Your Osteopath – 5 Critical Questions You Must Ask

Trusting an osteopath with your health is an important decision which needs careful thought. If you are contemplating using an osteopath, you need to be certain that you can completely trust their every move. To ensure your peace of mind, here are five critical questions you should ask any osteopath before you commit to a treatment. Any reputable osteopath should be able to answer these without problem or hesitation.

By staying informed, you’ll ensure you are choosing an osteopathic practitioner who suits your needs and style.

Q1. Are you able to communicate in clear English?

Trust is usually earned through clear and constant communication. It is essential that you completely trust your osteopath. Likewise, your osteopath will need to be able to openly discuss every aspect of your treatment and take the time to clarify any points that need further explanation. Be aware that it’s common (and correct) for osteopaths to use medical terminology, however your practitioner should always translate this terminology to ensure you understand every word. If you find yourself leaving a consultation feeling bewildered or uninformed, then you are not maximizing the value of your consultation.

Q2. Will you focus on me for my entire treatment?

Some practitioners will choose to schedule multiple patients at the same time. In this approach, multiple patients will be directed to separate rooms – and the practitioner will swap between the patients every few minutes. This may not necessarily be bad, however it’s something you need to be aware of. Would you be unhappy if your health practitioner was frequently leaving the room to attend to another patient? Would you prefer that your chosen practitioner focused on only you for the entire appointment? It’s your decision. Ask what your practitioner’s policy is.

Q3. Why are you offering me a free treatment?

Everyone loves free samples. However, is there really such a thing? Aren’t there always invisible strings attached? Some practitioners will proudly offer their first treatment for free – or at a heavy discount. This can be tempting. After all, this arrangement can be beneficial as it gives you the opportunity to view the physio clinic and ask questions. Just be mindful, that some osteopaths tend to recommend longer treatment plans than others. Some physio clinics that promote free treatments may try and recover these costs by scheduling more treatments. This may not always be the true, but it’s something which you should keep your eye on.

Q4. Will I be encouraged into a treatment plan?

Don’t fall into this trap. Some osteopaths will do their best to sign you up to a treatment plan before they even start treating you. This logic is puzzling. Sure, the treatment plan may entice you with a discount incentive, but how can the practitioner determine the number of treatments you need when they haven’t even assessed you yet? They can’t. Some conditions may require three treatments, others six – but it’s impossible to estimate until you undergo a full assessment. If you find yourself being asked to sign up to a treatment plan without being assessed – think twice. Does the practitioner have your best interests at heart – or their own bank account?

Q5. Are you a member of an industry body or association?

Apart from double checking if your practitioner is qualified, it’s also a good idea to investigate if they are a member of related industry body or association. All osteopaths have the option of voluntarily joining associations that aim to educate, improve, and promote best treatment practices. To join these associations, practitioners must adhere to a code of conduct and continual education programs. This is reassuring. If your osteopath is a member of these official associations, it gives you further peace of mind that they are dedicated and committed to providing a high level of health care.

 

Treating Scoliosis – A Proactive Approach

Scoliosis is a disease of the neuro-muscular system that has long challenged health care professionals worldwide. The current treatment options or lack of any treatment for most families dealing with an early detection of this disease can be very frustrating. In most cases children diagnosed with scoliosis are told they have it and the healthcare team will monitor it to see if it gets worse. This would be similar to having a doctor tell you that you have a highly progressive cancer but we will wait until it spreads before we can do anything for you. Statistically, scoliosis is progressive in most cases.

So where does this leave children with scoliosis diagnosed below 25 degrees commonly referred to as early detection? The general medical approach is to wait until the curve reaches 25 degrees at which time the orthopedic specialist will recommend bracing. The most common form of bracing is a hard brace which is to be worn on average 22 hours daily until skeletal maturity or until the curve advances to 40 degrees at which point they will push for surgical intervention.

