Scoliosis is a complex disease that involves much more than just the bones of the spine. It affects the muscles, other soft tissues (like tendons, discs and ligaments) and the brain. Your body forms habits over time to counteract the scoliosis. It takes time to re-program these old patterns of behavior, especially if the scoliosis has existed for many years.
What to Expect
Many people want their scoliosis to be cured, and their spine to be completely straight. Unfortunately, this is only possible in a few select cases (if the scoliosis is very small, and it is caught very early in life). In most cases, scoliosis is something that can be reduced and stabilized, but never completely cured.
The goal of CLEAR treatment (and all other non-surgical scoliosis treatment methods, such as bracing) is not to be “scoliosis-free,” but to prevent the scoliosis from getting worse. This is similar to high blood pressure or diabetes. The goal is not to cure it but to control it successfully so that you can have the best possible quality of life without limitations or pain.
Many parents want to believe their child will be cured after five weeks of care. Unfortunately, this is not entirely realistic. It’s important to understand that, in most cases, the body has been living with scoliosis for many years. It’s simply not possible to completely straighten a spine in just a few weeks when it has been curved for so long. The brain, muscles and other tissues have changed. Even when the scoliosis is reduced after a few weeks, it will still take months of work for the body to adapt to the new position. Giving up or stopping treatment too soon will typically result in some or all of the correction being lost.
CLEAR Scoliosis Treatment
The goal of CLEAR Scoliosis Treatment is to reduce and stabilize the Cobb angles. This is easier to do in some cases than in others.
Many of these cases will need constant treatment for many years. Without it, the scoliosis can quickly progress to levels where surgery is recommended. For this reason, CLEAR doctors take cases of scoliosis in young children very seriously. Growing spines are at the greatest risk for curve progression, so doctors may prescribe additional exercises or home therapies – even for small curves.
For example, the doctor may ask the patient to obtain a Scoliosis Traction Chair for use at home. If the patient isn’t interested in participating in home therapies, the doctor may refer them to an orthopedist for bracing or surgery. Managing progressive scoliosis cases can be a risk for the doctor; if things get worse because the patient is not following their care plan, the doctor could be held liable.
Assessing Your Treatment
At the end of the treatment plan (around 12 to 18 visits), we’ll perform an exam and take an x-ray. The x-ray will show how effective the treatment has been. This doesn’t mean that the new position is permanent or that treatment is finished. After the re-exam, a new treatment plan will be recommended based upon a careful evaluation of many factors.
How much correction was achieved?
If it was less than expected, then more work needs to be done loosening up the spine. If it was greater than expected, then more work needs to be done stabilizing the spine to prevent things from returning to the way they were before.
How much growth does the patient have remaining?
If there is still a lot of growing left to do, reducing the treatment plan too soon can have disastrous consequences as the scoliosis resumes progressing.
Were the patient’s goals and expectations met?
Most adolescents are concerned about preventing progression & avoiding surgery. Most adults want to get out of pain and improve their physical function. The length of time needed to achieve these goals will vary from patient to patient.
Just like dental hygiene, practicing good spinal hygiene requires an ongoing commitment! Asking when you can stop your spinal exercises is like asking the dentist when you can stop brushing your teeth. The frequency of the treatment sessions and the amount of time spent doing exercises at home will gradually decrease over time with continued success and good results.
But CLEAR is not a cure for scoliosis, just like insulin is not a cure for diabetes. Our goal is to help you control your scoliosis so you can live the best possible life. Chiropractic care is just like eating a good diet and exercising regularly. If we want to stay as healthy as we can for as long as we can, these aren’t things we do once and then stop!
CLEAR Scoliosis Treatment can achieve amazing results. However, it’s not a “magic cure” for scoliosis. It involves dedication and effort. Before beginning treatment, make sure you have a detailed conversation with your CLEAR doctor about what you should reasonably expect in terms of results.