Contrary to popular belief, scoliosis is highly treatable. Here at the Scoliosis Reduction Center, we’ve seen patients transform their lives completely by taking part in our comprehensive treatment program. When patients approach their scoliosis with a positive attitude and a willingness to do what it takes to reduce their spinal curvatures, amazing things can happen. But before the first step of treatment can be taken, we need an accurate assessment and measurement. The gold standard today is the scoliosis X-ray.
You might think that in the 21st century, a superior technology would exist. But the X-ray is still the most accurate, easily accessible, cost effective and reliable method of diagnosing and assessing scoliosis.
Certainly, there are other methods of screening for scoliosis. They just aren’t as effective at identifying the condition. Or they are prohibitively expensive compared to the relative low cost of X-rays. For example, 3D X-ray technology exists, but it’s very expensive and time consuming. Accurate scans also depend on the patient remaining perfectly still. Standing MRI scans are also used, but again, they are expensive and ultimately no more accurate than a scoliosis X-ray.
Obviously, X-rays provide two-dimensional imagery, while scoliosis is a three-dimensional condition. This means that it’s critical to be able to interpret a scoliosis X-ray properly in order to provide patients with the best information and the most effective treatment plan.
There are limitations involved with using X-rays to diagnose, assess and measure spinal curvature. Effective treatment of scoliosis requires a three-dimensional approach, and X-rays only provide a two-dimensional picture of what’s happening with the spine.
However, experts who specialize in scoliosis understand how to use multiple X-rays to paint a complete picture of the spine.
Most doctors are not scoliosis specialists. They can tell patients that an abnormal curvature exists, and they can provide a scoliosis diagnosis based on what they see in an X-ray. But in most cases, they are unable to give patients accurate measurements. And because they lack the training and expertise to interpret scoliosis X-rays comprehensively, they are unable to give patients the proper recommendations.
Yes, it’s easy to see the presence of an abnormal curvature, but measuring that curvature and providing the right advice for patients requires an expert’s eye. Otherwise, different doctors who measure the same spine can produce wildly different measurements, which leaves patients in the dark when it comes to approaching their treatment properly.
It is, in fact, possible to use X-rays to evaluate scoliosis in a three-dimensional manner, but most doctors simply lack the proper know-how.
When patients come to me, I use multiple measurements to assess the condition. I also look at the spine from several different X-ray angles to measure twist, tilt and other factors. There’s more to measuring scoliosis than the Cobb angle. And devising the appropriate treatment plan is only possible when the condition is viewed from multiple angles.
Here at the Scoliosis Reduction Center, we use and refer to X-rays every day to treat our patients.
There are a few things that set us apart, though:
There are a lot of fears surrounding X-rays for scoliosis patients. For one thing, X-rays tend to reveal a steady decline and deterioration the more they are taken. But they also expose patients to a certain amount of radiation, which causes many patients to be reluctant about having X-rays taken.
I can understand why patients are discouraged by X-rays that increasingly show a progression of the spinal curvature. However, with the proper treatment, X-rays don’t have to be bad news. Our patients receive the type of treatment that gets them to actually look forward to X-rays because they know they are likely to see improvement.
As for the radiation associated with a scoliosis X-ray, the risk is minimal, especially when images are taken using the most advanced, up-to-date digital technology.
Think about how digital cameras have revolutionized photography — they require less light and less exposure than their analog counterparts of the past. Today’s X-ray equipment has advanced similarly. It releases very little radiation, and patients have nothing to fear about having multiple images taken.
The fact is that today’s scoliosis X-rays emit about 10 times less radiation than when I graduated from college 22 years ago. That’s a huge reduction! And when you consider the minimal risks associated with X-rays again the consequences of not treating the condition properly, it’s quite clear that the benefits outweigh the potential negatives by a massive margin.
Furthermore, I want patients to understand that we approach X-rays with the safety and health of our patients at the front of our minds. We use specially designed shielding to minimize the risk of radiation exposure. We also employ techniques like taking images from the back instead of the front, which reduces radiation exposure to the breasts and vital organs.
I understand why patients and parents may be concerned about radiation from scoliosis X-rays, but let me assure you that your health is our foremost focus!
A scoliosis X-ray is the best way to assess the condition and develop the proper treatment plan. It can reveal everything we need to know about an individual’s specific curvature, plus it’s inexpensive and easily accessible for patients regardless of location or circumstances.
The key is making sure the X-ray is interpreted properly by someone who specializes in scoliosis. When a scoliosis X-ray is performed by an expert and evaluated by a specialist, real change and improvement is possible.