What medical practitioners typically don’t tell you is that once the curve reaches 25 degrees the likelihood of progression is 68% even with most bracing attempts. So that leaves nearly 70% of the families with a highly progressive disease that ends up involving surgical intervention, a highly invasive surgery with significant post surgical ramifications. I don’t know about you, but if my daughter was offered this solution as the only option, I would be very frustrated, scared, and disappointed in our healthcare system for not coming up with a better alternative to effectively combat scoliosis early on before it reaches critical levels where bracing and surgery becomes the only option.

A non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for scoliosis has developed a system that can effectively reduce and stabilize scoliosis without bracing or surgery. In fact, the majority of the scoliosis cases treated by this alternative methodology have been the result of patient’s facing surgery where bracing attempts have failed to stop progression. This means a huge portion of scoliosis cases that have been reduced and stabilized using these new protocols have been above the 40 degree level. This spinal rehabilitation program was originally designed to correct scoliosis. Correction, meaning take scoliosis generally above 30 degrees Cobb angle and correct it to what is considered non-scoliosis level generally 10 degrees or less.

The majority of cases over 30 degrees have not corrected to this ideal 10 degrees or less range. The average reduction in Cobb angle measurement is 30-50% using what’s called “MIX FIX SET” methodology. Now this is in no way a failure because a non-surgical non-bracing method which has the consistent ability to reduce and stabilize this highly progressive disease is a tremendous accomplishment and will most likely revolutionize the treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Several news stations nationally as well as magazines have done stories and interviews with patients who have undergone this program of scoliosis care. It is considered a major success if you are able to stop scoliosis curve progression let alone reduce the actual curve measurement without the use of bracing, casting, or surgery.

Families with early detection of scoliosis can be proactive. The status quo of watching and waiting for the inevitable train wreck is no longer your only option. Doctors have developed a scoliosis treatment option that is ideal for curves under 30 degrees. The reason for the lack of a complete correction with curves above 30 degrees is due to the inherent nature of scoliosis as a feed forward mechanism. Meaning once the curve progresses to 30 or above, the “crankshaft phenomenon” kicks in, which creates massive rotation coupled with lateral flexion and compression. This phenomenon is very difficult to undo in fact, invasive surgery can not even fully correct this mechanism. When a scoliosis reaches the 30 degree mark, the crankshaft mechanism begins, and the chance of progression skyrockets. This is also why a 50 degree scoliosis may reduce to 30 degrees using this alternative method, which is fantastic, but the scoliosis still remains alive. It has not been fully corrected and therefore has the innate potential to want to continue to grow.

By attacking the scoliosis before it reaches this pivotal point of 30 degrees you can typically correct the scoliosis. You can in most cases eliminate the scoliosis with non scoliosis measurements of 10 degrees or less, thus defeating the disease rather than merely taming it. Imagine having the opportunity to fix the problem before it spirals out of control giving you the freedom to go about your life without having to constantly worry about what the scoliosis is doing or what it will become. This scoliosis treatement program has the potential to become the first line of defense against childhood scoliosis. At some point this technology will be the standard recommendation and hopefully replace the current “watch and wait” do nothing recommendation currently in place for children diagnosed with scoliosis below 25 degrees. Doctors through research and new technology have the potential to “cure” this disease, but it must start from a solid program of early detection and referral to the appropriate treatment facility rather than a watch and wait system that is antiquated and dangerous.

 

Types of Scoliosis

There are several types of scoliosis. Each of them are named and defined according to the age, cause of scoliosis and spinal curvature. There are two basic types of scoliosis, structural and nonstructural. Structural scoliosis is caused by neuromuscular diseases, certain infections, birth defects, injury, connective tissue disorders, metabolic diseases, rheumatic diseases, tumors and other unknown factors. Nonstructural or functional scoliosis is reasoned by underlying conditions such as a difference in leg length, muscle spasms, or inflammatory conditions including appendicitis.

