Dr. Moramarco just returned from Cape Town, South Africa where he was there to present at the ISPO (International Society for Prosthetics & Orthotics) 16th World Congress. Four Schroth Best Practice® colleagues from around the globe convened to instruct on protocols for conservative scoliosis treatment and Schroth bracing.
Dr. Weiss started the course by talking about evidence for both scoliosis exercise and bracing (goals, methodology and evidence). Dr. Dan Comerford, of Melbourne, Australia spoke about diagnostic tools and radiology for scoliosis including EOS imaging. Dr. Marc continued the presentation by highlighting additional evidence and an overview of asymmetric loading and the importance of counteracting the vicious cycle that occurs as a result. He continued outlining our program components for scoliosis rehabilitation and presented some patient successes. The final speaker for the course was our friend Maksym Borysov of Ukraine. His program focused on scoliosis bracing using the Schroth brace that Best Practice practitioners use – the Gensingen brace®. He showed some impressive results from his clinic as well as others utilizing the Gensingen brace® internationally.
It was an honor to have Dr. Wong from Hong Kong and Dr. Landauer of Austria in attendance. Each are well-respected having contributed significantly to scoliosis research. They each conducted informative presentations at the conference as well.
Our instructional course was well-attended with positive feedback and numerous questions. It was good to have Eric Bapty in attendance as well – he’s a provider of the Gensingen brace® from the Toronto, Canada area.
From our perspective it was interesting to note how our results-oriented approach compares to what else is happening in the field. Other presentations from academia showed a commitment to advancing quality of life for scoliosis patients. A member of Dr. Wong’s team from Hong Kong presented an informative presentation about the feasibility and reliabiity of using 3D ultrasound to assess spinal flexibility.
Sun Hae Jang, a professor of orthotics and prosthetics from Eastern Michigan University presented her study on sagittal plane patterns of malalignment in relation to scoliosis and the potential spinal instability that may result. Since addressing the sagittal plane is an important part of the Schroth Best Practice® and Gensingen Brace® treatment approaches it was encouraging for us to see supportive work on this forgotten plane of scoliosis. This was demonstrated when Jang shared results of a survey she had sent to orthotists involved with spinal bracing. She reported controversy in the field as a result of her responses. She indicated that according to her research, 50% of orthotists she surveyed do not share her belief (or ours) in the importance of addressing the sagittal plane when bracing for scoliosis. This insight was particularly surprising from our perspective since three-dimensional correction, for both bracing and rehabilitation, is central to our focus for treating scoliosis. Research regarding the importance of addressing the sagittal plane by van Loon and Weiss support this.
On a less than optimistic note, Dr. Marc did attend a presentation where the status quo –wait and see, old-style bracing, and surgery–were presented as the absolute only way to proceed for scoliosis patients. Of course we know this based on stories we hear everyday from patients and their parents choosing to forge ahead differently. Let’s just say we were hoping for a bit more open-mindedness about the progress being made via Chêneau bracing and scoliosis rehabilitation concepts.
All in all, it was successful few days in beautiful Cape Town. The people of South Africa were warm and welcoming and the scenery was incredible. It is always rewarding to be given the opportunity to spread the word about our scoliosis treatment protocols to other interested practitioners. It was clear that this was the first time many of these providers have been exposed to this type of treatment protocol for scoliosis. As always, the experience made us appreciate how lucky we are to have found the Schroth way for our family and be fortunate to share it with others.
The next trip regarding spinal bracing for scoliosis is in early September at the annual AOPA World Congress in Las Vegas. Dr. Marc will present results of a cohort of braced patients with curves over 40º wearing the Gensingen brace.
Check out Dr. Moramarco’s safari photos below!
Watch this video from the ISPO 16th World Congress.