Scoliosis Affects the Entire Body
Scoliosis is generally viewed as a lateral curvature of the spine with an axial twist that causes a distortion of the ribs. Current research shows that ideopathic scoliosis is a multifaceted disease that compromises five of the body's systems: digestive, hormonal, muscular, osseous (bones), and neurological.
Scoliosis affects the entire skeletal system including the spine, ribs, and pelvis. It impacts upon the brain and central nervous system and affects the body's hormonal and digestive systems. It can deplete the body's nutritional resources and damage its major organs including the heart and lungs.
Some factors that can cause scoliosis include: cerebral palsy, birth defects, muscular dystrophy and Marfan syndrome. However, 80% of scoliosis is idiopathic (unknown in origin).
According to the International Scoliosis Society, one in nine females and a smaller percentage of males have some sign of scoliosis. Approximately 4% of the general population is affected. While the average patient is between 10-15 years of age, many adults suffer from this disease as well.
Conditions arising as a result of scoliosis include rib deformity, shortness of breath, digestive problems, chronic fatigue, acute or dull back pain, leg, hip, and knee pain, acute headaches, mood swings, and menstrual disturbances.
Scoliosis is a progressive condition that can continue to progress even after skeletal maturity. Millions of scoliosis sufferers are routinely misinformed about the accelerating nature of their spinal curvature progression
Where Scoliosis Surgery Fails
While surgery may be necessary in some cases, in many cases it is not. Paul Harrington, known for inventing the surgery that implants metal rods in scoliotic spines, stated in 1963, "metal does not cure the disease" of scoliosis, which is a condition involving much more than the spinal column.
Consider these facts:
of surgery include: hooks becoming dislodged, fracture of the rods, skin
protrusion of the upper end of the rods, pseudarthrosis (spine did not
fuse), and pain where there once was none (neurological problem).
patients are susceptible to crankshaft phenomenon (worsening of the
rotation and rib deformity).
affects the entire skeleton (i.e. rib deformities) and impacts on
neurological and hormonal systems. Surgical rods do nothing to address
the wide range of bodily structures and systems affected by the disease.
· Initial average loss of spinal correction post-surgery is 3.2 degrees in the first year and
6.5 after two years with continued loss of 1.0 degrees per year throughout life.
Aggressive Non-Surgical Therapy
Exercise Therapy: The Non-Surgical Scoliosis Treatment program utilizes a proven method of three dimensional respiratory breathing exercises . These exercises are designed to strengthen spinal and pelvic muscles, reshape rib deformity and increase the vital capacity of the lungs.
Nutritional Support: Some scoliosis patients are found to have specific patterns of nutritional and hormonal imbalances. These include depressed levels of essential trace minerals selenium, zinc, and iron as well as absorption problems. When a nutritional imbalance is suspected, the appropriate referral to a nutritionist is made.
Research has shown the importance of evaluating the neurological system in patients with scoliosis. Cerebello-vestibular dysfunction has been linked to abnormal spinal curvatures.Treatment plans that target these areas have been shown to improve balance, posture and spinal alignment.
Video Electronystagmography is the "gold standard" in the assessment of these systems as well as brain, brainstem and cerebellar control of eye movements. This non invasive diagnostic test can objectively diagnose between Cerebello-vestibular dysfunction and cortical imbalances which may be one of the underlying causes of abnormal curvatures of the spine.
A study of labyrinthine function in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. I. An electro-nystagmographic study.
Spontaneous nystagmus (SN) and positional nystagmus (PN) were found in 24 out of the 47 patients with single curvatures and in only one subject in the control group (P less than 0.001).
Significant differences were observed in the caloric response between right and left scoliotic patients (P less than 0.05). The right convex patients had a sensitivity dominance in the right labyrinth and the left convex patients in the left labyrinth (Acta Orthop Scand 1979 Dec;50(6 Pt 2):759-69 Sahlstrand T, Petruson B.)
Vestibular mechanisms involved in idiopathic scoliosis:
It appears, however, that, in
children, a slight unbalance in the activity of vestibular complex of
both sides escapes the neuronal mechanisms responsible for vestibular
compensation and leads to the spinal curvature which characterises
The results indicated that
subjects with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis had a significantly
decreased duration of postrotatory nystagmus as well as irregularities
in nystagmus form. The recommendation was made that a neurological
examination, including assessment of vestibular function, be
incorporated into screening methods for scoliosis.