The most common type of scoliosis based on age is idiopathic scoliosis. As the word indicates, the cause is unknown. It affects about 4% of the population, commonly females. The reasons may include differences in leg length, hereditary conditions, injury, infections and tumors.

Idiopathic scoliosis is subdivided into three categories: infantile, juvenile and adolescent. Infantile scoliosis extends from birth to age three. Juvenile scoliosis is caused between the ages three and nine. As the child grows, there is a possibility to slow down the curve progression. Adolescent scoliosis extends from 10 to 18. It is the most common type of idiopathic scoliosis in the United States and can be discovered and treated in childhood or adolescence. It occurs in teenagers just at the growth spurt of puberty.

Other types of scoliosis are congenital, neuromuscular and degenerative. Congenital scoliosis is a rare type of scoliosis caused by an abnormally shaped bone that presents at birth. It occurs throughout the fetal development. Absence of vertebrae, partially formed vertebrae, failure of the vertebrae to form normally and the lack of separation of vertebrae are considered to be the reasons behind this condition. Neuromuscular scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine occurring due to muscular weakness or neuromuscular disease such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, paralytic conditions, spinal cord tumors, neurofibromatosis and muscular dystrophy. Degenerative scoliosis happens in adults due to weakening of the spine with aging.

Scoliosis is also categorized on the basis of the spinal curvature. Thus Thoracic curve scoliosis, Lumbar curve scoliosis and Thoracolumbar curve scoliosis are found. For scoliosis treatment, please check out Balance Core.

 

Scoliosis Progresses 8 Times More in Girls Than in Boys

The ‘Unnatural’ Curve

The human spine or backbone is formed of multiple vertebrae which protect and support the spinal cord and helps it hold the body upright. In Scoliosis, a condition particularly related to the spine, the individual’s spine is not straight but rather curved. In the absence of the spine’s gentle curve down the back, it is impossible to walk or balance the body. However in Scoliosis, the spine bends to the side abnormally; either to the right or left.

Back pain can eventually develop as the condition progresses. The deformity may cause pressure on your nerves and possibly even on your spinal cord. This can lead to weakness, numbness, and pain in your lower extremities. In severe cases, pressure on the spinal cord may cause loss of coordination in the muscles of your legs, making it difficult to walk normally. If your chest is deformed due to the scoliosis, your lungs and heart may be affected. This can cause breathing problems, fatigue, and even heart failure. Fortunately these severe symptoms are rare.

However with advancement in age, the problem further aggravates. With time scoliosis develops and so does with time its symptoms manifest in an individual’s life. A scoliotic person can be an active individual performing all the life tasks with zeal and vigor but the inability of their spine to stand straight is the major disabling factor in their life.

Scoliosis progresses 8 times more in girls than in boys

While scoliosis may develop in infancy or early childhood, the most common age for it to occur is early puberty, with most cases first detected between the ages of 9 and 13. The condition is related to growth and if it is going to get worse, it will mainly do so when the child is growing most rapidly.

Of the approximately 2-2.5% of adolescents with scoliosis, the curve will worsen in about 10%. Though it is unclear why, scoliosis occurs equally across gender but progresses 8 times more in girls than in boys. This is why many specialists recommend that girls especially, but in fact all children, be screened frequently during growth.

What causes Scoliosis?

    • Unknown causes – in about 80% of cases the cause is unknown.

 

    • Neuromuscular conditions – these are conditions that affect the nerves and muscles. About 20% of scoliosis cases are caused by neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. In such cases the child may not be able to walk to stay upright, further preventing the spins from growing properly.

 

    • Present at birth – this is rare and occurs because of the bones in the spine developing abnormally when the fetus is developing in the uterus (womb).

 

    • Leg length – if one leg is longer than the other the individual may develop scoliosis.

 

  • Other causes – bad posture, using backpacks or satchels, and exercise may also cause scoliosis.

