scoliosis back painAfter years of scoliosis treatment, 16-year-old Rachel Rabkin Peachman’s curves had stabilized and her spine had fully grown. At 45 degrees, she had narrowly escaped surgery. Her doctor told her she was done.

But she wasn’t.

“I’ve discovered in the years since that scoliosis is not something you endure and outgrow, like pimples and puberty,” she says. “Now, at the ripe age of 38, I find myself with a 55-degree upper curve, a 33-degree lower curve, consistent pain—and no standard treatment to follow.”

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Dr. Stitzel with child scoliosis patientTime and time again, parents sit across from me in my office describing the gut wrenching experience they endured during their child’s first brace fitting. Watching their child melt down in tears, complain about not being able to breath, and seeing the panic in their eyes when the doctor tells them they have to wear it 23 hours a day for the next 2-3 years. I also feel a sense of how disturbed these parents felt at that very moment, because they almost always seem to be looking straight through me as they tell the story.

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mom and sonIdiopathic Scoliosis is often categorized by a patients x-ray evaluation and a number called Cobb’s angle. I often hear parents explain their child’s situation by simply stating “my child has scoliosis”. As a clinician who works with natural methods to reduce and stabilize scoliosis, I often wonder why the medical community creates such a generic approach to educating parents. The diagnosis is scoliosis and the recommendation is either, watching it, bracing it, or fusing it entirely based on a number. I find this interesting merely based on the over simplification involved with this process. I am writing this brief article to inform parents that they need to understand that not every kid with scoliosis is the same. There are numerous factors that are involved with not only diagnosing this condition, but in actually treating it.

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athlete swimmingThey call him Lightning Bolt.

At age 20, he bolted through New York to set a world record—running the 100-meter sprint in just 9.72 seconds. The next year he shattered his own record and won his first of nine Olympic gold medals. Now, a decade later, Usain Bolt is considered the fastest runner ever timed.

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Dr. Stitzel and scoliosis patientIf you Google “Scoliosis Treatment” you’ll find a wide array of various approaches, options, and opinions on the “best way to treat scoliosis”. Some recommend a brace, others recommend fusion surgery, a few different rehabilitation and scoliosis exercise programs may come up on the 2nd or 3rd page. Some may seem pretty similar, most seem rather contradictory of each other, and a few may even be downright bizarre. It most likely comes across as annoying to the casual observer, but it’s absolutely maddening to the parent or patient who is trying to sort through the ocean of information on line in an effort to find the very best treatment for their child or themselves.

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scolismart logoWhen Laureen and Robert found out their 11-year-old daughter had scoliosis, they got online and read everything they could find about the condition. But their quest for answers only left them with more questions.

“I searched every website about scoliosis and was overwhelmed by the amount of conflicting information,” Laureen says. “I went to the library, but the information was so technical that I didn’t know if it was relevant to our situation.”

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idiopathic scoliosis x-rayAdolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is a progressive condition involving much more than just the spine column. It is characterized by long periods of little or no progression, followed by stages of rapid progression during time of rapid growth. Efforts to proactively stay ahead of scoliosis curve progression require a comprehensive treatment approach that is organized, focused, and committed to long term successful outcomes.

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exercise shoes and kettle bellDiana Chaloux was determined not to let her childhood scoliosis stop her from becoming a fitness model. But when she started competing nationally, her spinal curve put her at a serious disadvantage.

Body symmetry is a key category in bodybuilding and figure competitions and a “major element to being successful at the sport,” she says. To compensate for her postural deviation, she began incorporating core-strengthening exercises into her routine. Building up her core through adult scoliosis exercises helped balance out her posture while supporting the rest of her training program.

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maddy scolismartViolet ScoliSMART Coming home from a consultation with the orthopedist, Marcy Kemp was stunned. Her 13-year-old twin daughters, both with scoliosis, had progressed to the point where serious intervention was needed.

Maddy, with a 37-degree curve, would have to start wearing a brace. Violet, whose curve had reached 47 degrees, was scheduled for spinal fusion surgery. Both were on the cusp of entering their freshman year of high school.

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mom-daughter-scoliosisParents and patients, just like you, are struggling and stressing out over the right direction for treating their own or their child’s scoliosis condition. Given the amount of uncertainty and confusion surrounding the current treatment of scoliosis, it is certainly understandable. No one wants to make a mistake, waste financial resources, or lose precious time from work or school going down a given treatment path, only to learn it is a dead end.

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