According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), scoliosis affects between 2% and 3% of the American population, or about six to nine million people. It is characterized by an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine and there are many different forms. The various types of scoliosis are classified by cause and age of onset; the speed and mechanism of progression also plays a role in determining the specific type of scoliosis.
Understanding scoliosis begins with identifying its location and the type of spinal curvature.
Knowing this information can help predict what types of scoliosis symptoms may be experienced and how the condition can best be treated.
There are several detailed systems for classifying specific types of scoliosis curves, but some of the most common terms identify curves based on their location within the spine and the direction they bend.
Despite the fact that scoliosis bracing has existed for centuries and has been considered the standard surgery prevention tactic since the modern brace was invented in the 1940s, there is little evidence to support its effectiveness.
I have been asked to write a comparison of the ScoliSMART Activity Suit to the SpineCor Brace.
This is a rather difficult comparison as it is like comparing apples to oranges. They simply don’t compare! Let me explain.
First, I will note that I hold certifications in both and have suited and braced patients with the ScoliSMART Activity Suit and the SpineCor Brace for some time now. I will also note that I no longer brace patients in the SpineCor Brace as I prefer our ScoliSMART active/reactive program combined with the ScoliSMART Activity Suit. That said, if a prospective patient is not a candidate for ScoliSMART, I am happy to refer his or her family to a brace provider. The purpose of this comparison is to educate on the differences between the ScoliSMART Activity Suit and the SpineCor Brace.
Scoliosis is like any other illness: the sooner you identify it, the better your chances of treating it. Since the spine becomes more rigid as a person gets older, the sooner someone is diagnosed with scoliosis, the sooner they can begin a proper course of treatment that can control, or even reverse, the effects of scoliosis. Diagnosing scoliosis is easy, but identifying it pre-diagnosis can be surprisingly difficult. In fact, it will often go unnoticed, for many years, in young patients. Many cases aren’t identified until the patient has gone through puberty, and the curve becomes more noticeable.
When you or your child has been diagnosed with scoliosis, the options can seem painfully limited. Patients who are unwilling to accept the typical solutions—bracing, surgery or “wait and see”—often struggle to find an alternative treatment that stops scoliosis progression without permanently damaging the spine.
Being diagnosed – or having a child who is diagnosed – with idiopathic scoliosis can be a disconcerting, even scary, experience. After the diagnosis, you’ll be faced with lots of questions, and you’ll be uncertain about the future. What steps should you take? What steps should you avoid?
Finding the right scoliosis treatment can be a long and frustrating journey. First you get the diagnosis and all the overwhelming emotions that come with it. Then you’re presented with the potential treatment options—usually bracing, surgery or “wait and see.” Finally there’s the endless digging, online or at the library, to find a better alternative.
Treating scoliosis often feels like a race against an opponent with a head start. Once curves start progressing, parents and doctors can easily get caught up in reacting to the spine’s changes without ever managing to get ahead of the curve.
Unfortunately, scoliosis treatment for kids tends revolves around a single-minded focus—preventing curve progression—without full consideration for the child’s long-term quality of life. While traditional treatments can achieve some initial curve reduction, over the course of a lifetime they can also cause significant harm. Bracing, for example, might seem like the best course of action now, when your most pressing concern is to avoid reaching the surgical threshold, but what about 25 years from now? Or 50 years?
If your child has just been diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis, you’re probably trying to figure out what to do next. This decision is probably made more difficult by the fact that you’re probably still trying to separate scoliosis fact from fiction – and unfortunately, your doctor might not be up to date on all the current realities about scoliosis. There are a series of myths about scoliosis, and they’re often used by doctors to justify expensive, invasive spinal fusion surgery, even though it might not be the best option for your child.