Symptoms of Scoliosis

People with scoliosis commonly see a spine specialist because they notice a problem with the way their back looks. Most common observation are-:

  • One shoulder or hip may be higher than the other
  • One shoulder blade may be higher and stick out farther than the other
  • A “rib hump” may occur, which is a hump on your back that sticks up when you bend forward. This occurs because the ribs on one side angle more than on the other side
  • One arm hangs longer than the other because of a tilt in the upper body
  • The waist may appear asymmetrical.

Scoliosis impacts physical and emotional health

A scoliotic person can be an active individual performing all the activities of daily living but low on self-confidence, very conscious about their appearance and in extreme cases may be under depression.

A recent study found that adolescents with progressive Scoliosis report lower self-image and worse quality of life than children without scoliosis.

Many studies have found that teenagers with scoliosis are not happy with their appearance. They often fear that their bodies are developing abnormally. Boys with scoliosis tend to view themselves in poorer health when compared to their peers. So diagnosis of scoliosis in a child who already struggles with poor body image can cause her more stress.

Other emotional issues

Being diagnosed with scoliosis can cause lot of stress. When first diagnosed, they may have felt anxiety, fear, and withdrawal. These feelings tend to improve with time depending on treatment.

If one has to wear a brace before surgery, he/she may face a few issues:

  • Feeling different from her friends at a sensitive age
  • Trying to wear clothing that hides the brace
  • Deciding whether to w. ear the brace with certain social activities
  • Teasing from other teens at school
  • Scoliosis can put patient at risk for alcohol or drug use, suicidal thoughts, and other issues. It seems that teens who receive scoliosis treatment after age 16 years have more emotional problems than those treated at a younger age.

How to tackle Scoliosis effectively:

Early consultation can help patient in getting good results and do help in preventing the progression. Most of the parents are apprehensive and under informed pertaining to progress of the disease and the cosmetic appearance of their child. A common behavioral pattern in parents is that they become obsessive and over indulge themselves in rehabilitation program. On the other hand child becomes an attention seeker and at times rebel.

While surgery is a popular option for people suffering from Scoliosis, it is also advised to look into other forms of corrective measures before going under the knife.

Parental education and involvement of parents in rehabilitation program (by teaching them exercises, techniques and corrective positioning to be replicated at home) can help them become more accepting and in general at ease with themselves. Exercising regularly can help a scoliotic child better about her body. Being in contact with other patients facing the same issues can really help. Talking about the challenges of clothing, sports, and dating can help to cope better. Talking with peers can also help her feel less isolated.

Usage of wall bar exercises, swiss ball exercises, etc. breaks the monotonous pattern of exercise and maintains interest of the patient. Overall it not only helps in maintenance or preventing progression of curve but also help patient and their family member more acceptable and self confident.

 

Scoliosis: A Spinal Disorder

About 5 to 7 million Americans are affected by a disorder called scoliosis. It is a medical condition in which the spine curves away from the middle, side to side. People who have scoliosis sometimes also have lordosis (curving of the spine inward) or kyphosis (curving of the spine outward). There are three different types of scoliosis, dependent upon how it is contracted. They are: a) congenial, b) neuromuscular, and c) idiopathic, or of unknown cause. Scientists do believe that genetics play a role; however the precise mechanisms and relationships to the disorder remain unclear. One of the most common forms of scoliosis is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Girls are more prone than boys in developing a severe form of it, requiring medical attention.

There are times when the spine itself is normal, but scoliosis develops in response to a problem somewhere else in the body. Muscle spasms in the back, a difference between leg lengths, and even poor posture can cause this type of functional scoliosis. Neuromuscular scoliosis can be very severe. In this form of scoliosis, one has difficulty with muscle control and strength, due to diseases such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or polio. Scoliosis thus affects individuals to various degrees of severity. People with a milder form of functional scoliosis can seek treatment through chiropractic care; however, those with a more serious condition do need to seek more invasive medical solutions.

