SpineCor’s Dynamic Brace Approach For The Reduction Of Scoliosis Curves Was Developed By Two Canadian Orthopedic Surgeons To Solve The Problems Created By Hard (Static) Bracing
SpineCor was initially developed more than 20 years ago by a team lead by two orthopedic surgeons at St. Justine’s Hospital in Montreal Canada after they were given a 12 million dollar grant to research to find a better way to treat scoliosis by the government of Quebec. What they developed was a revolutionary way of treating scoliosis with movement instead of holding the spine in a static position with a hard brace.
Since then the SpineCor brace has proven to be effective in reducing scoliosis curves and is one of the most researched types of scoliosis braces in the world.
This team of doctors was unhappy with the state of traditional scoliosis treatment that used hard bracing to treat curves that progress into the moderate range. The problem with hard bracing (also known as static bracing) is that they immobilize the spine, much like a body cast. This extreme limitation of movement of the spine tends to cause muscle atrophy, weaken bone and increased stiffness in the surrounding musculature. So while a patient’s spine is being propped up by the static brace the curves may reduce some because they are being held in a straighter position while being held in the static brace.
However, when a static brace is taken away at the end of skeletal growth, the structural support it gave to the spine goes with it. Also, since the supporting muscles of the spine which have been weakened by not being able to move while being held in the brace allow, the spine is now supported even less than before, so it tends to collapse back into its curves since there are no longer any forces to resist against gravity.
As a result, the scoliosis curves tend to return back to their original pre-brace degrees! In some cases, scoliosis curves can get even worse than they were before the hard brace treatment began. This aggravation of scoliosis can occur if the immobilization increases the right to left imbalances in the supporting muscles.
They felt that there had to be a better way.
A Dynamic Approach To Scoliosis Treatment Was Needed
What the doctors discovered in their research was dynamic forces placed on the spine had a much better corrective effect on vertebra than static forces like a hard brace. In sharp contrast to the problems of weakness caused by a hard brace they found that correctly directed dynamic forces allowed for strengthening of the specifically weakened muscles of the spine, which could help restore a better balance to the spine and reduce scoliosis curvatures.
From this understanding, they developed a revolutionary dynamic tension orthosis called SpineCor. Dynamic means that it moves with the body as opposed to the restricting of movement. In fact, SpineCor is so flexible you can even dance in it!
Because SpineCor is flexible, it moves with the body, but it also helps re-direct the body’s movement patterns using repetitive elastic forces that over time gradually create corrective muscle memory in the torso and spine that result in a better and long lasting correction to the spine. A dynamic brace that stimulates strength of weakened muscles supporting the spine and helps reduce curves was a considerable advancement in brace technology over ones that worsened muscle weakness during its use.
The SpineCor brace was the first and only truly dynamic scoliosis brace built on contemporary concepts in scoliosis care, as such, it was a complete departure from the antiquated concepts of hard bracing and design.
Hard Braces Built On Outdated Understanding Of Scoliosis
The static (or hard) scoliosis brace concept is the spine needs to be held in place to keep the scoliosis curvatures from progressing further, is almost an identical idea of using a cast to treat a fractured bone. Both treatments have been used for centuries to immobilize bones to allow them to heal straight.
The use of hard braces dates back to the time of the Ancient Egyptians. At that time scoliosis was considered to be due to a fracture of the backbone, so it’s no wonder why it has been treated the same way ever since then. The problem with treating them the same way is that the spine is a far more complex in its structure and function than a femur bone.
SpineCor – Providing Corrective Movement Therapy For Scoliosis In Three Dimensions
Although the spine may have seemed like one solid bone to the ancient Egyptians, in reality, this seemingly singular “backbone” is s comprised of 33 individual bones that stack one on top of the other in such a way that they form two forward curves (the upper one in the neck the lower one in the lower back as well as a middle that goes backwards) Despite these three curves in the back and neck the head still ends up being positioned evenly over the pelvis and centered at the mid-line in the standing and sitting positions. This stack of bones is just one of the many components of the spine and one of its many functions of balancing of the head centrally over the torso and lower limbs in three planes: 1. Saggital, 2. Coronal and 3. Transverse
While it provides a solid protective covering for the delicate nerve tissues of the spinal cord and nerve roots that run within the bones, there is a fantastic number of moving parts within its structure. The spine is also the central axis of movement of the human body and the central element of the skeletal system.
