Dr. Andrew Arnold discussed the management of scoliosis.

What is scoliosis? Do you or a friend/family member have scoliosis? Can they be treated without surgery? The answers to these questions lie ahead…

What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition where a person’s spine curves out of position. When looked at from behind, someone with scoliosis will have a sideways bend in their spine, as opposed to being perfectly straight. This is a problem that affects the spine in a 3D fashion… Yes, the spine curves sideways, but it can also bend either backwards or forwards, as well as twist to the left or right.

How common are they?

There is a very good chance someone in your circle has scoliosis. In our younger population, approximately 3-4% are affected. In the 50+ population, this figure jumps to 30-40%! You may even have one yourself and not even know it. They are quite common, and many cases have no effect on the way a person lives their life. Only a small percentage of scoliosis cases create significant health issues for the people affected by them.

How are they treated?

There are various treatment options for scoliosis, including invasive and non-invasive treatments. Invasive options like surgery are starting to become less and less common these days. With advances in technology over the past decades, bracing has become a very popular and effective way of treating scoliosis, in most cases.

Screening for scoliosis at High school has led to much earlier detection of cases across the board. The earlier in the disease process they are caught, the more effective non-invasive treatments like bracing will be at halting the progression of the curves.

Types of brace

There are three main types of brace that could be used to help treat scoliosis:

  • Traditional TLSO braces: This stands for ‘Thoraco-lumbar-sacral-orthosis’. These are hard braces and come in different forms. They apply pressure to the spine in three specific places with the aim of correcting a curve. These braces work in a relatively 2-dimensional way and are made with the aid of a 2D x-ray of the spine.
  • Dynamic braces: A flexible brace that holds a person in a ‘corrected’ position via the use of elastic straps which apply forces to the body and help to provide stability to the spine. This is a technique commonly used in the adolescent age group.
  • Custom rigid braces: A computer-aided 3D assessment of a person with scoliosis is carried out and the results are used to create a unique brace for that person, and that person only. These braces aim to correct the spinal curves in all 3 planes of motion. Although these are more expensive than the other options, evidence suggests these types of brace are very successful in stunting the progression of an abnormal spinal curve. In many cases, curves have also been reduced with the use of this brace.

Combination therapy

Evidence suggests that wearing a brace, combined with the use of corrective exercises, gives the person the best chance of success at stopping the progression, or even improving the severity of their curve. It is important that a person gets an individualised treatment program based on the positioning and severity of their spinal curves.

If you would like more information on bracing for scoliosis, please contact one of our Cranbourne Chiropractors today on 5998 4554 to book an appointment. We would be happy to discuss your options and help you choose the best pathway for you.

References

  1. 2020. Scoliosis bracing. [Online]. Available from: https://www.scolicare.com/bracing/. [Accessed 10 Jun 2020]
  2. Scoliosis Association UK. 2020. Bracing. [Online]. Available from: https://www.sauk.org.uk/scoliosis-treatment/bracing. [Accessed 10 Jun 2020]
  3. UK Scoliosis Clinic. 2020. Scoliosis bracing is becoming more effective. [Online]. Available from: https://scoliosisclinic.co.uk/blog/scoliosis-bracing-is-becoming-more-effective/. [Accessed 10 Jun 2020]

About the author:

Dr. Andrew Arnold is the senior Chiropractor and practice owner at Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centre.

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