Not only does scoliosis limit one’s range of physical abilities, it also may hurt one’s emotional growth and outlook, especially in the teenagers it commonly afflicts. In some cases of scoliosis, the damage is so severe that the rib cage presses in toward the heart and lungs, thereby inducing further health problems such as lung infections and pneumonia.

Scoliosis often exists in a mild form that can be detected only by trained professionals. There is no need for great concern in these cases, as long as the condition is being monitored. In any case, when children and teenagers have scoliosis, their conditions need to be followed with great care, since their bones are in the midst of rapid growth. Their spines can grow and curve even more to the side within a few months. Thus, for those in this age group, consistent and frequent checkups are an absolute must.

Several methods are used to help detect scoliosis. The best way to begin is to get a postural analysis during your physical examination. If there seems to be significant abnormal curvature in your spine, your doctor may then refer you to a specialist. Next, an X-ray is taken of the spine to determine the location and degree of spinal curvature.

After the X-ray, your doctor may also want to examine your wrist and bones too. Knowing your skeletal age and characteristics will help your doctor evaluate the rate of bone growth and progression of scoliosis. Your doctor may ask you to go in for checkups regularly in order to monitor the spinal curvature.

There is also a device called the inclinometer, or Scoliometer, which helps estimate the amount of curvature in the spine. The Scoliometer is handy in that it reduces X-ray exposure and is completely pain-free and non-invasive.

When the scoliosis progresses slowly, very little treatment may be needed. On the other hand, scoliosis in pre-menstrual girls is very likely to become aggressive in growth, especially the year before their first menstruation when they grow at a very rapid rate. Scoliosis can be exacerbated very quickly during this growth spurt. Once menstruation begins, their growth rate slows down and the scoliosis does not develop as rapidly.

Besides periodic checkups, treatment options may involve either the use of a brace or even surgery. People with mild cases of scoliosis generally lead very normal lifestyles. Braces are used when a child is still growing. The brace can help prevent further curving of the spine, but cannot cure scoliosis or forcibly reverse the curvature already there. When the scoliosis shows signs of potentially harming vital organ function, surgery for scoliosis – also known as spinal fusion – may help reduce the degree of curvature and prevent such damage. Doctors resort to surgery in only the most severe, debilitating cases of scoliosis.

Scoliosis can sometimes be very painful, and chiropractic care can help relieve much of that pain. Scoliosis is a disorder that cannot be “cured” per se, but chiropractic care can certainly help in managing and reducing the discomfort, enabling one to live with scoliosis more easily.

Scoliosis can be a worrisome, uncomfortable disorder even in its mildest stages. If you are concerned that you or child may have scoliosis, please contact your physician immediately.

 

Scoliosis and Golf

“Is scoliosis and golf a good idea?” That seems to be a recurring question in my practice. Before I address it, first consider “what is scoliosis?”

Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine that is not supposed to be there. When you look at someone’s spine is supposed to be straight without any curvatures or shifts in the spine. Scoliosis begins with a ‘rotated’ spine followed by the curve.

Genetic pre-disposition appears to heavily determine who will get severe scoliosis. However, we would be remiss to undermine the role that environmental factors play in the nature and extent of one’s scoliosis. To this end, let’s consider the sport of golf (environmental factor) and scoliosis.

Scoliosis and golf create a lot of rotational forces on the spine. Given that a ‘rotated’ spine is a precondition to developing the ‘curve’ or scoliosis, golf and scoliosis may not be such a great combination. Swinging a golf club increases the occurrence of rotation in your spine, which one could argue, may promote scoliosis to progress.

If scoliosis runs in the family or if you have the genes for scoliosis, you would benefit from mitigating environmental factors, like certain sports, that may trigger, exacerbate or promote your scoliosis or its progression.

Anticipating their worst case scenario, the golf enthusiasts in my practice also ask me, “What about golf after scoliosis surgery…is that mission impossible?” Answer: That depends on the number of vertebra that are fused in your spine.

