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Thread: Bracing in adults to prevent scoliosis progression

  1. #1
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    Bracing with spinecor for adults for temporary gains of a straighter spine

    Dealing with scoliosis, is probably the most confusing aspect of my life on what to do with it when your scoliosis curve is at the grey area of 46-52 degrees(see my xray below my post). I just don't know what to do and fear the worst that it may progress in the future. Perhaps I keep thinking to myself, surgery may be better for me, but then again it may very well end up worse or just the same, considering the fact that i love my job and often work 12 hours a day sitting at an office desk/chair. Crunch times are also pretty common in the place I work in.

    Recently I stumbled upon this site http://www.idiopathicscoliosis.com/bracing-in-adults
    which claims to halt progression and minimize pain in scoliotic adults. I have a structural idiopathic curve and was wondering what you people think about this treatment. I know and have read interviews and articles in NSF that bracing does not do anything when it comes to halting progression nor does exercise, but it is better to at least do something about it than end up in regret later on for having not take any action at all if the scoliosis worsens. And if it does, then what do I do? Go through surgery, or just live with it hoping that when I get older It wouldn't be that bad since progression is slow and perhaps I just live with the pain?

    I guess this may be my only option. I am already constantly self conscious about my posture, and do everything to counteract my scoliotic curve by counter posturing myself to prevent from leaning into my natural scoliosis state. I have 3 curves and do schroth isolation exercises for each curve, bending my spine opposite the direction of the scoliosis. Sleep with 3 pillows to bend the spine opposite the curvatures, sit in my office with a cushion underneath my right buttock for the lumbar curve, and a shoulder weight on my left shoulder for my cervical curve, while I purposely shift my trunk leftwards so that it is more centered with my pelvis.

    People think i am overacting when they see me and sometimes i question myself is any of what i am really doing working at all, or am i just needlessly anxious about it. Whichever the case, the confusion and ambiguity never leaves me.

    x-rayfull.jpg
    Last edited by Jinseeker; 02-11-2016 at 08:25 AM.
    31 yr old male with non-progressive Idiopathic scoliosis

    15-37 degrees- upper thoracic ( w/ left shoulder trap higher, head tilted more to the right)
    45-52 degrees- mid thoracic (to the right, w/ rib hump)
    25-30 degrees- lumbosacral curve (to the left w/ lumbar hump, right pelvis is higher than left)

    currently doing schroth exercises and counter postural techniques("side shifting")
    using rib and lumbar support belts. still contemplative about surgery.

    >>My X-ray<<

  2. #2
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    Hi Jin,

    the adult SpineCor brace is intended for pain relief. Here is a blurb about it:

    <snip>A new and innovative approach to spinal treatment in adults targets pain relief by providing postural rehabilitation and spinal offloading.

    Adults with Scoliosis are now being successfully treated with the SpineCor Dynamic Scoliosis Brace. The goal of treatment in not to correct the adult scoliosis, as that is not possible with a brace, but rather to help support the spine and alleviate pain.

    The new SpineCor Pain Relief Back Brace is a neuro-muscular-skeletal rehabilitation tool for treating abnormal spinal loading and abnormal posture; it is not a simple back support brace.<snip>

    Possibly something to try if you suffer pain, but otherwise it will not prevent progression.

    Good luck,
    Gayle, age 49
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    5/10 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    5/16 6 yrs post-op, 24*T/ 22* L, mild increase in curves, watching

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your reply.
    However, if you look in the site I linked, they also say their goal is to halt progression with the spinecor brace.
    31 yr old male with non-progressive Idiopathic scoliosis

    15-37 degrees- upper thoracic ( w/ left shoulder trap higher, head tilted more to the right)
    45-52 degrees- mid thoracic (to the right, w/ rib hump)
    25-30 degrees- lumbosacral curve (to the left w/ lumbar hump, right pelvis is higher than left)

    currently doing schroth exercises and counter postural techniques("side shifting")
    using rib and lumbar support belts. still contemplative about surgery.

    >>My X-ray<<

  4. #4
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    Do you have pain now? Is there documented recent progression?

    From reading testimonials, I think most surgeons would be reluctant to fuse you if you don't have uncontrollable pain and/or recent progression. If you stayed that way the rest of your life with no progression, is that acceptable to you? You might not progress.

