Scoliosis: The Modern Approach
What is Scoliosis?
The effects of scoliosis include: poor posture, shoulder humping, muscle weakness, and pain. In rare cases scoliosis can lead to heart and lung problems. Traditionally, a spinal curve is defined by measuring an angle of spinal curvature on a front-to-back view X-ray. To qualify as a scoliosis the curve must exceed 10 degrees. This simple measurement implies that scoliosis is a problem of the spine in just one view. However, scoliosis is really a complex 3-D change of the spine, ribcage and pelvis. Sometimes scoliosis can be permanent, but in many cases, with the right approach, scoliosis can be improved.
Traditional medical treatment in the U.S. is “watchful waiting” for most curves under 25 degrees. This “do-nothing” approach is frustrating for parents and patients alike who are seeking to be more proactive. This is not the general approach in Europe, for example, where it is commonplace to begin a “physiotherapeutic” program to prevent worsening. Scoliosis Specific Exercise programs have been commonplace throughout Europe for decades.
There are a number of ‘warning signs’ to look for to indicate that perhaps you or someone you know has scoliosis.
Should you notice any one or more of these signs, you should consult a trained Scoliosis Clinician for a full assessment.
Scoliosis Specific Exercises: The scoliosis specific approach used throughout Europe is not to be confused with standard physical therapy as practiced in the U.S. These European therapists are trained in methods specific to scoliosis management. At Modern Chiropractic Center, we have a 15 year history of using rehabilitation methods like those used in Europe, longer than some of those methods have been in existence. In fact, our clinic director Dr. Joe Betz has authored chapters in a textbook on this very topic.
Mechanical Traction: In addition to the specific scoliosis exercises at Modern Chiropractic Center our doctors are trained in advanced principles of applying mechanical traction (stretching machines) to help aid in the improvement of the scoliosis. Dr. Betz has been using these methods for over 15 years on patients with scoliosis from ages 5 to 95.
Boston Brace: The most common “brand” of scoliosis brace prescribed in North America is called the Boston Brace. This brace is fitted to the child’s body and custom molded from plastic. It works by applying three-point pressure (works primarily in one-dimension only) to the curvature to prevent its progression.
Charleston Bending Brace: This brace is different in that it is only worn while sleeping. This brace is molded to the patient while they are bent to the side, and thus applies more pressure and bends the child against the curve. This pressure improves the corrective action of the brace. This type of brace is worn only at night while the child is asleep. Many studies have shown that the Charleston Night time brace is as effective as the above-described 23-hour-a-day brace wear, but only for certain types (locations) of curves.
The Modern “ScoliBrace” The new ScoliBrace is unique and different from the above traditional braces. Unlike the older generations of rigid spinal braces, a ScoliBrace is designed to position the patient in an over-corrected position that is essentially the “mirror-image” of the patient’s original deformity. The outcome is a reduction of the abnormal curvatures in the majority of cases, in addition to decreasing rib humping, shoulder unleveling, and other postural distortions. In most cases the overall posture and appearance of the patient’s body is greatly improved.
The ScoliBrace is patient friendly. It opens and closes at the front making it easy to wear and remove without assistance. This is in contrast to the inconvenience of the Boston Brace which opens in the rear of the brace. The brace is a lower profile that allows freedom of movement and concealment under clothing.
Scoliosis is a 3 dimensional condition. Effective treatments need to be 3 dimensional too. Each ScoliBrace is custom made by using 3D bodyscans in conjunction with X-rays and posture photos. Each brace is then designed using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software and custom made. Modification can be made in-office, allowing the doctor to “personalize” the brace even further for both comfort and effectiveness.
Bracing is most beneficial for curves between 20 and 50 degrees. However, we have experience bracing curves over 70 degrees for those patients who could not or would not have surgery.
The ScoliBrace process:
- 3-D BRACESCAN, POSTURAL PHOTOS and X-RAYS
- CUSTOM CREATION OF YOUR SCOLIBRACE
- BRACE FITTING
- PROGRESS REVIEWS AND FOLLOW-UPS
You can call our office to schedule a free consultation to see if in-office rehabilitation and/or the ScoliBrace may work for you and your specific scoliosis curvature. We even see patients from out of the area by making arrangements for both in office, intensive treatment for a period of 1-4 weeks, sometimes combined with scanning and fitting of the ScoliBrace. Call us today to make arrangements to see if you may qualify as an out-of-town patient. (208) 629-1904