As an incurable and progressive condition, there is no ‘fixing’ scoliosis. Once a person is diagnosed, it’s a condition they will have for the duration of their lives; however, that doesn’t mean it can’t be managed and treated proactively, or that those patients’ lives will be lacking in some way.
As a progressive condition, scoliosis will worsen over time; however, through active treatment, it can be managed effectively. While a general chiropractor can help with pain relief, a scoliosis-specific chiropractor has the experience and training to impact the condition on a structural level.
Scoliosis is a complex condition that necessitates an integrative treatment approach. Before we move on to discussing the merits of scoliosis-specific chiropractic, as well as my training and certifications, let’s first explore some of the condition’s defining characteristics.
You might be wondering why scoliosis is so often described as a ‘complex condition’, and there are several reasons for this.
Although scoliosis has been around for hundreds of years, we still don’t fully understand the etiology of the condition’s most common form: adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) diagnosed between the ages of 10 and 18.
AIS cases account for 80 percent of known cases, with the remaining 20 percent including forms with known causes such as congenital, neuromuscular, degenerative, and traumatic.
The ‘idiopathic’ classification means there is no single known cause; instead, AIS is described as ‘multifactorial’, meaning caused by several factors, or the way those factors interact, and this can vary from one person to the next.
This means that the condition’s most common form, by a large margin, is not fully understood, but again, that doesn’t mean we can’t treat it and manage it effectively.
With proactive and effective scoliosis treatment, it’s possible to work towards stabilizing and supporting the spine, achieving a curvature reduction, and restoring the spine’s biomechanics.
As the condition is progressive, treatment efforts have to be made to stay ahead of a patient’s progressive line, which can be complicated as there is no full-proof way to determine just how fast, or slow, a patient’s condition is going to progress.
This is also why scoliosis can’t be ‘fixed’ in the curative sense, but rather ‘managed’ to control progression and achieve a curvature reduction, which would lessen/eliminate additional scoliosis-related symptoms.
Even after a curvature reduction has been reached and related symptoms have been addressed, work will still have to be done to sustain those results, and we work closely with our patients to ensure they are empowered with all the information, skills, and resources they need to live as scoliosis-friendly a lifestyle as possible.
Another reason scoliosis is considered complex is because it can vary so much from one person to the next. A big determining factor in this is the patient’s Cobb angle.
Perhaps the most important piece of information that accompanies a scoliosis diagnosis is the patient’s Cobb angle. This is because it classifies a patient’s scoliosis on the condition’s severity-level spectrum and is one of the factors that determines whether or not a person has true structural scoliosis.
Via X-ray, a patient’s Cobb angle is a measurement taken from the most-tilted vertebrae of the spine’s abnormal curvature; this tells us how far out of a natural and healthy alignment the scoliotic spine is.
Also, in order for a patient to be diagnosed with scoliosis, the abnormal sideways curvature of the spine has to have a Cobb angle measurement of 10+ degrees, that includes rotation.
The higher the Cobb angle, the more severe the condition:
Once I have the results of a patient’s scoliosis X-ray, including Cobb angle, I know everything I need about the patient’s condition in order to design a comprehensive and customized treatment plan moving forward.
Now that we have explored some of the defining features of scoliosis for a better understanding of the condition as a whole, let’s move on to talking about treatment, and why a general chiropractor can’t offer the same level of treatment as a scoliosis-specific chiropractor.
Chiropractic is a form of medicine characterized by applying an integrative methodology to diagnosing and treating misalignments of the joints, particularly the spinal column, known to cause related nerve, muscle, and organ problems.
Now, in terms of scoliosis, the chiropractic-centered approach to scoliosis treatment is fairly modern and often misunderstood, which was part of my motivation for writing Scoliosis Hope: to educate people on alternative treatment options.
As mentioned earlier, being a complex and highly-variable condition, for treatment to be effective, it needs to be designed and administered by someone who is specifically trained in the condition and its multiple treatment modalities.
Due to the multifactorial nature of idiopathic scoliosis, it necessitates an integrative approach to treatment; this lends itself well to customizing treatment plans that address the individual patient and the unique characteristics of their condition.
A general chiropractic approach to treating scoliosis that is not scoliosis-specific, or that is administered by a general chiropractor not trained specifically in scoliosis-treatment modalities, will not carry the same potential treatment outcome.
When a person is diagnosed with scoliosis, they will be faced with an important decision; that decision is how to best treat the condition moving forward.
While a general chiropractor will be able to perform some helpful chiropractic adjustments with the potential to temporarily reduce scoliosis-related pain, this is not enough to impact the condition on a structural level and is merely treating a symptom of scoliosis, but not the scoliosis itself.
As the underlying nature of scoliosis is structural, a general treatment approach does not have the same potential results as one that integrates multiple scoliosis-specific treatment disciplines.
While chiropractic is a step in the right direction, in terms of an effective scoliosis-treatment discipline, without further specific training in how scoliosis differs from a general chiropractic patient with a spinal injury or subluxation, there quite simply is not the knowledge and experience needed to offer scoliosis patients the best-possible prognosis.
For patients who choose my conservative scoliosis-specific chiropractic approach here at the Scoliosis Reduction Center, they benefit not only from my training and experience as a chiropractor, but also my training and certification in multiple scoliosis-specific modalities: CLEAR, ISICO, SEAS, Pettibon, and ScoliBrace.
CLEAR - for chiropractors hearing the call to focus their skills on scoliosis care and treatment, the CLEAR Scoliosis Institute offers certification in standard treatment and intensive care of scoliosis patients, following a conservative approach.
ISICO - the Italian Scientific Spine Institute promotes and develops a dynamic approach to the rehabilitative treatment of spinal conditions.
SEAS - the Scientific Exercise Approach to Scoliosis delivers practical training for applying scoliosis-specific exercise as a facet of scoliosis treatment.
Pettibon - the Pettibon System emphasizes whole-patient care that focuses on the spine, postural correction, and muscular development.
Scolibrace - the ScoliBrace represents the culmination of what we have learned about the place of bracing in scoliosis treatment. This brace is superior to more traditional braces that aren’t designed with the end-goal of correction in mind.
Here at the Center, an integrative patient-centered approach is what drives us. As you can see, I have dedicated my life to gaining experience and training in multiple treatment modalities so I can offer each and every patient the best possible care and prognosis.
Scoliosis is not a simple condition to understand, both in terms of its own characteristics and in the effects it can cause throughout the body. It takes many hours of study, experience, and training in multiple treatment disciplines to fully understand the condition’s progressive nature and how best to treat it.
Any general discipline, such as general chiropractic, will fall short in terms of treatment efficacy; it’s only disciplines that are specifically designed to address scoliosis that have the power to impact the condition on a structural level
While chiropractic is a good starting point on the road to scoliosis treatment, that general discipline has to narrow its focus on scoliosis-specific training and study to live up to its potential as an effective form of scoliosis treatment.
Here at the Scoliosis Reduction Center, each and every patient gets the benefit of multiple treatment disciplines and a fully-customized treatment plan designed by a chiropractor trained and certified in several scoliosis-specific treatment modalities.