    One exception might be Dr. Hey if he thought waiting would result in a longer fusion. That's what I understand from his blog.

    Maybe get some more opinions including one from Dr. Hey. I would ask these guys how likely it i that the fusion would extend further into your lumbar if you wait and it progresses. If thoracic fusion is likely to straighten the lumbar enough then you might never need your lumbar fused. You might never need it fused if you do nothing also. All you can do is get opinions. They will likely differ, unfortunately.

    Good luck.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jinseeker View Post
    Thanks for your reply.
    However, if you look in the site I linked, they also say their goal is to halt progression with the spinecor brace.
    Even if it did halt progression, you only wear it two years, yes? You would continue progressing when you take it off and perhaps at a faster rate since you won't have any muscle tone from being supported for two years in a brace.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  6. #6
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    I don't think you're overreacting. Unfortunately, there just hasn't been a ton of interest in the research for adults with scoliosis - almost everything is focussed on kids. That makes it a lot harder to know what to suggest to an adult who wants to avoid future back problems.

    There's a group in Italy (ISICO, based in Milan) with an orthopedic surgeon who has been doing a great deal of research into the effects of exercise and bracing on scoliosis. There are a fair amount of snake oil salesmen in the exercise realm, unfortunately, but nothing I've seen about this center suggest to me that they're anything other than honest researchers looking into a treatment.

    Most of their work involves children, but he has recently been discussing the role of exercise in adults. Here's what he says about the topic

    "In the literature, we find a growing number of data confirming that possibility that exercise alone can, in some cases, slow down the developments of the scoliotic curve, not only in the child but also in the adult.The reduction of the scoliotic curve certainly does not indicate a reduction of deformity but a recovery of the postural collapse, which is present in upright posture."

    Unless you're in Italy anyway, I'm not recommending a visit to their clinic. But I did want you to know that researchers in this field are looking into the role of exercise in slowing the progression of the disorder in adults. Dr. Mehta (a doctor and patient in the realm of scoliosis) also uses exercise in adulthood for herself.

    Here's a link to the paper from the ISICO clinic - http://en.isico.it/isico/pdf/approach/text.pdf. What he and other people in this field talk about is active correction - that is, becoming aware all of the time of how your body is positioned - so that correcting it becomes a kind of second sense. He (and others) feel that this keeps the body from collapsing into the curve and thus making the curve grow larger.

    For specific exercise, the paper touches on a few notions about self correction. Dr. Mehta talks about doing side shift (you can google for the article on this site), but this is still a young area of published research, so there aren't a ton of great pointers. I just wanted to let you know that there are people looking into the role of exercise in slowing the curve progression for adults.

    I have not seen much interest, even in this group in Italy, about the role of bracing in adults. I suspect that's because there's no real end point to bracing in an adult, and no one really wants to prescribe a brace for life. That's no to say that there won't be reseearch in the future showing a role for bracing in adults, but there's nothing at the moment which would support it as a treatment for adults.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pooka1 View Post
    Even if it did halt progression, you only wear it two years, yes? You would continue progressing when you take it off and perhaps at a faster rate since you won't have any muscle tone from being supported for two years in a brace.
    Really? only 2 years. But take note this is the spinecor brace not the traditional braces. This one actually supports the muscles only making them stronger instead of atrophying it.

    As for me, there has been no documented progression, and my pain has been tolerable with exercise alone. My worries are if it would worsen and i am at a point where exercise can no longer ease pain when I get even older. Perhaps doing fusion now while I am still young would be better, but i am curious as to how many adults here have kept from going through with surgery from a successful attempt to halt their curvatures with a brace like spinecor.

    Thanks for your input.
    31 yr old male with non-progressive Idiopathic scoliosis

    15-37 degrees- upper thoracic ( w/ left shoulder trap higher, head tilted more to the right)
    45-52 degrees- mid thoracic (to the right, w/ rib hump)
    25-30 degrees- lumbosacral curve (to the left w/ lumbar hump, right pelvis is higher than left)

    currently doing schroth exercises and counter postural techniques("side shifting")
    using rib and lumbar support belts. still contemplative about surgery.

