Scoliosis Treatment Begins in the Brain, Not in the Spine
Scoliosis Treatment Begins in the Brain, Not in the Spine“Idiopathic scoliosis” is term that has been present in recorded human history for almost 3,500 years,but the mystery of its “unknown cause” is slowly being discovered. As many experts have suspected fordecades, breakthroughs in scoliosis genetic testing (Scoliscore) and the scoliosis blood test haveuncovered sequences of genetic code that leave an individual “genetically pre-disposed” to thedevelopment of severe idiopathic scoliosis. However, since the condition doesn’t appear untiladolescence in the vast majority of patients, the search for environmental influences that are connectedto un-coordinated growth spurts is on-going.Virtually all current idiopathic scoliosis research is pointing towards a neurological deficit/under-development in the automatic postural control centers of the brain stem as the root cause of thecondition, but the factors that cause severe progression requiring scoliosis brace treatment and /orscoliosis surgery appear to be primarily environmental (bio-mechanical, bio-chemical, and specificactivity related) driven.Previous attempts in scoliosis treatment have entirely centered on treating the scoliosis spine itself andhave almost entirely ignored the obvious neurological component of idiopathic scoliosis. Scoliosis bracetreatment is a relatively simple minded approach to “guided growth” in which the spine is essentiallyforced into a straighter position (in the front view dimension only). The scoliosis spine growth mal-adapts to alter the bio-mechanical loading patterns provided by the scoliosis brace in an attempt to“out-smart” the developing pattern of the scoliosis spine. Unfortunately, this well-studied scoliosisbrace treatment approach has been found very ineffective due to the inability for idiopathic scoliosispatients to comply with the 23 hour a day, 7 day a week, 365 day a year scoliosis brace treatmentprotocol and those whom do comply experience significant muscle atrophy (muscle weakening) andscoliosis brace dependency in which they need to be “weaned” out of the scoliosis brace over the courseof weeks or months. In addition to not addressing the primary neurological cause of idiopathic scoliosis,recent research at the University of Vermont conducted on rat tails under simulated scoliosis braceconditions, suggests that scoliosis brace treatment may actually be causing permanent deformity to thescoliosis spine discs that could lead to further curve progression during adolescences or adulthood.Scoliosis surgery is a “brute force” approach to scoliosis treatment and has under gone manyadvancements since its inception in 1865, but even to this day the scoliosis treatment goal remains thesame…..complete multi-level spinal fusion. While most orthopedic surgeons make substantial efforts tolimit the number of vertebral segments fused during scoliosis surgery, it generally includes at least 5-6segments out of a total 24 moveable spinal vertebrae which completely immobilizes an approximately25% portion of the patients entire spinal column. The long-terms (15-20 years post scoliosis surgery) arevery poor in terms of chronic pain and quality of life measures. Dr. Robert Saulter of the TorontoHospital for Sick Children summed up the relationship between chronic dysfunction and chronic painwith is famous quote, “Restoration of function is more important than the relief of pain”. Unfortunatelyfor the idiopathic scoliosis patients whom undergo scoliosis surgery the chronic dysfunction (multiplelevel spinal fusion)will almost certainly lead to severe chronic pain at some point in their lifetime. Thismay be considered an acceptable trade off if the scoliosis surgery was a “life-saving” procedure, but the
research conducted on the effects of scoliosis surgery has concluded the procedures is primarilyindicated for cosmetic purposes and is not medically necessary. This is a generally accepted fact with inthe scoliosis treatment community, because scoliosis surgery does not improve cardiac function,pulmonary function, eliminate pain, or improve the adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patient’s quality oflife in the long-term follow up studies. It should be noted, that a fused scoliosis spine from scoliosissurgery is every bit (or more) dysfunctional that an un-treated scoliosis spine. Perhaps mostimportantly, scoliosis surgery is not and will not lead to a cure for scoliosis since it still fails to addressthe underlying neurological deficit/ under-development that is the root cause of idiopathic scoliosis.The concept of re-training the automatic postural control centers of the brain stem actually dates backseveral hundred years (if not much further back) to a time when young girls aspiring to becomedebutants practiced good posture by walking around balancing books on top of their heads (which is nota suggested scoliosis treatment). By making the head (temporarily) artificially heavier with the book,they essentially changed where their body neurologically perceived the center mass of their skull andcaused their “body schema” (the neurological “set point” for normal spinal posture) to react to theperceived postural change. Over time the repeated re-training of the young girl’s automatic posturalcontrol centers in her brain stem resulted in a permanent change in the “body schema” and theimproved posture simply, became “the new normal”. These very same principles (in a much moreeffective and advanced application) can be applied to scoliosis treatment and permanently alter thenatural course of the idiopathic scoliosis condition by treating the root cause of the condition. Thefuture of scoliosis treatment will be found in treating the scoliosis spine, by treating the automaticpostural control centers in the brain stem first.For more information please call 866-627-3009 or visit http://www.treatingscoliosis.com/.