Scoliosis facts that will make your blood boil

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Finding out that your child has scoliosis is obviously upsetting. It is hard enough to accept a scoliosis diagnosis let alone understand the condition well enough to make decisions about care and next steps. Below a few scoliosis 'facts' that will make your blood boil, because they are simply not true.

'Fact' #1 Once you are an adult the scoliosis will not progress.  WRONG. The fact is that once you are an adult the curve progression does slow down significantly but, it can still progress 1 to 2 degrees a year or worse in some cases.  Gravity is the main culprit. Gravity is constantly pulling you.  When you are sitting or standing it is having a compressive force on your spine which is not good long term.  If you carry heavy things to work or are a mover you can bet that the curve will progress more rapidly.  If you are athletic and have a good strong core then your curve might not progress until your activity level decreases.

'Fact' #2 any X-ray is good for diagnostics purposes. WRONG.  Just because you go to an x-ray clinic that your orthopedic surgeon or pediatrician refers you to does not mean that the x-ray is adequate.  Often the x-ray techs taking the x-ray do not know the first thing about scoliosis and may set your child up in a way that may make his or her scoliosis look worse or better.  If it looks worse, you are fitted for a hard brace that your child does not need and if it looks better then you are given false hope.  Make sure that when the x-ray is taken, your child is standing in his/her regular standing position.  Also decline inserting shoe lifts to take the x-ray for hip imbalance unless your child usually wears a shoes lift.  

'Fact' #3 Scoliosis bracing, then spinal fusion surgery is the best treatment: WRONG. Conventional treatment for a curve that is above 25 degrees but below 45 degrees is a hard brace; and, surgery, for curves greater than 45 degrees.  The issue here is that hard bracing does not work and surgery is unsafe and permanent.  Squeezing someone's ribs for 23 hours a day for 4 years is not going to help a scoliosis. On the contrary, it could make it worse according to analysis taken from 3 dimensional x-rays taken of children in hard braces.  Not only is hard bracing ineffective but also challenging psychologically and socially for a child.

If your child's curve progresses beyond 45 degrees surgery will be recommend. Take a step back as this does not mean that your child needs surgery right away.  I always say, surgery should be the last option. Do exhaust non invasive scoliosis treatment options as surgery carries significant risk that cannot be taken away. 

A great non-invasive option to consider is Early Stage Scoliosis Intervention or Scoliosis Bootcamp.  Both are neuromuscular reeducation exercised based alternatives to bracing and surgery. 

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