A Spinal Curve is One of Many Symptoms, Not the Condition
You may think that scoliosis is simply a spinal curve, but the curve is just one of many signs and symptoms of idiopathic scoliosis. Understanding this helps us treat the cause of scoliosis progression, rather than the symptom.
Although idiopathic means "unknown cause," we have learned that scoliosis stems from a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. It causes the brain to react abnormally to spinal alignment, typically during adolescence and most often in girls.
Normally, the brain tells the body how to align with gravity and stand straight as it grows. Spinal posture is an automatic neurological response in most children. The brain centers that control spinal posture send messages to your child's muscles telling them to keep the spine straight. This is how a baby learns to stand and balance.
Pain and Restricted Breathing also Signs of Scoliosis
The brain doesn't send those normal messages when your child has idiopathic scoliosis. We often detect the curvature of the spine during rapid growth spurts because that's when the miscommunication becomes obvious. Environmental triggers activate your child's genetic pre-disposition to scoliosis and unleash a cascade of events. We notice the spinal curve because it's the primary sign, but other signs and symptoms of scoliosis include:
- Lower quality of life
- Restricted breathing
- Limited physical activity
- Decreased social functioning
A child with a scoliosis curve measuring as little as 10 degrees may experience any of these symptoms or may only have a curved spine. Pain and other symptoms tend to worsen as the curve increases, especially after it reaches 30 degrees.
Treating the Condition, Not Just the Curve
Scoliosis' impact on your child's quality of life is our primary concern at ScoliSMART® Clinics. The scoliosis curve is a cosmetic symptom that's rarely life threatening in children older than five. That's why ScoliSMART® treatment programs do not include bracing or surgery, which decrease quality of life and have poor long-term success. Retraining the brain to override the neuromuscular dysfunction is more important just reducing your child's curve. Plus, it's the only way to stop scoliosis progression.
The ScoliSMART® treatment programs are not the norm, yet. Traditionally, doctors will advise you to monitor your child's curve if it's less than 25 degrees, use a scoliosis brace if it's 25 to 45 degrees, and get surgery if it's over 45 degrees. Bracing and surgery can reduce curvature for a time, but they both cause increased symptoms, pain and long-term complications. These outdated methods don't correct the cause of scoliosis; they only treat the curve. Scoliosis continues to progress after bracing and surgery.
If your child has recent signs of scoliosis, or has been struggling with the symptoms of this condition for years, we can help. ScoliSMART® exercises retrain the brain to communicate properly with your child's muscles. Our program decreases spine rigidity and creates subconscious muscle memories so your child never needs a brace or surgery.
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