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Can Scoliosis Be Treated Without Surgery?

Scoliosis is a condition that causes the spine to bend to the side and rotate, making it appear on x-ray like an “S”or “C” shape. Scoliosis is quantified by a Cobb angles; this is measured on the x-rays. Cobb angle is an important determinant of treatment options and recommendations. In severe scoliosis curves, the spinal curvature can
continue progressing, causing more pain and discomfort but also limiting
range of motion and function. While there are several surgeries that a
neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon can recommend to reduce the
curvature, non-surgical options can also help restore the alignment of the
spine and help reduce the curvature.

Is It Possible To Fix Scoliosis Completely?
Scoliosis is a condition of the spine that can’t be completely
cured. As such, there’s no option to completely “fix” scoliosis, at least not to
100%. However, scoliosis can be treated in a way that helps reduce the
curvature, reducing the angle and improving the overall spinal alignment and
function. Additionally, treatment can also effectively reduce and manage any
pain/discomfort and disability associated with scoliosis. Not all treatment
programs are the same for scoliosis. The goal of a specific treatment program
will depend on the age of the patient, bone maturity, severity of the curvature
and other factors surrounding the scoliosis diagnosis. For example, when
treating growing children or teens, the goal is typically to prevent progression
and reduce the angle of the spinal curvature to under 30 degrees, which
helps to reduce the risk of progression, pain and disability later in life.
Conversely, when treating adults, the goal is usually to prevent or slow the
progression and reduce pain levels. Additionally, improving aesthetic and
physical appearance along with body posture and symmetry is a goal for
many cases.

SOSORT Guidelines on Scoliosis Treatment
The Society on Scoliosis Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Treatment (SOSORT) is an
organization dedicated to improving the standard of care for scoliosis
patients and provide guidance on the conservative (non-surgical) treatments
for scoliosis.

How Scoliosis Severity Affects Treatment Options
The severity of scoliosis will have an impact on the type of treatment that is recommended. In general, mild scoliosis (defined as a curvature less than 20 degrees) may not require treatment but should be monitored closely. For moderate scoliosis (curvature between 20 and 40 degrees), non-surgical treatments such as bracing and physical therapy may be recommended. Severe scoliosis (curvature greater than 40 degrees) may require surgical intervention in addition to non-surgical treatments. The guidelines published by SOSORT in 2016 provide more detailed recommendations for treatment based on scoliosis severity and other factors.

Mild cases of scoliosis may only require observation, while moderate cases may require scoliosis specific exercises and rehab, and/or bracing. Surgery may be required for severe cases of scoliosis. The patient’s age is a very important factor in determining the best treatment option. Scoliosis bracing is recommended for patients who are still growing to help prevent the curvature from getting worse in juvenile or adolescence.

Severe cases of scoliosis may be recommended surgery to
prevent further deformity and to help long-term outcomes. Preventing
pulmonary and cardiovascular compromise is one of the main goals in these
cases. No matter the severity of the scoliosis, it is essential to work closely with
your scoliosis doctor to determine the best course of action. They will be able
to review these factors and help to create a treatment plan tailored to your
specific needs.

Why Surgery Isn’t Always The Best Option
While surgery can be an effective treatment for scoliosis in some cases, it also carries risks and potential complications. These risks can include infections, bleeding, nerve damage, blood clots, and anesthesia-related complications. It’s important for patients and their doctors to carefully weigh the potential benefits and risks of surgery before deciding on a treatment plan. In many cases, non-surgical treatments such as bracing, physical therapy, and exercise can be effective in managing scoliosis without the need for surgery.

Surgery can also be costly, and recovery times are often long and uncomfortable. It’s not uncommon for it to take upwards of a year or more for patients to fully recover from scoliosis surgery. Surgery can correct the physical curvature of the spine, but it does not address the underlying factors that contributed to the development of scoliosis, such as muscle imbalances, postural habits, and spinal misalignments. Without addressing these underlying issues, the curvature can continue to progress even after surgery. That’s why a comprehensive treatment plan that includes non-invasive treatments such as physical therapy and bracing can help address the underlying factors and prevent further progression of the curvature. For these reasons, it is essential to explore your treatment options before deciding on surgery.