While its there are three developmental curves when viewed from the side, it’s intended to be almost entirely straight and centered in the middle when viewed from the front. This contrast in structure helps facilitate the highly complex, yet seemingly simple balancing act of our daily upright posture. SpineCor was designed to assist the brain in instructing the postural muscles supporting the spine to move it back towards its midline.
The SpineCor Difference
The concepts that these two brace types were born could not have been any more different. In fact, in my opinion, SpineCor is so different it probably shouldn’t have been called a brace at all.
SpineCor’s technical description is a A Dynamic Elastic Tension Orthosis is quite descriptive of how this rehabilitative garment works. Its flexibility allows the spine to move in all directions but uses elasticity tension in bands of the brace that are aligned in such a way as to guide the movement of the torso into the direction(s) that are corrective for the curve. This helps stabilize the spine by building up of the strength of the supporting muscles surrounding the spine that had weakened as a result of the imbalances of scoliosis, to help reduce curves, move the body back towards its midline, relieve pain so you can avoid scoliosis surgery.
The reality is that SpineCor is more accurately described as the “un-brace” because it not only allows movement but it harnesses the power of the elastic tension created by the orientation its corrective bands that provide repetitive movements in the stabilizing muscles surrounding the spine.
These major differences between SpineCor and almost all other previous scoliosis brace designs weren’t lost on its inventors. After they complete the initial SpineCor design, they did consider calling it something other than a “brace.”
The reason they chose to stick with the original designation as a brace was that to determine a rate for reimbursement insurance carriers needed it to fall within one of their existing categories. Otherwise, it would likely be rejected for payment because adjusters couldn’t determine what it was. Hence, it became known simply as the SpineCor brace.
Comparing Static vs Dynamic Scoliosis Braces
Unlike these other braces, the SpineCor brace was designed to move with the body, assisting it to move into the direction of correction while it is worn to allow the body to establish new patterns of movement that can reduce scoliosis curvatures. It is the only scoliosis brace that has been clinically proven to be able to reduce scoliosis curvatures and maintain the correction permanently.
In contrast, hard braces are only designed to stop further progression, not correct your curves.
From the patient’s perspective, the SpineCor brace is much easier to wear than a hard brace. It can be easily hidden underneath the clothes so no one even knows you are wearing it. In fact, many patients say that it is so easy to wear that eventually after they get used to wearing it they often forget that they have it on.
In contrast, a hard brace is next to impossible to hide, which can have a tremendous negative impact on the self-esteem of adolescents in their formative years of identity development.
Adolescent Use of SpineCorAdult Scoliosis Treatment With SpineCor
After the initial success of treating adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, the initial SpineCor brace design was later modified for adult use.
Adult patients will generally wear the SpineCor brace only during their waking hours for somewhere between 8 – 16 hours per day. The total length of care for adults and adolescents is the same. Both groups will need to wear the brace continuously for 18 months to 2 years to allow for the new movement patterns of the body to be fully integrated into their nervous systems.
After that, once the spine appears to have stabilized after the maximum sustainable correction has been achieved then the doctor will usually begin to wean the patient out of the brace. During this time the patient will wear the brace part-time. The doctor will then check to ensure that the spine remains stable. If so, the patient can discontinue the use of the SpineCor brace at that time.
Provider Experience Is Critical For Success With SpineCor As There Is A Unique Set-Up for Each Individual’s Particular Curve Pattern
The SpineCor brace is not an “off-the-shelf” type of brace that can be dispensed by anyone. Rather each brace is custom fitted to match the particular patient and their specific scoliosis pattern. Since the experience of the provider is a critical factor in the success of the SpineCor brace, so you want to be sure to find a provider who not only has a great deal of experience in fitting the brace initially but also managing those cases from start to finish.
Unfortunately, many providers, physicians and orthotists alike only fit on average 3-4 SpineCor braces each year. Additionally, many orthotists do not follow your case. In most cases, they leave it up to the orthopedist to do so. The problem with that is most orthopedists are not trained in managing a SpineCor brace and don’t know how it needs to be periodically adjusted as scoliosis improves or evaluate the elasticity of the bands to see if they have been diminished and when they need to be replaced.
