Scoliosis: Treatment Options That Are Better (& More Effective!) Than Bracing or Surgery
What Is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is an abnormal, lateral (side-to-side) curvature of the spine. It leads to muscle fatigue and intense pain in sufferers. At its worst, it can even interfere with breathing and lead to spinal arthritis, or spondylosis. Treatment for scoliosis can vary, but commonly, body braces and surgical procedures are explored. Many people would prefer other options, but aren’t aware that they exist.
A Note on Diagnosis
Most cases of scoliosis are idiopathic. That means an unknown cause. It isn’t necessarily posture, or carrying things wrong, or malnutrition. It just is. It can occur at almost any age and progresses differently from case to case. Most women experience a greater progression of spinal curvature, and more women than men have surgical procedures done to correct it. While surgery and bracing are common, alternatives do exist that are lower risk and have been proven to mitigate scoliosis symptoms. Exploring these options is the right of any patient.
Why Avoid Bracing and Surgery?
They aren’t a cure-all, they’re a stopgap. Bracing has even made things worse for scoliosis patients, increasing their curvature. Surgery is never without complications, and surgical correction of a Cobb’s angle is often temporary, as the spine will continue to curve at a pre-surgery rate. There are hundreds of accounts of paralysis and neurological damage from risky scoliosis surgery, as well. All that risk, all that pain and recuperation, for something that won’t last, or could make things worse. Scoliosis patients have every right and reason to look at all of their choices.
Harrington Rod Surgery, for instance, involves attaching a rod to the spine, and including a ratcheting mechanism. Hooks must be physically set in the vertebrae, which is a delicate operation. It is one of the most popular surgeries for scoliosis correction, and has any number of drawbacks, including:
- A high risk of complications.
- A long recovery time.
- The need to continue wearing a brace after surgery.
- The possibility that the hooks will not fuse to the spine.
- Most importantly, it doesn’t allow for the restoration of the normal spinal contour, particularly when viewed from the side.
Changing a few things about your lifestyle, especially early in the stages of scoliosis, can help reduce the progression of the disease. Physical therapy can’t cure scoliosis, but regular exercise, stretching, and physical activity, if carefully selected and monitored, can improve overall health, reduce scoliosis-related pain, and contribute to well-being.
Manipulation of the vertebra can affect the curvature of the spine. Along with chiropractic adjustments, there are exercises and treatments, many associated with the cervical spine and position of the head that hold real promise of reduction in curvature of the spine. These treatments take a “head guides the body” approach to scoliosis, and utilize careful diagnosis, corrective use of weights and exercises, and objective X-Raying to determine the effectiveness of treatment. These treatments for scoliosis make a strong argument that surgery should be the last resort.
The Ascent Chiropractic Advantage
At Ascent Chiropractic, we utilize a low-force, non-invasive, conservative approach to treatment of scoliosis for our patients in Brookfield, Wauwatosa, New Berlin & surrounding areas. To make an appointment at Ascent Chiropractic, call 262-345-4166 or schedule an appointment with our online scheduling app.
My step son has special needs, along with his scoliosis. He wore a back brace for years, which is a challenge for anyone, let alone a teen with behavior and attention issues.
His doctor has raised the possibility of surgery, which sounds even more awful after reading your article.
Physical therapy seems best.