Golf after scoliosis surgery might be difficult depending on how many vertebra are fused in your spine.

When scoliosis patients opt for spinal fusion, on average, upwards of 70% of their spine gets fused. Given the resultant limited range of motion or rotation in one’s spine, golf after scoliosis surgery, in this scenario, would be mission impossible!

Fortunately, for Stacey Lewis, an LPGA Tour player, this was not the case. Stacey Lewis, diagnosed with scoliosis at age 11 underwent surgery after failing to achieve any correction from wearing a hard brace for 7-long years. The hard brace failed to hold any correction; in fact her curve progressed to 45 degrees prior to opting for surgery which included a rod and 5 titanium screws in her spine. But, Stacey Lewis was lucky. Her scoliosis surgery only fused a few bones. Unfortunately, her case is not the norm, most people opting for surgery will have may bones in their spine fused significantly diminishing any rotation in your spine.

I always caution anybody considering surgery in this day in age. The truth is there are better, safer, non-invasive, alternatives to surgery. Surgery outcomes are unpredictable at best. Given recent scoliosis advancements and treatments, coupled with poor scoliosis surgery outcomes, scoliosis surgery’s, risk reward profile does not warrant it a viable option in today’s environment. You have options. GOOD options. Learn about today’s better, safer, alternatives to scoliosis surgery.

 

Scoliosis Treatment

Prevention is always better than cure. However, it is difficult to prevent a disease like idiopathic Scoliosis, which has no known cause. Even if the cause is known, as in congenital Scoliosis, further research is required to prevent its occurrence. Therefore, Treatment is vital in Scoliosis.

Scoliosis, which is marked by abnormal spinal curvature, is confirmed through X-ray. Doctors then decide on the course of Treatment based on the age, gender, and health of the patient, and severity and location of the curve. A curvature greater than 25 to 30 degrees is considered significant, while that greater than 45 to 50 degrees is considered severe.

Doctors in certain countries use serial corrective plaster casts to treat infantile Scoliosis, and patients have benefited from them. The findings of several researchers indicate that exercise, muscle manipulation, medicines, or meditation only help in easing pain or discomfort, and do not rectify the curve. However, some patients claim to have benefited from nonsurgical procedures like yoga or physical exercise and diet. According to them, the curvature is not only prevented from growing, but is also rectified through these nonsurgical procedures.

In general, doctors take recourse to observation, braces, or surgery to treat Scoliosis. In cases where the curve is mild and the patient is an adult, observation is the best treatment option. The spinal curve tends to grow during adolescence; therefore, if a doctor predicts that the curve will worsen in a teen, bracing is recommended. Surgery is advised when the curve is over 40 degrees in the case of teenagers and children. In adults, the severity of the curve and the accompanying pain and discomfort often necessitate surgery. Surgery is also the only treatment option for congenital Scoliosis that is caused by abnormal vertebral development.

To conclude, certain Scoliosis cases only require observation. Others can be controlled or rectified through established treatment procedures involving braces or surgery, respectively. The earlier the spinal abnormality is noticed, the better will it respond to Scoliosis Treatment.

Treating Scoliosis – Rethinking the Scoliosis Treatment Model

The majority of adolescents diagnosed with scoliosis have been presented with two very unattractive treatment options for their spinal deformity: bracing and surgery. After reviewing dozens of research articles regarding the mechanics of this disease there seems to be a consensus among the experts regarding typical 3 dimensional patterns found within the scoliotic patient. One of the most consistent and often overlooked finding is the decrease in thoracic kyphosis. according to most literature this abnormal finding is found in nearly 90% of adolescents with a primary thoracic curvature. Now there is currently no known cause for spinal curvatures and all of the genetic research is inconclusive meaning so far there exists no specific gene that is passed down causing this disease., however there are genetic markers that are related to progression of the deformity but not necessarily cause.There are many theories as to the cause and most biomechanical theories start with the loss of normal kyphosis in the thoracic spine as a major consistent contributing factor in creating scoliosis.

