Last night I spoke with yet another concerned parent about their teenaged child. Like so many others, this child was diagnosed some years ago, as a preteen, with mild scoliosis. This mother sought out the best medical help she could find and was told by a doctor, “Just wait and see what happens – there is nothing you can do about it now.” So she waited and when she next checked in with the doctor, the curve had progressed to 35 degrees. Too mild for surgery, so the doctor advised again – “Wait and see how it progresses.” Indeed, without any intervention, the curve did progress. On the next visit the curve measured 45 degrees. Now, it is approaching the range eligible for surgery. Does this child and family want surgery? Under the threat of surgery, this mother began seriously researching about scoliosis and treatment of scoliosis.
This mother realized, as many others in her situation have also realized, that there are actually abundant conservative treatments available for managing scoliosis. There is research available on many of these techniques that demonstrate a halt in curve progression. In many cases, conservative management techniques can reverse curve progression. The earlier rehab is initiated, the more effective is can be. Curves of 20 to 50 degrees Cobb Angle can also benefit from specialized bracing. Bracing, coupled with active, specialized exercise which address the 3 dimensional asymmetrical spinal changes, has been studied. The literature indicates that this combination for more advanced curves can be very effective in halting or reversing scoliosis progression.
It is hard for me to hear the same story over and over again: a parent who knew some action was needed but were told by medical authorities to wait. These parents, who waited and watched their children changing with anxiety and concern, had no further guidance towards immediate, conservative, helpful interventions.
I am so grateful to have the amazingly effective, conservative rehabilitation treatment of Postural Restoration and the Schroth Methodology to offer to these families. As needed, we also recommend bracing. We have seen some very positive responses to a tailored, disciplined exercise protocol. Although preteen and teenage years are a difficult time for a young person to take on self renewal, it is actually an empowering and effective focus that will give life long benefits.