What Are The Treatment Options for Scoliosis

Bracing has historically been the most common option, and is still frequently used in pediatric scoliosis cases where the spinal curve is 20 to 40 degrees. However, in order for bracing to be effective, scoliosis curves must be detected early.

Exercise, physical therapy, and a treatment regimen known as the Schroth method can also help. For more extreme cases, surgery may be indicated. In almost all treatment regimens, frequent monitoring of the spine is important to assess how well the treatment is working.

Brace types

Boston Brace

  • This was the first brace designed to help make scoliosis braces less noticeable underneath clothing. Boston Braces have Velcro straps that are able to be tightened to fit snuggly.

Bending Braces

  • These braces are only worn at night and are intended to help stop the progression of the spine’s curvature. The brace bends the patient in the opposite direction of the curve while they sleep.

Rigo-Chêneau Brace

  • These braces provide a custom fit for patients as they are manufactured using 3D scanning technology. Rigo-Chêneau braces open in the front making it is easier for patients to remove and put on.

Whisper Brace

  • This brace provides continuous corrective pressure similarly to other scoliosis braces but allows more freedom of movement. It also includes a monitoring system that provides clinicians and parents real-time compliance feedback via Bluetooth. This information is viewable on a mobile app downloaded to a mobile device.

Physical Therapy

  • Depending on the severity of the existing curve and where the patient is in their skeletal maturity physical therapy may be coupled with bracing to treat scoliosis.

Schroth Method

Some physical therapists are certified and trained in the Schroth Method. This entails a custom exercise regimen intended to correct the patient’s spine to a normal position. The exercises focus on three areas meant to address scoliosis in all 3 planes that may be affected:

  • Muscular symmetry and posture improvement
  • Breathing exercises known as rotational angular breathing
  • Coaching patients to be aware of their posture

Scoliosis Surgery

Surgery may be necessary if the spinal curvature becomes too severe or if the condition is detected too late in the patient’s skeletal maturity. There are different surgical options that your doctor will discuss with you including:

Spinal fusion

  • In this procedure, two or more of the vertebrae in the spine are connected so they can’t move on their own. Metal screws, rods, hooks, or wires are used to keep that part of the spine straight while the bone material fuses together.

Expanding rod

  • If your care team sees that the scoliosis is progressing quickly at an early age, expandable rods can be attached along the spine that are adjustable in length as the child grows. The rods can then be lengthened every 3 to 6 months with additional surgery or via remote control adjustment in clinic.

Vertebral body tethering

  • In this procedure screws are placed along the outside edge of the abnormal spinal curve and a strong, flexible cord is threaded through the screws. By tightening the screws the cord tightens and the spine straightens. This procedure is performed using smaller incisions.

Dr. John Vorhies, Spine Surgeon at Stanford University and NSC Medical Advisor presents on Scoliosis Bracing