The very nature of the scoliosis condition is a topic of great debate, which only fuels the “how to treat scoliosis” argument even further due to the uncertainty about what even causes idiopathic scoliosis. Generally, there are several different schools of thought; for most of scoliosis medical history doctors and quasi-researchers have assumed that idiopathic scoliosis was caused solely by an abnormal spinal bone growth that caused one part of the spinal bones to grow faster on one side than another. While it is without a doubt that Dr. Stokes’ 1996 publication of “the vicious cycle of scoliosis progression” outlines a mechanism in which asymmetrical loading on the scoliosis spine will cause the bones to grow in a slightly wedge deformity, it also clearly demonstrates this process is a secondary adaptation to the scoliosis spine and not the cause of idiopathic scoliosis. Unfortunately, most scoliosis brace treatment is still to this day based off this false notion of being able to fix scoliosis through this “guided growth” attempt at “how to treat scoliosis” and is plagued by low compliance and high scoliosis treatment failure rates. Essentially, scoliosis brace treatment attempts to treat the bone wedging symptom of idiopathic scoliosis, instead of treating the scoliosis condition itself.
The most current researchers almost unanimously agree that idiopathic scoliosis stems from a yet to be determined neurological feedback system that fails to coordinate the scoliosis spine in terms of neurological alignment to gravity when weight bearing and possibly the symmetrical growth of the nervous system (the spinal cord in particular) in relation to spinal bone growth. Dr. Porter (a noted scoliosis researcher) supported the uncoupled neuro-osseous growth concept of idiopathic scoliosis being a physical manifestation of the mal-adaption of the growing immature spine to the tether created by the short spinal cord. This evidence for this was the finding that the conus medullaris (the end of the spinal cord) position is NOT significantly different from that of a normal spine.
Dr. Chu re-examined the Roth-Porter theory via an MRI study (comparing adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients with severe curvatures vs normal subjects) in 2007. They found the vertebral column in the idiopathic scoliosis population was significantly longer, yet the there was no detectable change in spinal cord length. They speculated that the initiation and progression of Idiopathic scoliosis result from vertebral column over-growth through a mal-adaptation of the spine to the subclinical tether of a relatively short spinal cord. This would suggest that the rapid curve progression seen in idiopathic scoliosis would be a twisting type reaction to too much stretching on the spinal cord as the scoliosis spine bone attempt to grow vertically.
Thus, all attempts in “how to treat scoliosis” in the future must be based on stimulating or re-training the neurological spinal feedback mechanisms and reducing the bio-mechanical stress on the spinal cord in the idiopathic scoliosis patient prior to the onset of the adolescent growth spurt (approximately age 12 in females).
The early stage scoliosis intervention program was specifically designed to address these key concepts in the most updated understanding of the scoliosis condition and provide parents and patients the greatest opportunity for success in answering the “how to treat scoliosis” question.
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