Significant differences were
found between patients with right convex curves and those with left
convex curves in the distribution of eye predominance and in
Treating Adult Scoliosis*
Should Adults With Scoliosis Be Braced?
Yes. In many cases, bracing can help reduce scoliosis curvature in adults. A brief review on the reasons bracing is used for scoliosis treatment and an overview about how bone rebuilds itself will help explain why this is so.
1. To stop the curve-forming pressures on the vertebra
2. To reverse and correct any existing vertebra deformity caused by the curvature pressures before bracing treatment began.
The physiologic conditions exist for both adult and child bracing to be effective.
dynamically applied by a brace to the open-wedge side of the vertebra
will cause bone to remodel.
Bone is always in the state of remodeling -- reforming itself. In fact, approximately 10% of a person’s total bone mass is always in a state of remodeling. There is no age restriction on bone remodeling. However, remodeling of bone occurs at a quicker rate among children and at a slower rate as one ages.
Bone remodeling has been known about for over a century. Julius Wolff published his seminal 1892 monograph on bone remodeling in which he observed that bone is reshaped in response to the forces acting on it. (ref. 1) Wolff noted that bone is rebuilt more if there are stresses on the bone, less if there are not. His observation of fact became known as Wolff's law.
principle behind Wolff’s law is that soft tissue and bone respectively
heal according to the manner in which they are stressed. Healing tissue
responds to stress by reacting along the lines of the given stress. For
optimum healing, tissue must be stressed gradually to accept a given
force (ref. 2). This relationship between the mass and form of a bone to
the forces applied to it was also appreciated by Galileo (ref. 3), who
is credited with being the first to understand the balance of forces in
beam bending and with applying this understanding to the mechanical
analysis of bone.
1. Remodelling is triggered not by principal stress but by “flexure”
2. Repetitive dynamic loads placed on bone trigger remodelling; static loads do not.
easy to see how dynamic bone remodeling applies the vertebra of the
spine -- maintain equal pressures on both sides of the vertebra during
motion and they will model into their normal shape. This holds true for
children. This holds true for adults.
SpineCor Treatment Overview
SpineCor® is a new breakthrough treatment for idiopathic scoliosis utilising a dynamic corrective brace (DCB), clinical assistant diagnostic software (SAS) and postural measurement equipment (Freepoint). In worldwide clinical use, this new treatment has been shown to be effective in 89% of cases (either by stabilisation or improvement in (Cobb) angle of the curve).
The SpineCor® treatment approach is completely different to that of traditional 3-point pressure rigid braces; it is the first and only true dynamic bracing system for idiopathic scoliosis. SpineCor®’s unique approach to treatment by global postural re-education has been shown to give progressive correction over time which, unlike any previous brace treatment, is extremely stable post brace weaning.
Clinical experience to date also shows better compliance and cosmetic results.
Allows patients four hours per day out of brace
Allows total freedom of movement
Offers better cosmesis under clothing, and
Is cooler to wear.
With all of these benefits, it is not difficult to see why compliance might be better than with bulky, rigid braces that severely restrict movement and must be worn 23 hours per day.
Although to date no specific study has been undertaken to quantify cosmetic improvement, subjectively, some striking improvements have been observed clinically. Additionally, some very positive postural changes have been noted in cases where there has been no change in Cobb angle.
· A much more acceptable treatment to patients, being cooler to wear, less restrictive, more easily concealed under clothing and 4 hours of out of brace time per day.
· No side effects. Rigid braces cause muscle atrophy and can be harmful to normal development in a growing child.
· Excellent treatment results, particularly when treatment is started early.
· Excellent stability of treatment results post bracing.
· Neuromuscular integration for maintenance of improved posture.
· Potential to reduce incidence of surgical intervention.
SpineCor® is a highly effective for the early treatment of idiopathic scoliosis as demonstrated in the case study and also offers significant benefits to patients who present late. The real challenge is, therefore, to increase awareness of the absolute importance of early diagnosis and, that a viable treatment for early intervention is now available.
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