When the spine loses or gains curves in the side view there are significant changes in the normal pressure on discs, spinal joint surfaces and even on the spinal cord itself as documented by Dr. Brieg. Since the spine will innately adjust its position to a lesser stress environment these side view changes almost always result in compensatory changes in other dimensions. If the majority of adolescents with scoliosis have major changes in the side view as a precursor to the compensatory shifting which eventually shows up on the full spine xray as a spinal curvature wouldn’t it make sense to investigate correcting any spinal changes to the side view early on before the spine reorganizes and compensates as it learns and grows?

It’s amazing to me that the only real tangible measurement for scoliosis is the lateral flexion component in the middle of the column when viewing the spine from front to back. A fairly rudimentary system for measuring this deviation known as Cobb’s angle is the only thing standing between a team of surgeons opening up a kids back and permanently fusing this lateral deviation. The entire medical model for scoliosis treatment is hanging its hat on a single component of a very complex disease. The logic behind this system is to stop progression of the curvature in fear that it will spiral out of control and crush the internal organs.

With recent information published by Dr’s Dolan and Weinstein regarding the ineffectiveness of rigid spinal bracing to have any real tangible ability to stop progression with about the same statistical success rate of letting it take its natural course, researchers have obviously approached the disease from a theory of simply pushing against the scoliosis curves in the middle. I believe this has the same effect as stopping a waterfall from the bottom up, ever tried it? Surgery in most cases does stop progression at the expense of tremendous functional loss. Gracovetsky’s book regarding the spinal engine discusses in exhausting detail the biomechanics of human movement. He explains how the spine creates torque through the counter swing of the pelvis and shoulders the torque is manifested in the spinal column and is used to create an extremely efficient system of locomotion. Surgically fusing the entire thoracic spine with titanium will cause this spinal engine to shut down and eventually cause enormous health problems in the future. Imagine fusing your entire foot and walking on it for the rest of your life, ever walk in a ski boot?

My discussion is really not designed to bash bracing and surgery, but rather to ask the question why isn’t there a better way? why don’t we look at the deformity from its onset and establish a sound theory as to why the body is maladapting to gravity? Well the good news is that the current research already points to very sound theories as to why scoliosis begins and gets worse.

There are two main contributing factors that cause scoliosis. Genetic predisposition and environmental factors. The future of scoliosis care will involve knowledge of these two factors shortly after detection of the scoliosis has been made. Then appropriately addressing the environmental factors like the loss of sagital spine curves through brain body based rehabilitation will substantially eliminate environmental influence of gravitational force on poor spine mechanics and postural disorganization. By proactively attacking poor biomechanics and posture in the early stages of the game the outcome (curve progression) will be altered potentially eliminating invasive reaction based treatment like rigid bracing and fusion surgery.

Article : Treating Scoliosis – Rethinking the Scoliosis Treatment Model

Scoliosis – Treatment and Epigenetics

The recent scoliosis genetic testing break-through has opened up an entirely new debate on whether the actual genetic risk for the condition can be reduced by the reduction of environmental factors that contribute to the cause and progression of the curvature. This is possible due to the recent (and ever growing) understanding of epigenetics.

So what in the heck are “epigenetics”…..I didn’t know either until recently, but here is the concept in a nutshell.

1. The human body has trillions of cells, each of which as a nucleus (command center). In each nucleus, DNA is tightly coiled around proteins called “histones” that serve as a support structures for the genes

2. Gene contain the codes for cells to produce various proteins and Darwin tells us that it takes many generations to “rewrite” this basic genetic code.

3. Various chemicals called “epigenetic marks” sit atop genes and offer basic instructions to them (basically they serve as an on or off switch)

4. All cell types contain the exact same DNA. Epigenetic markers silence certain gene sequences and active others. If the marks don’t work properly, cancer or cell death is possible.