    >>My X-ray<<

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jinseeker View Post
    Thanks for your reply.
    However, if you look in the site I linked, they also say their goal is to halt progression with the spinecor brace.
    Yes, I see what you're referring to on the site. A few things about the statement (brace stops progression in adults):

    * He doesn't say what he's basing that on, and I have not yet seen any research on this topic. I'll give it a look today and see if there's something new. I can also try writing to the ISICO group to see what they think - they've been helpful in the past.
    * The one example he posts (of a reduction in curve) is unclear (to me). It sounds like it's someone who developed scoliosis as an adult, which is not really the same thing as people who had curves as kids. Also, he doesn't say whether the decrease in the curve is in or out of brace. Braces, while they're worn, do decrease the curve. But, as soon as you take them off, the curve goes back to normal. So, he'd have to be clearer about whether this patient saw a reduction in her curve *after she'd been out of brace for at least 48 hours*. You'd also want to know how she fared two to five years down the road.

    Again, I don't have any evidence that is *doesn't* work - I'd just be very careful, in this case, about claims that don't seem to be supported by the literature. How Gayle summarized the Spinecor literature is also my understanding of it - there is some support for the idea that the brace addresses the pain, but no claim beyond that.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jinseeker View Post

    As for me, there has been no documented progression, .
    Ah, i'd missed your tagline before I posted - it looks like you're already doing exercise, and it also looks as if (maybe because of that and maybe not) you're also not seeing progression.

    I'd say that whatever you're doing looks like it's working for you. I'll dig into the research about spinecor and adults and see what I can find.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jinseeker View Post
    Really? only 2 years. But take note this is the spinecor brace not the traditional braces. This one actually supports the muscles only making them stronger instead of atrophying it.
    I am talking about the Spinecor brace. We had a woman on the forum. That was the protocol although I don't think she wore it for to years. It did help with her pain. There are other testimonials in a Canadian popular magazine (i.e., anecdote) where it helped adults with pain. I believe it helps adults with pain. I just don't know what they do after two years.

    As for me, there has been no documented progression, and my pain has been tolerable with exercise alone. My worries are if it would worsen and i am at a point where exercise can no longer ease pain when I get even older. Perhaps doing fusion now while I am still young would be better, but i am curious as to how many adults here have kept from going through with surgery from a successful attempt to halt their curvatures with a brace like spinecor.

    Thanks for your input.
    You may never progress! You may be able to control the pain with PT the rest of your life! I can understand why surgeons would not want to fuse you. I think they take people for whom conservative methods are not controlling pain. The one exception out there might be Dr. Hey who seems concerned with doing shorter/earlier fusions versus longer/later fusions. I can see that concern if it means losing levels in the lumbar.

    If you worsen, you can cross that bridge at that time.

    While Spinecor may have a goal to halt progression, they need to SHOW that brace wear for two years can halt progression. And then they need to address what happens AFTER the two years when your muscles are atrophied.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 01-08-2014 at 10:46 AM.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  11. #11
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    @hdugger:

    You are right on where I am coming from. It just makes more sense to me that by knowing how your scoliosis curves, you can somehow self correct it to some extent by being mindful of it all the time until it becomes second nature. That is at least my goal, whether or not it doesn't work, at least i've know i tried everything i could to address the issue.

    My curve is structural, but somehow it may not be 100%, since when I bend my torso to my right, my curve actually gets less, when i bend to my left, it gets worse. This was proven through bending x-rays. My lumbar hump also seems to disappear when I arch my lower back forwards compared to when i am standing completely straight. Does that mean that my curve may still be partially non-structural?

    Hopefully you can update me with the progress of this italian clinic, and do hope that one day, the role of exercise and bracing becomes more mainstreamed even for adults with severe scoliosis. Spinal fusion is not neccessarily the best way to always go. I couldn't imagine how I'd be able to work sitting on chair for 12 hrs a day had my spine been fused, when in fact the saving grace from pain for me all these years was the ability to twist and bend to address the muscle imbalances of my back.

