Finding ways to treat childhood scoliosis without surgery is ideal for many patients and their parents. The benefits of avoiding surgery include less invasive procedures and lower costs for treatment. Further, it signifies that the curvature of the spine hasn’t developed to the point of surgery.
Initial treatment for scoliosis is observation. Patients whose spines curve less than 20 degrees may not need further treatment than this. To avoid surgery, children with scoliosis may require additional treatment to prevent their spines from curving as they develop. Here are the best options for non-surgical scoliosis treatment.
The most common treatment for patients with curvatures more than 20 degrees is bracing. Typically worn both day and night, scoliosis braces support the spine by applying pressure to specific areas. Many are custom-made, while some are adjustable, such as the Whisper Brace, which also allows for more flexibility than most braces.
Some children with scoliosis benefit from physical therapy. A common type of therapy for childhood scoliosis is the Schroth Method. Therapists encourage specific breathing and strengthening exercises in various positions, such as standing, sitting, lying down, and crouching on hands and knees. The Schroth Method is designed to:
- Improve posture
- Realign the spine
- Reduce pain
- Improve mobility
- Increase core strength
- Improve breathing
Mehta Casting is an aggressive treatment to stop the severe curvature of the spine in babies and toddlers. Doctors wrap a special cast around the patient’s back and chest to correct the spine. They then change the cast every two to three months to adjust the alignment.
Once a child is old enough to graduate out of casting, bracing or physical therapy may still be necessary to prevent surgery. Bracing is the most effective treatment for most cases of scoliosis because it offers continuous treatment. Talk to your doctor about which ways to treat childhood scoliosis without surgery are right for you.