Dr. Clayton Stitzel

Dr. Clayton Stitzel

Dr. Stitzel is the former director of the CLEAR® Scoliosis Institute and creator of both Scoliosis BootCamp® and the Early Stage Scoliosis Intervention® Programs. Dr. Stitzel is involved the advancement and implementation of ScoliScore® genetic prognostication and developing new strategies to reduce the number of scoliosis surgeries performed worldwide. Dr. Stitzel currently practices in Pennsylvania and specializes in scoliosis rehabilitation treating patients from around the world.

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Surgery is one way to fix the curvature of the spine known as scoliosis, but it may not always be the best solution depending on how much your spine has curved. There are a number of factors that can help determine whether or not scoliosis surgery is a good option. Complications from the surgery may give you some perspective on whether or not the surgery will be right for you. If scoliosis is caught early enough, before a 25-degree angle has developed, you may have more options of treatment such as exercises that will be specifically designed for you to improve your spine. The bigger the angle, the harder it is to correct the problem. It’s best to learn the signs of scoliosis so you can spot them in your children. Even scoliosis over a 25-degree angle can still be treated with specific exercises and can be a better alternative to surgery. This infographic explains the advantages and disadvantages of undergoing surgery to correct scoliosis so that you can make an informed decision on alternative treatment options. Considering some of the stats on scoliosis surgery, you want may want to try alternative options.


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Recent scientific breakthroughs in the field of genetic testing now allow us to accurately determine a patient's genetic risk for developing severe adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, also known as AIS. However, genetics remains only a part of the overall condition.

Risks, signs, and symptoms of scoliosis

Detection of early stage scoliosis can be a very difficult task, even for experienced health care providers, however it is a crucial aspect of early stage scoliosis intervention. While there are many "tell tale" signs of the condition (see the check list to right) it is often a matter of knowing who is a most risk and recognizing the pattern of curve progression.

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - TO 18-YEAR-OLD AMANDA NISSLEY, the thought of back surgery felt like a punch in the stomach. In sixth grade, Nissley was diagnosed with scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of her spine, which was shaped like an "S."

Nissley wore a special brace designed to stabilize her spine. But after three years of wearing the brace for 18 hours every day, her scoliosis hadn't improved.

Local man helps create chair that could revolutionize scoliosis treatment
LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - Sure it was built in his dad's garage with parts found in the trash, but Dr. Clayton J. Stitzel might have helped create the first meaningful treatment for curvature of the spine to come along in decades.

By Gary P. Klinger

Lititz Record
Published: October 13, 2009 - Reprinted with permission

National headlines are being made through the work of local chiropractor Dr. Clayton Stitzel. But to describe as his work as simply chiropractic work would significantly understate his groundbreaking treatment for scoliosis.

Early stage scoliosis is not the same as early on-set scoliosis. The term "early on-set scoliosis" is primarily used to describe scoliosis that begins its on-set in children under the age of 5 years old and would be considered infantile or juvenile scoliosis. Early stage scoliosis, often referred to as "mild" scoliosis, is considered to be the beginning stages of adolescent idiopathic (meaning unknown cause) scoliosis (AIS); which makes up over 80% of all cases of scoliosis.

The current standard of care for scoliosis is "observation only" for mild scoliosis (10-25 degrees), bracing for moderate size curves (25-40 degrees), and multi-level spinal fusion surgery for severe scoliosis (40+ degrees).  Observation only isn't treatment, it's just waiting for the curve to get worse, bracing for scoliosis has been shown time and time again in study after study to have no effect on scoliosis or reduce the "need" for surgery. 

 There is a new concept sweeping through scoliosis theory discussions called "body schema".  Essentially, the body schema concept is developed long-term from both somatotrophic body maps and immediate sensory input. (AKA: it is partly genetic and partly acquired through adaptation to the environment).  The idea is similar to the "set point" understanding of one's natural body weight.  For example, we know everyone has a genetically pre-determined set body weight their particular body/metabolism naturally wants to "hang at" with minimal effort. 

 Generally speaking, there to two ways of reforming/changing a broken system or methodology; one can patchwork approach to the existing status quo or you can invent/create something entirely new.  The former is generally the quicker, easier, and cheaper way to go, but the ladder is almost always the better, more comprehensive, and long-term solution to the problem at hand.  Such is true when attempting to "find a better way" to the existing conventional scoliosis treatment model of observation, bracing for scoliosis, and spinal fusion surgery for scoliosis

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