    I have heard of Dr. Min Mehta, and i am currently trying to find her contact information. I've scouted the web and i still haven't found it. I think her research on side-shifting is great, and if it works on kids to not just halt their progression but correct their curves, at least you'd think maybe it would work on stopping progression on an adult as well.
    Last edited by Jinseeker; 01-08-2014 at 10:50 AM.
    31 yr old male with non-progressive Idiopathic scoliosis

    15-37 degrees- upper thoracic ( w/ left shoulder trap higher, head tilted more to the right)
    45-52 degrees- mid thoracic (to the right, w/ rib hump)
    25-30 degrees- lumbosacral curve (to the left w/ lumbar hump, right pelvis is higher than left)

    currently doing schroth exercises and counter postural techniques("side shifting")
    using rib and lumbar support belts. still contemplative about surgery.

    >>My X-ray<<

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jinseeker View Post
    My curve is structural, but somehow it may not be 100%, since when I bend my torso to my right, my curve actually gets less, when i bend to my left, it gets worse. This was proven through bending x-rays. My lumbar hump also seems to disappear when I arch my lower back forwards compared to when i am standing completely straight. Does that mean that my curve may still be partially non-structural?
    All but probably the stiffest structural curves bend out some. I think my daughters could bend out their structural curves that were in the fifties to the thirties. But they could bend out their compensatory curves almost completely. So it's the amount or percentage you can bend them out, not THAT they can be bent out, that determines structural versus compensatory as far as I know.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 01-08-2014 at 11:04 AM.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jinseeker View Post
    You are right on where I am coming from. It just makes more sense to me that by knowing how your scoliosis curves, you can somehow self correct it to some extent by being mindful of it all the time until it becomes second nature. That is at least my goal, whether or not it doesn't work, at least i've know i tried everything i could to address the issue. .
    That makes complete sense to me, and I hope you'll keep us updated on your (hopefully!) lack of progression. My son, who is a few years younger then you, also has a stable curve and exercises. It's less clear that that's the cause of the lack of progression, in his case, because he has a type of scoliosis which tends to progress less in adulthood. It *is* clear, however, that he looks much, much straighter and balanced since he started exercising. Like you, he is just mindful of his position at all times - it's second nature for him.

    Dr. Mehta, unfortunately, is retired. Tonibunny, over in the Scoliosis Support forum in the UK, met with her recently, but I suspect she is not still responding to emails. However, there is a PT clinic in the hospital where she used to work run by Tony Betts, and he has a good deal of knowledge (and is publishing reports) in this area. You might try to reach out to him - since he worked with Dr. Mehta and, likely, has the greatest depth of knowledge in side-shift of anyone practicing in this area.

    As Pooka pointed out, we have only had one adult patient on this forum using the Spinecor, so our knowledge is not very deep on this topic. Here is that same posters discussion about her experience, over on the Scoliosis Support forums - http://www.scoliosis-support.org/showthread.php?t=8948.

    Best of luck, and do let us know how everything turns out.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pooka1 View Post
    All but probably the stiffest structural curves bend out some. I think my daughters could bend out their structural curves that were in the fifties to the thirties. But they could bend out their compensatory curves almost completely. So it's the amount or percentage you can bend them out, not THAT they can be bent out, that determines structural versus compensatory as far as I know.

    Hope this helps.
    I mis-remembered this and was partly right and partly wrong... here are what the curves bent out to just prior to surgery... it is my understanding they do this to help select fusion levels:

    Kid #1: Thoracic: 55* -> 23* = structural
    Lumbar: 34* -> 8* = compensatory

    Kid #2: Thoracic: 54* -> 38* = structural
    Lumbar: 38* -> 4* = compensatory

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 01-08-2014 at 11:38 AM.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by hdugger View Post
    My son, who is a few years younger then you, also has a stable curve and exercises. It's less clear that that's the cause of the lack of progression, in his case, because he has a type of scoliosis which tends to progress less in adulthood.

    Never heard of a scoliosis curve that tends to progress less in adulthood? would that be a curve less than 40 degrees?
    31 yr old male with non-progressive Idiopathic scoliosis

    15-37 degrees- upper thoracic ( w/ left shoulder trap higher, head tilted more to the right)
    45-52 degrees- mid thoracic (to the right, w/ rib hump)
    25-30 degrees- lumbosacral curve (to the left w/ lumbar hump, right pelvis is higher than left)

    currently doing schroth exercises and counter postural techniques("side shifting")
    using rib and lumbar support belts. still contemplative about surgery.

    >>My X-ray<<

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