The Benefits Of Non-Surgical Treatments For Scoliosis
Non-surgical treatments can be hugely beneficial when treating scoliosis in mild, moderate, or even severe cases. There are several benefits of non-surgical treatments for scoliosis, including:

Non-invasive: Non-surgical treatments do not require any invasive procedures, which means that patients can avoid the risks associated with surgery.
Cost-effective: Non-surgical treatments are often less expensive than surgery, which can be a significant factor for many patients and their families.
Reduce Pain And Discomfort: Non-surgical treatments can help reduce the symptoms and pain associated with scoliosis by improving flexibility and strength in the spine.
Prevent Progression: Scoliosis-specific exercises and bracing can help prevent the curvature from progressing. Bracing is often recommended for adolescents with moderate scoliosis, as it can help prevent the curvature from getting worse while the spine is still growing. Physical therapy and specific exercises can also be used to strengthen the muscles around the spine, which can help support the spine and prevent further curvature.
Correct Spinal Curvature: Scoliosis-specific exercises and bracing can also help to reduce the curvature of the spine in some cases.
Improve Range Of Motion: Non-surgical treatments such as scoliosis-specific exercises, stretching, and manual therapies can help improve range of motion in the spine, reducing stiffness and increasing flexibility. These treatments can also help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with scoliosis.
Maintain Spine Corrections: Scoliosis-specific exercises can help maintain the corrections achieved through bracing in mild and moderate cases. These exercises focus on strengthening the muscles around the spine and improving flexibility, which can provide support and stability to the spine.


Scoliosis Treatments Without Surgery
At Optimal Spine & Posture, we believe surgery should be a last resort for treating scoliosis. To ensure our patients receive the best possible outcomes for scoliosis, we offer a variety of non-surgical treatment options. These include:

Chiropractic Biophysics (CBP)
CBP, or Chiropractic BioPhysics, is an effective method for treating scoliosis-related pain. Unlike traditional chiropractic care that aims to provide immediate pain relief, CBP focuses on identifying and correcting the underlying cause of the pain. This approach is based on extensive research and aims to restore proper alignment of the spine.
At Optimal Spine & Posture, we develop a customized CBP treatment plan to suit the unique needs of each patient. This may involve various techniques such as adjustments, traction, stretching and strengthening exercises, and a personalized home rehabilitation program.

ScoliBalance is a specialized form of physiotherapeutic scoliosis-specific exercise (PSSE) that combines various techniques, including CBP, SEAS, and Schroth. It utilizes personalized 3D postural corrections, exercises, and stretches to address each patient’s specific needs. ScoliBalance is effective in slowing or stopping the progression of scoliosis, improving flexibility, muscular balance, posture, and reducing pain. It is a suitable treatment option for patients of all ages, and the focus is on providing achievable and effective treatment plans that patients can learn and implement.

Custom Scoliosis Bracing
A scoliosis brace is a personalized device that is designed to provide support to the spine and prevent it from further progression, thus avoiding the need for surgery. Depending on the severity of the scoliosis, a brace can be used in combination with physical therapy and scoliosis-specific exercises or alone. Typically, bracing is recommended for adolescent patients with a curvature greater than 25 degrees. It may also be appropriate for adults with degenerative scoliosis, which causes the curvature to worsen with age, or those experiencing severe pain due to scoliosis. In adolescents, bracing can prevent progression and even reduce the size of the curve in some cases. In adults, bracing is used to prevent progression, relieve pain, and stabilize the curvature but not necessarily to correct it. There are various types of braces available, each tailored to the patient’s individual needs. The decision to use a brace should be made after an assessment by a specialist who can determine the severity and progression of scoliosis.

There are different types of braces recommended for scoliosis patients depending on their age and the severity of their curvature. These include:

  • Night-time rigid braces are only worn at night, making them more comfortable for patients and resulting in higher compliance rates. However, they are not suitable for severe spinal curvatures exceeding 35 degrees and cannot be worn during daily activities.
  • Full-time rigid braces are made of lightweight plastic material and apply a three-point pressure treatment to correct the spine. These braces must be worn for 16 to 23 hours a day, day and night.
  • Part-time rigid braces only need to be worn for a few hours a day and are generally used for smaller curvatures or pain management. The longer the brace is worn, the more effective it is in preventing the progression of scoliosis.
  • ScoliBrace is a unique type of brace that uses an over-corrective approach and an asymmetrical design instead of three-point pressure. It applies spinal coupling and is custom-designed for each patient using 3D scanning technology for improved performance and comfort.

How Optimal Spine & Posture Can Help Your Scoliosis
At Optimal Spine & Posture, we provide personalized evaluations and treatment plans that are tailored to meet your unique needs. Our comprehensive scoliosis treatment options include custom ScoliBrace services to support your treatment. We use a combination of techniques, including CBP, Schroth method therapy, SEAS, and ScoliBalance exercises, to address pain, improve posture and flexibility, and slow the progression of scoliosis. We recognize that scoliosis can be challenging, and our team is committed to supporting you every step of the way.

Get The Best Scoliosis Treatment Without Surgery
If you or your child has received a scoliosis diagnosis, you may be searching for effective treatment options that do not involve surgery. At Optimal Spine & Posture, we offer a range of non-surgical treatments that can alleviate symptoms and improve your quality of life. Our team of experienced doctors will create personalized treatment plans that are tailored to your specific needs. We understand how crucial it is to find the best possible treatments, and we will collaborate with you to create a non-surgical program that is effective and appropriate for you.

Taking action to treat scoliosis can decrease complications and help you live a healthier life. Contact us to schedule your free consultation today!

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