Scoliosis Treatment: New and better options for kids and adults!


Dr. Clayton J. Stitzel


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 scoliosis curve or the underlying cause of the condition. Posture memory improvementgenetic testing for scoliosis, and the ScoliSMART Activity Suit are more modern scoliosis solutions that provide long-term results.

Early Intervention and Scoliosis-Specific Rehabilitation Key for Best Outcomes

Why are bracing, surgery, and observational approaches most recommended?

Doctors commonly opt to only observe children with early stage idiopathic scoliosis. 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 scoliosis 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. Get free recommendations on scoliosis bracing prevention sent to your email. 

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 recommendation).

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“Early stage scoliosis intervention is a patient’s best opportunity to stay ahead of the spinal curvature.”

– Clayton J. Stitzel DC

Improve Scoliosis Detection

Part of the problem with traditional scoliosis methodology is the way scoliosis is 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 use this two-dimensional measurement on x-ray called a Cobb angle. 

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 scoliosis runs in your family.

The earlier we detect scoliosis, the sooner we can start Early Stage Scoliosis Intervention treatment and stop scoliosis progression.

Treatment for Early Stage or Mild Scoliosis

Most cases of scoliosis are idiopathic (a type of scoliosis), meaning they have no known cause. The progression of scoliosis 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. 

ScoliSMART training focuses on correcting that neuromuscular miscommunication. Our Posture Memory Training creates new muscle memory. This exercise training lowers the chance that scoliosis 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. 

Genetic testing for scoliosis 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. This is an exciting new direction for the treatment of scoliosis. It offers the hopes that eventually scoliosis can be prevented altogether. 

There are known scoliosis genes that affect hormonesbone density, and neurotransmitters. These changes all occur much more frequently in patients with scoliosis 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 scoliosis progression, even in adults with scoliosis. Unfortunately, there is a significant lack of application of this knowledge into clinical practice. Most scoliosis physicians are not yet taking advantage of this important information.

To learn more about how to treat the whole scoliosis 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 scoliosis problem, you may schedule a no-cost Zoom or phone consultation with a ScoliSMART doctor. Please get in touch with us today!

How Nutritional Support Boosts Treatment

Genetic testing may help us identify the most probable underlying causes of idiopathic scoliosis and its development. Clinical testing may reveal how much the patient’s underlying problems are affecting them and causing symptoms of scoliosis. The unique information provided by nutrient therapies may be used to change the idiopathic scoliosis natural course. Scoliosis-specific supplements, rebalance, or replace neurotransmitters, hormones, and other activator chemicals in scoliosis. Patients who are genetically unable to manufacture adequate quantities often suffer from it. Prerequisite molecules, such as amino acids, enzyme activators, or metabolic end products, are frequently used in nutrient therapies.

These cannot be produced by the majority of scoliosis patients. Lifestyle changes, such as eliminating dietary gluten or dairy products, may sometimes be advocated to aid and support the nutrient therapies. For adolescent and adult patients, genetic guided clinical testing and non-drug nutritional therapies are a novel and cutting-edge therapy. Both should consider including it as part of their complete treatment plan. The initial effort to treat the entire scoliosis condition, rather than just the spinal curvature, is this novel strategy, which was created to address the fundamental metabolic factors linked with idiopathic scoliosis.

Scoliosis Brace Treatment

Frenchman Ambrose Paré created the first metal scoliosis back brace in 1575. Many others have been created since then, but scoliosis patients tell us they still look and feel terrible. A scoliosis brace usually causes more harm than good. It’s typically prescribed if your child’s curve measures 25-40 degrees, the measurement of moderate scoliosis. This bracing treatment 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. 

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 low success rates of scoliosis 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. Your child can beat scoliosis, even if his or her curve is 25 degrees or more.

Scoliosis Fusion Surgery

Spinal fusion for scoliosis also has a long history of problems and failure. The surgical treatment has advanced and yet two-thirds of patients have complications. A scoliosis curve isn’t life-threatening and people with a curve often live without painAmerican 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.” 

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.

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 scoliosis is not just a curvature of the spine. Treatment should focus on the whole scoliosis 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 scoliosis progression (arthritis and degenerative scoliosis)? How does the treatment address this?
  • Will further treatments be required as part of their life with adult scoliosis?

We can help you learn about scoliosis and your 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 idiopathic scoliosis condition.

Online consultation scheduling is available!

Don’t know where to start?  Take our FREE “ScoliQuiz.”  (No x-ray required)

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.