve progression, and it is important to maintain good posture and stretching to prevent the condition from worsening.
This type of treatment is becoming common in the United States. Decades worth of published evidence on the role of specific genetic variations point to the onset/progression of idiopathic scoliosis, including congenital scoliosis. This is an exciting new direction for the treatment of scoliosis. It offers the hopes that eventually the condition can be prevented altogether. However, it is important to note that the most common time for idiopathic scoliosis to develop is during adolescence, typically around the age of 10 to 12 years old.
Table of Contents
Understanding the Cause of Scoliosis
There are 28 known genes related to the problem. These genetic problems occur much more frequently in patients compared to the general population. Patients can check their Scoliosis DNA and use nutrient therapies to reduce the impact of these genes. This, in turn, may lead to a reduced risk of curve progression, even in adults with scoliosis. Unfortunately, there is a significant lack of application of this knowledge into clinical practice. Most physicians are not yet taking advantage of this important information.
Improved Scoliosis Diagnosis and Detection
To learn more about how to treat the whole condition and not only the curve, connect with our passionate providers at ScoliSMART. To explore a non-brace/ non-surgical treatment for your child’s condition, you may with a ScoliSMART doctor. Please get in touch with us today!
Signs and Symptoms of Scoliosis
Part of the problem with traditional methodology is the way spinal curves are detected. Most doctors rely on ONLY the Cobb angle, which is a measurement of lateral bending visible on an x-ray. Researchers agree that scoliosis is a three-dimensional spine deformity. But, most still only use this two-dimensional measurement on x-ray called a Cobb angle, which is the most visible signs of scoliosis. A doctor will carry out a physical examination of the spine, ribs, hips, and shoulders to diagnose scoliosis. With the aid of a tool called an inclinometer, or scoliometer, the doctor can measure the degree of scoliosis. An angle greater than 10 degrees on either side of the spine indicates the condition is present.
Doctors need to analyze your child’s posture for:
- a tipped shoulder,
- a high hip,
- a forward head posture,
- a sway back posture or poor alignment from the skull to the pelvis to identify smaller curves.
- A tool called a Scoliometer also helps us detect small curves. Early detection is especially important if it runs in your family.
The earlier we detect it, the sooner we can start treatment and stop curve progression.
Scoliosis-Specific Exercise Programs
Scoliosis Boot Camp is a comprehensive exercise program that treats the whole condition, as well as, the sideways curvature of the spine. A popular treatment options for adolescent scoliosis (the most common type of scoliosis), it combines specialized rehabilitation, targeted supplements, and the patented ScoliSMART Activity Suit. Independently published research shows 93% of patients using this program did not require surgical intervention for severe cases and the majority of patients were able to actually reduces the spinal curvature by an average of 9-15 degrees!
Now it’s even easier to connect with ScoliSMART. Schedule your no-cost, no-obligation phone or Zoom consultation online with a ScoliSMART physician. Visit the ScoliSMART BootCamp page and click the “Schedule Online” button at the top of the page. Then select the best date and time to connect with a physician. Schedule your consultation right here!
Scoliosis Brace Treatment
Frenchman Ambrose Paré created the first metal back brace in 1575. Many others have been created since then, but patients tell us they still look and feel terrible. A back brace usually causes more harm than good. It’s typically prescribed if your child’s curve measures 25-40 degrees, the measurement of moderate curves, which is one the most common type of spinal curves. Bracing squeezes the rib cage and the pelvis for up to 20 hours a day (including soft braces) in an attempt to force the spine to straighten and prevent wedging of the vertebrae. For patients with severe curves, surgery may be recommended to stabilize the curvature of the spine.
In some cases, it appears the brace is helping in follow-up x-rays. But the condition worsens as soon as the brace is taken off. That’s because your child’s muscles are weakened and joints become very stiff when they are not allowed to move. A rib hump, breathing problems and other complications often occur within weeks of using a Boston brace (the most common type of brace). The Milwaukee brace had metal rods!
The low success rates of back braces combined with the physical and psychological damage they cause make us question why anyone would prescribe them until skeletal maturity. Recognizing the traditional bracing treatment model doesn’t work is the first step toward innovative changes.
Scoliosis Fusion Surgery
Spinal fusion also has a long history of problems and failure. The surgical treatment has advanced and yet two-thirds of patients have complications. A spinal curve isn’t life-threatening and people with a curve often live without pain. American Family Physician has stated, “…there is no difference in the prevalence of back pain or mortality between patients with untreated adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and the general population.”
A 2015 study showed back pain in 76% of patients ages 10-17 who underwent spinal deformity correction a minimum of five years prior. Fusion straightens the spine at the cost of mobility. Your teenager may look straighter and taller after surgery, but have pain in the spine and breathing problems that didn’t exist before. Additionally, when two-thirds of the vertebrae are fused, the remaining parts move too much. These areas undergo degeneration much faster and develop issues as your child ages causing back pain. And yet, doctors are eager to recommend fusion for teenagers younger than 14 who are not done growing. In some cases, bone grafts are used during the fusion surgery to help fuse the spine in place, providing stability and support for the straightened spine.
For more information on why long-term spinal surgery risks may outweigh its benefits, read our page on scoliosis surgery.
Choosing the Right Scoliosis Treatment for Your Child
Making the right treatment decisions is difficult. It is especially challenging if you’re not presented with all the options. You deserve to know that it is not just a curvature of the spine. Treatment should focus on the whole condition.
The Society on Scoliosis Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Treatment (SOSORT) says there are many factors more important than correcting a Cobb angle. These factors should be considered before you make treatment decisions:
- Is your child disabled? Can the treatment cause spinal cord injury or disability?
- Does your child suffer from back pain? Can the treatment cause lower back back pain?
- Does your child have a rib hump? Can the bracing treatment cause one or make it worse?
- How is your child’s quality of life now? Will the treatment improve it or worsen it?
- Are your child’s breathing functions good now? Does the treatment pose a threat to breathing functions?
- How is your child’s psychological well-being? How will it be affected by the treatment?
- Does your child face adult curve progression (arthritis and degenerative cases)? How does the treatment address this?
- Will further treatments be required as part of their life?
We can help you learn about your or your child’s treatment options. No matter what you’ve been told, you deserve a second opinion. ScoliSMART doctors are not going to promise a quick fix or magic potion. We will provide you with non-invasive treatment options to improve your or your child’s condition.
What are the benefits of doing yoga for scoliosis?
Yoga can help by strengthening the muscles that support the spine, improving posture and alignment, and increasing flexibility. It can also help reduce pain and discomfort associated with the condition, improve breathing, and promote overall physical and mental well-being.
ScoliSMART Clinics is committed to treating the WHOLE scoliosis condition, not only the curve. Genetic & clinical testing with targeted nutrient therapies, expert in-office treatment programs, and the world’s only ScoliSMART Activity Suit provides patients of all ages with the most comprehensive, most effective, and least invasive treatment options available worldwide.
Find a better way to treat mild scoliosis:
Find a better way to treat moderate and severe scoliosis: