Frequently asked questions

 

+ Do I wear a scoliosis brace with this treatment?

Since we are treating scoliosis before it has had a chance to progress, there is no need for bracing with the Early Stage Scoliosis Intervention program. Also, research has shown that both rigid bracing and soft bracing have been shown to be ineffective in preventing the progression of scoliosis curvature. A study published in the American Journal of Orthopedics found 60% of patients surveyed felt that bracing had handicapped their lives, and 14% felt it left a psychological scar. No wonder, since the typical bracing protocol recommends the patient wear the brace for twenty three hours per day.

+ What are the effects of scoliosis on my body?

Scoliosis is commonly associated with pain, but not always. And even if patients don't suffer from physical pain, heart and lung function is often compromised, and according to the National Scoliosis Foundation, scoliosis has even been associated with reduced life expectancy. Due to the strain on the heart and reduced amount of oxygen, people suffering from scoliosis average a 14-year reduction in their life expectancy. While scoliosis is generally associated with the spine, scoliosis patients can also suffer from headaches, shortness of breath, digestive problems, chronic disease, and hip, knee and leg pain.

+ Will my curve get worse with age or after skeletal maturity?

In the past it was believed that scoliosis did not continue to progress past the age of 18. Unfortunately, newer research has proven this to be untrue. The rate of spinal curve progression will more than likely progress regardless of whether scoliosis developed early in life or in adulthood.

+ What is a scoliosis cobb angle measurement?

The severity of scoliosis is understood by measuring the amount of abnormal curve in the spine. This measurement is referred to as the Cobb Angle Measurement. We find the angle measurement by drawing lines across specific areas of the x-ray and evaluate the curves. First we identify the first and last vertebras associated with the curve. A line is then drawn across the top, or superior, plate of the first vertebra in the curve, and a second line is drawn across the bottom, or inferior, plate of the last vertebra in the curve. Measuring the angle between the two lines gives the reading known as the Cobb Angle Measurement.

+ How many x-rays will I need for this scoliosis treatment?

To evaluate the biomechanical integrity of your spine we take a series of small, specifically targeted x-rays. In total, these smaller x-rays are equivalent in radiation to one full spine x-ray, but we are able to get better, more precise measurements from the smaller series. A full spine x-ray requires a much stronger beam and produces greater tissue damage in comparison to our targeted views. With the information gained from these x-rays we can apply specific corrective adjustments, prescribe exercises, and design rehabilitation and weighting protocols. The end result is a measurable reduction in the severity of your scoliosis.

Commonly, people living with scoliosis dread x-rays. After seeing their condition steadily deteriorate with x-ray each series, combined with the fear of too much radiation, some patients are reluctant to have more x-rays taken. But before you hesitate to undergo alternative scoliosis treatment for this reason, please consider the following facts about scoliosis x-rays.

According to a study published in August of 2000 in the Journal of Radiology, "Patients undergoing scoliosis radiography receive doses that are low in comparison with other types of radiographic examination." A similar study published that same month in Spine found that patients with scoliosis that received fifty or more x-rays from 1912-1965 had a risk of dying from breast cancer that was four times higher than non-x-rayed patients. At that time, there was a need for caution, since standard films were taken at 0.6 cGy (centigray).

Today, films are shot with only 0.02 cGy - thirty times less than in the past. To achieve the same level of exposure, over 1500 x-rays would have to be taken on one patient. Pediatric x-rays are shot at an even lower level of magnitude.

When taking a precision x-ray - that is, one not to rule out fractures or abnormalities, but rather to measure the position of the spinal units - positioning matters more than one might think. Even a slight rotation off from center will skew the results and show an inaccurate image. For this reason, we must be very concerned about how the x-rays were taken.

They must allow an objective outcome assessment. X-rays from other sources oftentimes can be unreliable if they are shot at different angles or focal distances, which prevent comparison between films. For this reason, a special device is used to assure accurate findings. X-rays allow us to measure and quantify the results of treatment, and determine if alterations to existing treatment protocols are necessary.

If you are seeking chiropractic care for your scoliosis, you should insist upon x-rays that are accurate and scientific; follow-up films should be taken every three months, and always in the exact same positioning. For successfully treating scoliosis, x-ray positioning is of paramount importance. Once proper films are taken, the correct treatment protocol can be instituted.

+ What are the effects of scoliosis?

Scoliosis is not always associated with pain, although it commonly may be. Even in people without pain, however, the function of the heart & lungs is compromised. According to the National Scoliosis Foundation, scoliosis is associated with reduced life expectancy.

On the average, people with scoliosis suffer a 14-year reduction in their life expectancy due to the strain upon the heart & the reduced amount of oxygen supplied to the body. Scoliosis is also associated with headaches, shortness of breath, digestive problems, chronic disease, and hip, knee, & leg pain.

+ Can my chiropractor treat my scoliosis?

Your chiropractor can treat your scoliosis with the proper training and equipment. Encourage your D.C. to contact_care@clear-institute.com to obtain information on how to get started.

+ What is a scoliometer?

Scoliometer is a proprietary name for a device used to measure the amount of curvature in a person’s spine.

+ Will my scoliosis get worse as I age?

For a long time, doctors told patients that their scoliosis would not progress after the age of 18; unfortunately, research has proven otherwise. Whether scoliosis develops earlier in life (Type A) or in adulthood (Type B), it will most likely progress; the only question is how fast. Additional studies have shown that as the Cobb angle increases, the amount of chronic pain goes up, and the ranges of motion & the quality of life goes down.

+ Help me understand the mechanics of scoliosis

The body needs curves in order for it to function properly. There should be a natural curve in the neck and other natural curves in the spine itself to allow the body to function properly. If one curve is missing, the body attempts to compensate. This is what is happening in people with scoliosis, the body, the spine specifically, is trying to compensate for a missing curve.

Scoliosis could therefore be described as the body’s natural and innate response to the loss of mechanical function. It is easy to understand the concept of mechanical advantage for yourself. Find a heavy weight, about 10 to 20 pounds, and hold it in your hand.

Most likely, your elbow will come close to your body, and your palm will be up, with your fingers facing away from you. This is very similar to how your spine supports the weight of your head with the curve in your neck. Now try removing the curve from your wrist; rotate it 180 degrees and bend it forwards with the weight still in your hand. Your elbow will swing out to the side to replace the lost stability.

This is very similar to what happens in your spine when the curve in your neck is lost; the body develops scoliosis because a straight spine is extremely unstable. Essentially, scoliosis is a biomechanical reaction to the loss of the curve in the neck, and it develops due to pressure & interference on the nerves responsible for maintaining posture & symmetry during growth.

+ What is meant by Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS)?

AIS is how your child’s scoliosis may be categorized. Idiopathic simply refers to the fact that there is no known cause, such as an injury, that led to the curvature in your child’s spine. Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis, therefore, is just another way of saying that the scoliosis first occurred at or near puberty, for no apparent reason.

+ When should I start treatment for my scoliosis?

It is possible that you have been told that until the curves reach 20-25 degrees there is nothing you can do, except watch and wait (and, no doubt, worry). At 25 degrees, some form of bracing is typically recommended. If you have, or are nearing, a 40-50 degree curve, it is likely that surgery has been discussed with you and/or recommend.

At CLEAR™ Institute, you can start addressing your scoliosis at any time, with any degree of curvature. It is never too late to start—and it is never too early. You can be proactive; you have options despite what you have been told. CLEAR™ Institute’s trained practitioners think outside the box.

We take pride in challenging the protocol because we treat the condition of scoliosis fully, and achieve outstanding results from our innovative, non-invasive approach to reversing and correcting scoliosis. It’s never too late—and it’s never too early.

+ Why should I seek treatment for my scoliosis from a chiropractor certified by CLEAR Institute? What do they know about scoliosis that my regular D.C. doesn’t?

Typical chiropractic adjustments have been proven to be ineffective and sometimes even harmful to the scoliotic patient, due to the mobilization of fixated vertebrae by the adjustment. While this may cause pain relief in the short term, the long term result often is increased progression of the Cobb angle.

CLEAR™ practitioners are not focused on relieving pain, although this is certainly the end result. Chiropractors specifically trained by CLEAR™ Institute are committed to achieving structural changes to the spine that will allow the body to de-rotate and to correct itself, and they use specific, reproducible precision x-rays that are analyzed according to exact guidelines to measure and quantify the change.

+ My Cobb’s angle is over 30 degrees. Can you help me?

Yes. CLEAR™ Institute trained practitioners have had very good success in treating scoliosis in patients with Cobb’s angles over 30 degrees.

+ How much will the scoliosis treatment cost?

A visit to a typical chiropractor might last ten minutes, and range between $35 and $50. CLEAR™ practitioners provide treatment & therapy that is significantly more time-intensive; one visit could be an hour, or longer. Additionally, a great deal of time ∓ attention is devoted to your case, even when you are not in the clinic, to ensure that we can deliver on our promises. For this reason, our fees are higher – it may range from anywhere from $100 to $200 per visit, not including exams & x-rays.

