Traditional vs. Proactive Scoliosis Care
The traditional medical model for scoliosis treatment usually follows this progression:
- Upon diagnosis of Cobb angles of 20 – 25º and below most physicians recommend “observation,” brilliantly dubbed ‘do nothing’ by one scoliosis surgeon – also known as ‘watch and wait’ or ‘wait and see.’
- The physician will check every four to six months to see if a curve is progressing.
- Each case of scoliosis is unique, but as a rule, bracing is usually prescribed beginning at Cobb angles of 20-25º when a child is still growing, sometimes earlier if the scoliosis is detected at a very young age due to increased risk of progression.
- Surgery is recommended by some surgeons as early as 40º – 45º
- Scoliosis surgery is a highly individual decision.
In very recent years, more and more parents and patients are choosing to take a more proactive approach to scoliosis management. In 2001, Martha Hawes published, Scoliosis and the Human Spine – A critical review of clinical approaches to the treatment of spinal deformity in the United States, and a proposal for change. Martha sparked a global debate and movement among some professionals concerned with scoliosis. Her impressive work inspired back care professionals to continue working and dedicate efforts to helping patients manage scoliosis with alternatives to the traditional medical model. Many patients and parents seeking alternative treatments for scoliosis share the belief that scoliosis surgery involving rod implantation and spinal fusions are serious and life-lasting procedures, that in some cases, are the beginning of a new set of problems for the patient, rather than a lasting solution without consequence.
Our Proactive Scoliosis Approach
15-20° Cobb Angle – Rather than “observation” for mild scoliosis, our approach is a proactive one. At a 15° Cobb angle we commence instruction in Physio-logic® and 3-D Made Easy® exercises to facilitate proper postural alignment during Activities of Daily Living for the scoliosis patient. The purpose is to reduce the possibility of curve progression and to halt the scoliotic curve.
20°+ Cobb Angles -For curves of this magnitude, we add Schroth Method instruction because it addresses the scoliosis from a three-dimensional perspective, as opposed to other treatment options which may only treat scoliosis in one or two dimensions. The Schroth proprietary exercises -and there are a number of them – are incorporated depending on the circumstances of each unique scoliosis. The Schroth certified practitioner will know the Schroth classifications of each unique curve and instruct accordingly. The curve-pattern specific exercises and corrective breathing techniques are time intensive and require focus while learning, but once mastered and incorporated regularly, the patient possesses the knowledge and tools to help manage his/her individual curve(s) over the course of a lifetime. There are numerous benefits to Schroth, but for many, the greatest benefit is the empowerment it instills, because it provides an element of control in a condition that, at times, may seem uncontrollable to the patient.