Our website alludes to the early obstacles we encountered when our daughter was first diagnosed with scoliosis. We took her, immediately, to a group of prominent orthopedic surgeons at a highly regarded Boston hospital. They recommended the SpineCor brace from Ste. Justine’s hospital in Canada – the subject of a recent exposé in Canada. The Spinecor brace was just being introduced in the U.S. in January 2001. The doctors told us this spinal brace was effective, yet easier to wear. In fairness, we were warned that with curves of greater magnitude, bracing may not be effective but we were offered no other choice.
We were skeptical and they told us if her scoliosis did not stop progressing the next step would be surgery. It wasn’t a good time for us as any parent reading this understands. We were not well-versed on the conservative treatment of scoliosis as we are now. The doctors did provide documentation of SpineCor brace studies (I still have them) and I spent hours searching for a similar case for a glimmer of hope. After reviewing the documents though, I wasn’t convinced this brace would help our daughter. We complied with their recommendations because we were offered no other options. Our daughter was fit within days and instructed to wear the brace twenty-three hours per day. She did it from day one and her compliance was amazing.
At her second fitting, Dr. Christine Coillard was at the Boston hospital. She is one of the brace developers interviewed in the linked video. At the time, she answered our questions about scoliosis and the SpineCor brace and implied it would halt scoliosis progression.
Like the parents interviewed on Canadian television, we were made to feel that the SpineCor brace was the best alternative available. Although Marc has an optimistic nature, he seemed dubious from the beginning. We followed the recommendations, knowing that we didn’t know enough about managing scoliosis. That eventually changed.
Recently, a Montreal television reporter did a two-part series on the SpineCor brace. Aired in Quebec, it is in French, so we enlisted one of our French-speaking patients to do a translation on the SpineCor brace (see PDF at the bottom of this blog). We did it to share its content with visitors to our website who are interested in understanding more about conservative care treatment options for scoliosis. Once I read it, I realized we could have been the parents interviewed. Our stories are so similar.
The failure of the SpineCor brace for our daughter –she progressed significantly – did, however, have a positive outcome. It was the impetus of Marc becoming an expert on the conservative treatment for scoliosis. The system left us no other choice. Our scoliosis journey has resulted in many positives: we went to Germany, Marc became Schroth method certified, we now offer effective programs of hope and empowerment, we’ve been able to spread the word about the Schroth Method, Marc is now a Schroth Best Practice® Advanced Instructor, and we’ve met incredible people from all over the globe to learn about scoliosis management. As a result of our experience with the SpineCor, we were also inspired to offer other families a better brace – the Cheneau-Gensingen brace. The best part by far though, is that we learned how to help our daughter and others avoid surgery.
Once the translation came, reading the transcript of the Canadian media coverage on SpineCor only served to stir up old anger and regret for me about the early mismanagement of our daughter’s scoliosis. After learning about Schroth principles we discovered that the SpineCor brace is compressive while Schroth is about opening voids and the two are incompatible philosophies.
We lost time early on that we could never regain, but what drives me is that it doesn’t need to be that way for others. It’s a point we try to make to parents of newly diagnosed kids; in our opinion, scoliosis must be managed properly and proactively during growth because there is no turning back once skeletal maturity occurs. Conservative treatment does work when it begins in a timely manner.
If you are considering the SpineCor brace, link to the video if you like, and read the transcript of the two part expose (PDF below).