Each clinic is responsible for setting their own prices & fees, so the cost of treatment may vary from clinic to clinic; contact the clinic that you are interested in receiving treatment at directly for more details. There are lots of places to save money; healthcare should not be one of them.

+ Why do you recommend avoiding the Harrington rod implanation surgery for scoliosis?

Surgery will not correct the posterior rib arch; additionally, it has been shown that the function of the heart and lungs is unchanged after the procedure. Furthermore, the long-term effects of this procedure can actually be worse than the effects of living with an untreated scoliosis. Motion is essential for proper functioning of the spine, and surgery reduces spinal ranges of motion, even in un-fused areas. Medical science views the spine as a bridge, connecting the head and the pelvis.

If a bridge begins to collapse, the best thing to do is go in and start fusing the components together. However, chiropractors see the spine as an engine, which must move freely to achieve optimum function. If the engine in your car starts to run funny, and you have a mechanic fuse some of the cylinders together, this might not solve the problem! Many healthcare professionals are not aware of the scientific literature that details the negative side effects of the procedure.

Also, very little follow-up with the patient is performed after the operation. Many surgeons believe that the surgeries they perform are beneficial to the patient because no one has returned to their office after the operation to inform them otherwise. Doctors are desperate to meet their patients’ demands for treatment of their scoliosis, but have no options besides prescribing bracing (which, at best, only slows or stops progression, and at worst, actually worsens the scoliosis by weakening the postural muscles), or performing the surgery. It is important to mention at this point that CLEAR™ Institute is not attempting to disparage the efforts of the medical profession in regards to scoliosis treatment.

There are thousands of excellent surgeons who are seeking only to help people with scoliosis, and several orthopedic surgeons and medical physicians have been incredibly supportive of CLEAR’sTM method of non-surgical scoliosis correction. It is our sincere belief that eradicating scoliosis from planet will require the combined efforts of every member of the healthcare profession. As doctors, it is our responsibility to work together for the benefit of our patients.

+ I have been told I have “idiopathic scoliosis,” meaning the cause is unknown. Is it true that I inherited this condition from my mother?

You may have heard that researchers at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children recently discovered a gene associated with scoliosis. However, there are several flaws with the “gene theory” of disease. For instance, it has been universally recognized in recent years that attempting to attribute a genetic basis to any disease is an exercise in futility.

While there may be such a thing as a genetic predisposition, the presence of a genetic marker for a specific disease is in no way a guarantee that the carrier will ever express that particular gene. An article featured in the July 2005 issue of Scientific American, entitled, "Identical Twins Exhibit Differences in Gene Expression," is an appropriate confirmation of this concept.

Even amongst identical twins, gene expression differs over one-third of the time! CLEAR™ Institute teaches that scoliosis is the body’s natural and innate response to the loss of mechanical function provided by the normal curves of the spine. When these curves disappear, the body re-inserts them in another dimension.

If there is a cause of scoliosis, then it can only be described as the laws of physics! It is easy to understand this concept of mechanical advantage for yourself. Find a heavy weight, about 10 to 20 pounds, and hold it in your hand for a while. If you have to support this weight for a long time, there is a natural position that the body will assume: your elbow will come close to your body, and your palm will be up, with your fingers facing towards you. This is very similar to how your spine supports the weight of your head with the curve in your neck. When you bend your hand forward & remove that curve from your wrist, your elbow will swing out to the side to replace the lost stability.

This is very similar to what happens in your spine when the curve in your neck is lost; the body develops scoliosis because a straight spine is extremely unstable. Essentially, scoliosis is a biomechanical reaction to forward head posture & the loss of the curve in the neck, and develops due to pressure & interference on the nerves responsible for maintaining posture & symmetry during growth, which are concentrated in the neck. In conclusion, perhaps some people are more likely to develop scoliosis than others, but there is a still a reason why one person will and another will not.

With scoliosis, just like with everything else, your environment determines which genes will become expressed and which will remain dormant. With the stability provided by the natural curves of the spine, there is no need for the body to develop & maintain a scoliosis.

+ What is a Cobb Angle Measurement for scoliosis?

The severity of scoliosis is understood by measuring the degree of curvature of the spine. The technique used to capture this measurement is referred to as the Cobb Angle Measurement. The measurement is achieved when lines are drawn across specific areas of the x-ray to evaluate the curves in the spine. On the x-ray, the first and last vertebra involved in the curve are identified. Then, a line is drawn across the top (superior) plate of the first vertebra involved in the curve and a second line is drawn across the bottom (inferior) plate of the last vertebra in the curve.