5. (This is the really cool part) Stressors like a fatty diet can activate epigenetic markers, modifying histones, or adding methyl groups to DNA strands. These changes can turn genes on and off and/or may affect what gets passed down to your offspring.

6. If you over-stimulate gene for a certain condition (Scoliosis for example), you kids can inherit these over-activated sequences. That could mean a lifetime of battling unfavorable gene expression.

This means you don’t have to be a victim of your genetics AND environmental factors can ultimately change both factors in this condition (genetic and environmental factors), but that isn’t the biggest point to this post…

YOU MAY BE ABLE TO CHANGE THE SCOLIOSIS GENETIC RISK OF YOUR CHILDREN THOUGH ELIMINATING/REDUCING YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL SCOLIOSIS RISK FACTORS NOW!

Further proof that even mild/moderate AIS curvatures need to be treated with a program that reduces/eliminates the environmental factors that cause scoliosis treatment.

In fact they even purposed an equation to explain the phenomenon: Genetics (G)+ Epigenetics (EpiG) + Environmental factors (E) = Phenotype (P) (the curve shape and size)

Basically the epigenetics theory is based on environmental factors being able to influence the “on/off” switch to pre-programmed genetic factors. So if her rehab is changing the environmental factors…well, it’s possible. This is why it is critically important that we shift our focus towards treatment strategies that focus on the environmental factors that contribute to the development of scoliosis of the spine and not focus on treating Cobb angles.

There was a recent article on how patients were able to lower their genetic risk for developing prostate cancer by manipulation of environmental factors. The same could probably be true for AIS.

Choosing An Alternative Scoliosis Treatment Provider

Alternative scoliosis treatment options vary greatly and can offer promising results but buyers beware. Websites that offer exciting new methods of treating scoliosis demonstrating results that seem too good to be true are often scams. The best way to discover whether or not a website offering alternative scoliosis treatment which is defined as treatment other than a medical standard of care such as rigid bracing or surgery is to conduct further research. A great place to start is to determine who is selling the treatment. If the treatment is not provided by a licensed healthcare professional such as a medical doctor, chiropractor, or physical therapist then quickly move on your child’s health is not worth the risk. The next step is to do a personal Google search of the provider of these scoliosis treatment methods to see what their background is and what kind of training or education is involved. In addition search any articles or publications by the provider and read their material which is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with their approach. The last step is to forward your clinical information directly to the provider and ask for a phone consultation to determine whether or not you feel confident in choosing this person to care for you or your child. In some instances you may even request to speak with others who have received scoliosis treatment and see if they had a good experience and outcome.

The interesting thing about healthcare is that when it comes to procedures and not just prescribing a medication, there is a significant difference in results based on skill level and knowledge of the clinician. This couldn’t be more true when choosing an alternative scoliosis treatment provider for your child. The majority of alternative therapies are performed outside the medical profession by chiropractors and physical therapists. So digging pretty deep and trying to find the most experienced leader of the pack is worth the extra time rather than just settling for the clinic next door that may provide that treatment method. Practitioners who have leadership and teaching roles are more likely to be up to speed on the latest advances in procedures and have more experience in general.

When choosing an alternative technique check to see if case studies are available, some methods may not have published research based on many obstacles like funding and length of time data has been collected. The fact that they are not published in a journal doesn’t necessarily mean the program of care is not valid. Look for doctors and therapists that have innovated new procedures or equipment relative to scoliosis, again this sets them above the general pack that may have just gotten the certificate for completing the required courses and aren’t as invested in their name remaining reputable, especially nationally. Clinics that have clients from outside their region are also a good indicator that they may know more than other centers closer to you and may be well worth the drive or flight.

When it comes to choosing an alternative scoliosis treatment provider make sure to do your research. The person you decide to hire may the successful step that prevents more invasive treatment options from being recommended or avoided.