Your child has recently been diagnosed with scoliosis. Now what? Often times Orthopedists don’t take the time to sufficiently explain potential risks, complications of scoliosis or the benefits of all types of treatment. So you may you find yourself trying to learn as much as you can about the condition on the internet in order to make intelligent choices.
A recent article in US News & World Report entitled “My Child Has Scoliosis. Now What?” advises not to panic but instead get informed.
Here are the 3 most common recommendations made by conventional medicine to treat your child’s scoliosis.
Since most parents find these options too limited I’ve also included information on alternative treatments that you may wish to consider for your child’s scoliosis:
- Watch & WaitIn the early stages the curvature is often considered a Mild Scoliosis (10° – 24°) doctors will simply choose to provide no treatment at all to your child. In many cases, mild scoliosis may not worsen so doctors often advise doing nothing to treat your child’s scoliosis and instead take a wait and see attitude. While that might be good advice if your child’s curve doesn’t progress in that time frame between X-ray evaluations, there are risks to that strategy that you should consider. First is if your child is in the midst of a growth spurt that is when they are at the greatest risk for progression of their scoliosis. The larger the curve gets the more challenging it becomes to correct, so waiting to start treatment can make it more difficult to improve later down the line.
Alternative Treatments in Early Stages – The Schroth Method of Scoliosis Specific Exercise
- Hard Bracing– The “Standard of Care” in Moderate Scoliosis (25° – 39°) treatment remains hard bracing but many question the efficacy of it because it tends to immobilize the spine, much like a body-cast. Immobilization of the spine can cause muscle atrophy in much the same way a cast on your arm causes the muscles to weaken. While you can get some reduction in scoliosis while your child is being held in the brace, once the brace is removed the spine often goes right back to the starting curvature or gets even worse since the muscles have been weakened. Also, hard braces are only designed to stop the progression of scoliosis and not improve it.
Alternatives to Hard Bracing – SpineCor Dynamic Tension Orthosis
- Scoliosis Surgery – Scoliosis surgery is usually not considered until a curve is considered as a Severe Scoliosis (40° or greater) While in most cases scoliosis surgery should only be considered as a last resort, in the US there appears to be an increase in the number of scoliosis cases going to surgery. The primary reason for this phenomenon appears to be due to the stopping of standardized scoliosis screenings in elementary and middle schools. Since children are no longer being routinely evaluated for scoliosis in school, their curves often go unnoticed until they are much larger and more difficult to correct.
Alternatives To Scoliosis Surgery – Combination Therapy Research has shown that Combination Therapy that includes the use of scoliosis specific exercise, like the Schroth Method combined with the use of a dynamic orthosis, like SpineCor, has the greatest success rate in stopping progression of curves.
When a scoliosis is still mild it is also when it is most correctable so interventions like scoliosis specific exercise that can help reverse the postural distortions of scoliosis can be quite beneficial at not only stopping progression of scoliosis but it can also help reduce the curves.
Because the elastic bands components of the orthosis allow the body to move while it is worn the problem of muscle atrophy is eliminated.