The angle between the two lines is measured, and it is this reading that is referred to as the Cobb Angle Measurement. While the Cobb angle is a standard and useful assessment tool for scoliosis, it does not evaluate every aspect of the spine’s condition. Rotation of the spine and spinal balance are not addressed with Cobb Angle Measurements, and therefore, the degree of spinal deformity may not be entirely appreciated with this measurement alone.

Practitioners from CLEAR™ Institute are trained to comprehensively address the scoliosis condition by measuring and assessing your condition fully, taking these and other elements into consideration before any treatment begins.

(In order to maintain an accurate reading from one x-ray to the next, or from one doctor the next, it is important to consistently measure from the same points. Differing line placement can affect the measurement of the scoliosis, creating a false reading.)

+ There’s a lot of controversy about whether or not bracing works. What is your opinion about treating scoliosis with a brace?

The controversy over the effectiveness of bracing is somewhat misleading. You will never find any doctor in the world claiming that bracing will reduce or correct scoliosis; rather, the debate is over whether or not wearing a brace will prevent the scoliosis from getting worse. When doctors state that bracing “works,” what they’re really saying is that it stabilizes the scoliosis, keeping it at its current position. Most doctors will insist that bracing does “work” – with proper compliance. Recommended compliance is twenty-three hours per day, every day.

If this seems a little extreme to you, you’re not alone. This applies to all types of external scoliosis braces including both the Spine Cor and Boston brace. In a study published in the American Journal of Orthopedics, 60% of the patients surveyed felt that bracing had handicapped their life, and 14% felt it had left a psychological scar 1.

The Children’s Research Center in Dublin, Ireland, has not recommended bracing as a treatment for scoliosis since 1991, stating, “If bracing does not reduce the proportion of children with AIS [adolescent idiopathic scoliosis] who require surgery for cosmetic improvement of their deformity, it cannot be said to provide a meaningful advantage to the patient or the community.”

1 CLEAR™ Institute does not recommend using any type of brace in our treatment protocols.

+ Why will my insurance company pay for scoliosis surgery, but not alternative methods of scoliosis treatment such as chiropractic?

The answer is deceptively simple, and unfortunately based upon the laws of economics, rather than what is best for the patient.

Each clinic is responsible for setting their own policies in regards to insurance billing. Many clinics do have success in obtaining insurance reimbursement for patients who are undergoing treatment for their scoliosis; contact the clinic that you are interested in receiving treatment at directly for more details.

+ Can you help people with severe scoliosis?

We have achieved reductions even in Cobb angles over 100 degrees. However, reversing the course of any disease in its advanced stages is always more difficult, and scoliosis is no exception. Stabilizing & correcting a 20 degree Cobb angle might take a month or two; correcting a 40 degree Cobb angle completely could take a year, or longer. As the Cobb angle increases, the time & effort required increases exponentially.

+ Will Scoliosis treatment improve my balance?

Yes. Correcting scoliosis begins with correcting the cervical (neck) part of the spine, specifically, by restoring the normal curvature of the neck. In most cases of scoliosis, there is loss of curve or reverse curve in the neck. When normal curvature and structure are restored in this area of the spine, the brain is able to communicate more effectively to the rest of the body. As a result, balance and coordination are also improved.

+ How long will I require scoliosis treatment?

Treatment duration will depend on the location and severity of the Scoliosis.

+ Am I too old to obtain scoliosis treatment?

One patient, Marvin, was 82 years young when he received treatment.

+ Define scoliosis. What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine that often causes the spine to look like the letter “S” or the letter “C”. These abnormal curves in the spine affect the middle of the back (the thoracic region), and the lower back (the lumbar region). The neck is also likely to lack its natural curve, affecting the balance and posture of the entire body.

It is also possible for the scoliosis curves to affect the body in other ways. For example, the spine may develop a “third” curve, often referred to as a compensatory curve. This is actually the spine’s way of helping the body counteract the “S” or “C” curves as it attempts to keep the body balanced.

The spine may also rotate or twist inwardly on itself, in a spiral-like manner, compressing the vertebrae together over time. Even the mildest case of scoliosis can affect a person’s overall health, self-esteem, and confidence. Issues with muscle control and strength, pain and discomfort, posture, flexibility, and appearance affect the emotional health of individuals with scoliosis, reducing their quality of life.