Our doctors specialize in treating scoliosis with the SpineCor brace they will see each patient fitted for SpineCor on regular follow up schedule of once every three months to ensure the patient is improving as expected and to adjust the bands of the brace as needed.
Why is There Resistance To SpineCor By Some Medical Providers?
The most likely reason that some doctors are resistant to SpineCor is due to the fact that it is such a departure from the hard brace model that it’s just not well understood. Their lack of understanding about the fundamental nature of SpineCor being more of a rehab garment than a plastic exoskeletal causing them to wonder how a brace made of elastic bands can actually help correct scoliosis.
The Orthopedic paradigm for treating scoliosis is to use metal hardware to stabilize the spine, so from their perspective, nothing short of that type of fixation hardware will work to stabilize the spine. That’s why hard bracing is still so appealing to the orthopedic community. A hard brace provides the same sort of stabilization as their surgical techniques but instead of the hardware being internal, it’s external in the form of a hard plastic shell.
SpineCor, on the other hand, is made of cloth and elastic bands rather than a hard plastic shell. It’s more of rehabilitation garment that a patient wears that stimulates the activation of dormant postural muscles to reduce curves and stabilize the spine by encouraging movement. In fact, instead of causing the body to become dependent on it for support like a static brace, SpineCor actually helps the body strengthen the weakened muscles in the torso so the body can better support itself. It actually helps correct curves, unlike a hard brace which is only designed to stop scoliosis progression.
Who Developed SpineCor?
The SpineCor brace is not some fly-by-night invention created by some guy in his garage. The SpineCor brace was developed at a research hospital by a team of doctors, physical therapists, researchers and engineers who were lead by two prominent Orthopedic surgeons in Canada. Since it’s creation it has been extensively studied for over 20 years. In fact, at the Research Center affiliated with St. Justine Children’s Hospital in Montreal Canada alone, as of 2012 over 1000 patients have been part of the long-term studies of the effectiveness of the dynamic SpineCor scoliosis brace.
Research Studies for SpineCor Treatment With Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis
One study was done that examined the outcome of SpineCor treatment compared to the natural progression of scoliosis. Watch the video below to find out what the research showed.
Some other compelling studies on the effectiveness of SpineCor was published in June 2007 in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics. This study examined the effectiveness of the SpineCor brace in treating scoliosis and found that it was effective in over 75% of cases.
Another study compared the results of this study and other studies done on other scoliosis braces using the new Scoliosis Research Society’s criteria and it found the SpineCor brace was 4 times more effective when compared to the TSLO and Boston brace.
Click Here for more information on the research behind SpineCor.
Research Studies on SpineCor Treatment for Adult Scoliosis
While there are currently no published long-term randomized clinical trials on the effectiveness of the SpineCor brace in adult scoliosis there are many clinical outcome studies done by practitioners in the field that show SpineCor is equally effective for the treatment of scoliosis in adults.
One of the first of these clinical outcome studies was done by Dr. Marc Lamantia and Gary Deutchman of Scoliosis Systems published in Scoliosis and Spinal Disorders in 2004. The results of this study demonstrated that Spinecor bracing for adult scoliosis showed a reduction in scoliosis curvatures in all types of scoliosis regardless of the location or age of the curve.
While the treatment goals are often different for adults patients with scoliosis (ie: pain reduction, improvement in the quality of life and function of the body vs reduction of the scoliosis curvature to avoid the need for surgery) adult patients often do have some reduction of their curvatures as well.
Click Here to read more about studies done on the effectiveness of the SpineCor brace for adult scoliosis.
What Patients have say about their experience with SpineCor
Click Here to listen to what other patients have to say about their experience with SpineCor.
Summary of SpineCor Review
The dynamic SpineCor brace is an effective tool for scoliosis treatment for both adolescents and adults. It can help stop or reduce scoliosis curve progression to avoid the need for surgery. It has also been shown to be useful for pain relief, improving the quality of living and restoration of function in adults. The effectiveness of this advanced rehabilitative device has been demonstrated extensively in the research literature. The benefits of SpineCor have been found to be further enhanced when used in conjunction with scoliosis specific exercises like the Schroth Method as part of a comprehensive scoliosis treatment program.