Vertebral body tethering, or VBT, is a relatively new procedure being used to treat idiopathic scoliosis. Though ScoliSMART doesn’t perform VBT, it has close relationships with many doctors who perform the operation.
VBT is a surgery that uses tethering of bones – inserting screws and cord into each of the spinal bone – to help correct the curvature associated with scoliosis. For VBT to be most effective, we recommend that it only be used by adolescent patients who are still growing and already have a curvature of over 40 degrees. Though we do all we can to avoid invasive surgeries, like spinal fusion, VBT is a less invasive, surgery that still allows the spine to grow and also allows for further treatment options in the future. It’s a great option for advanced scoliosis in adolescents, as it both arrests the growth of the curve – and begins to reduce it.
Any surgery has pre requirements, and one of them for VBT is that it makes the spine be very flexible. Due to this stiffness that ordinary bracing creates, which has been the go-to scoliosis treatment for decades, cannot be used. Traditional bracing effectively “forces” the spine into a straighter position. With a stiffer spine, VBT isn’t possible.
Thankfully, there are plenty of options available to patients who have undergone VBT. ScoliSMART’s comprehensive treatment approach is actually a perfect complement for pre VBT surgery. Instead of “forcing” the spine into position, our treatment plan encourages the body to repair itself from within. Our specially designed exercises are painless and gently utilize Auto Response Training to retrain the muscles around the spine, which will gradually begin to correct the curvature. Our program also helps patients develop a diet that will balance their neurotransmitter levels. This enables clearer communication between the brain and the rest of the body, making the ScoliSMART exercises even more effective and using the body’s own strength to repair itself.
Another crucial part of the ScoliSMART program is the patented ScoliSMART Activity Suit. The suit is designed to move with your body and to assist in gently readjusting the muscles around your spine. Unlike traditional braces, the Activity Suit is perfectly safe for use by patients who have undergone VBT or plan to undergo.
The Activity Suit is also ideal for adults who have been diagnosed with scoliosis. Most scoliosis patients are diagnosed when they’re children or adolescents. Because of this, there are not many good treatment options for adults who are confronting scoliosis for the first time. There are legitimate reasons for the lack of options. As we grow, our spines naturally stiffen. Due to this, traditional bracing isn’t an option for adults. Some doctors recommend spinal fusion surgery, but it is expensive, invasive, and has a high rate of failure over twenty years.
As a result of these limitations, most adults end up treating the symptoms of their scoliosis instead of the source. This is understandable, as the back and hip pain associated with scoliosis can be severe, especially in older patients.
Unfortunately, such an approach can lead to a lifetime of managing pain through medication. And if the patient’s scoliosis continues to get worse, their pain will likely become more severe, too. In order to function, even in a limited way, many adult patients require higher and higher doses of pain medication as they get older.
Thankfully, the ScoliSMART Activity Suit, when used in conjunction with the rest of the ScoliSMART program, can not only reduce pain and improve an adult patient’s cosmetic appearance, but also stabilize or even reverse their scoliosis. This is because unlike bracing, surgery, or medication, the ScoliSMART program addresses the root causes of scoliosis. It’s a truly comprehensive approach to treating scoliosis. It requires time and patience, but when used correctly, the ScoliSMART program and Activity Suit help to reorient the back muscles around the spine. These muscles can, over time, begin to correct the curvature by “carrying” the spine in a different way.
It’s easiest to think of it this way: say you’ve never carried an umbrella before, and now you’re being asked to carry one all day long. An umbrella is not heavy, but your muscles are unprepared to hold it. You’ll likely be in exceptional pain if you hold the umbrella for a day. But if you spend months gradually training your muscles to hold the umbrella, they’ll adapt to the task.
This gradual retraining of the muscles is what the ScoliSMART Activity Suit helps with. The suit works with the contours and movements of a patient’s body to exert very slight pressures on the back muscles. When combined with the right diet and the right exercises, such an approach will lead to a patient’s muscles being “retrained.”
Many patients believe that the most important exercises they can do to help correct their scoliosis are exercises that strengthen the core. Although a strong core is good for overall health, it is not likely to help stabilize and reverse scoliosis. Misconceptions about building a strong core might dissuade certain patients, especially older ones, from seeking out non-surgical alternative treatments.
What these patients need to know is that treating scoliosis is not about strength – just as carrying an umbrella isn’t about strength. It’s about developing the right muscle memories. Exercises that strengthen the core won’t activate Auto Response Training, and thus won’t help the muscles around the spine correct the curvature.
ScoliSMART’s exercises, however, are specifically designed to activate Auto Response Training. Because these exercises aren’t trying to build strength, they can be done by almost anyone – including the elderly and young children, as well as healthy adults and adolescents. Once trained properly, a patient can perform these exercises at any time of day in the comfort of their own home.
Though the exercises are not strenuous or difficult, for them to be effective, they must be done as directed by a doctor. This usually means repeating specific exercises multiple times a day. When the exercises are done with the ScoliSMART Activity Suit, and while maintaining a healthy diet, many patients will notice dramatic improvements in their pain levels, their abilities to function, and even in their cosmetic appearances. Correcting scoliosis isn’t done through brute strength, but through the thoughtful application of a comprehensive, non-invasive treatment plan.
ScoliSMART’s innovative approach to treating idiopathic scoliosis has been designed to work for any patient. Whether you’ve undergone VBT surgery, are an older adult patient, or are worried about performing difficult exercises, ScoliSMART’s comprehensive program and the revolutionary ScoliSMART Activity Suit will help stabilize and reverse your curve.