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Thread: Bracing System That Reduces Curves

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
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    Bracing System That Reduces Curves

    I am new to this forum. Just over 4 months ago, our two children were thriving as far as we knew, and we were doing what normal families do. Then, 4 months ago, scoliosis with largest curve of 24 degrees was confirmed in my son of 5 years old. We thought we should get our daughter checked as well, and a couple weeks ago an S-curve in my 8 year old daughter was confirmed with 19 and 20 degree curves. I've done a ton of research and we found an amazing treatment center. Our son has been in a brace since late August and our daughter is being fitted for a brace as I write this.

    I plan to write more on this thread, but here is my recent comment on another thread to a person that was understandably skeptical of the bracing method that we have chosen:


    I understand your skepticism. I am a physical therapist who is very skeptical of a lot of chiropractic methods, and I am a skeptic in general.

    Our son has a 24 degree curve that was identified in July this year and he is only 5 years old. I read all the pertaining peer-reviewed literature that I could find for scoliosis treatment, and was deflated to find that I would just be told to wait and see if it gets worse. We were referred to Shrinerís near where we live in Washington State, but we didn't go. In doing my online searches, I came across this place in California that claimed to be not only preventing progression of curves, but significantly reducing them with a bracing technique that is entirely their own. Compared to the literature, there claims seemed to be too good to be true. In addition, the person behind this is a chiropractor, so I initially dismissed this as fake.

    But in doing more research, I found no other alternatives. So I thought, why not give them a call. That call was at least convincing enough to do a Skype consult (free) with Dr. Matt Janzen, who started this method of scoliosis treatment. I now regret how short I was with him at first, but I immediately wanted to know why there is nothing in the literature about this method and why no one else seems to know about this and why every kid with scoliosis isnít going there. He explained that, about 10 years ago, he decided that there has to be a better way of addressing idiopathic scoliosis than the standard "wait and see method" until they reach bracing level. Then go to a brace that might slow progression until the 40 degree mark usually resulting in a recommendation for surgery.

    At this point, I will tell you that this guy has an understanding of the pertaining anatomy as well as any orthopedic surgeon. He is also a mechanical/fabrication whiz.

    Without disclosing proprietary information for a method that is really innovative and new by medical standards (10 years is nothing by medical standards), here are some keys to the method.
    1. The process to get the patient measured for the brace to have it be corrective is one-of-a-kind and Iím sure proprietary. I wonít describe it in detail, but it is genius.
    2. They rarely use x-rays (maybe one or 2 if needed). They use a stand-up, open MRI unit to get the baseline spine image and throughout the brace fitting and adjusting periods. These non-diagnostic MRIs only take 2.5 minutes (versus a typical diagnostic MRI that would be 30-60 minutes). They do as many MRIs (could be 10 or more but usually less than that) as needed to get the initial brace fit as good as they feel like they can. For example, my son was at 24 degrees out of brace. He is now at essentially neutral in brace Ė less than 2 degrees of lateral curve anywhere along his spine. It took repeated brace adjustments and 4 MRIs and even scrapping the first brace and starting a new one to get his spine to be neutral in brace. It then takes more adjusting to eliminate pressure points. The measuring and fitting process takes several days typically.
    3. Brace wearing for the typical idiopathic scoliosis that they treat is usually 23-24 hours per day and the braces are very snug. Bracing continues until skeletal maturity. After the puberty stage of rapid growth ends Ė usually around 13 or so for girls (probably 95% of who they see are girls Ė since most idiopathic scoliosis occurs in girls), brace time each day can sometimes be reduced.
    4. Matt Janzen believes that nerve tension (spinal cord and spinal nerves not growing fast enough to stay with spine growth) is a huge causative factor if the not the primary cause of what is currently known as idiopathic scoliosis. For this reason, in most patient cases, neural stretching is a big emphasis to go along with bracing.
    5. Another part of the program for many patients is a custom ďstretching chairĒ that stretches against the curves even more aggressively than the brace, but just for 20-30 minutes, 2-3 times per day. This unit stretches rotationally at any angle as well as addressing the curvature.
    6. There are some additional and more minor measures that they sometimes employ as well.
    7. Key to their method is the idea of addressing the scoliosis three-demensionally. Reducing rotation is as important as reducing lateral curvature and they go together usually.
    8. They are aware of the danger of rib deformation with long-term bracing, and their system accounts for this.
    9. They have exercises to address the trunk strength loss that can occur with long-term bracing.


    This is better than their average results, but we met a family there with a 10 year old girl who arrived a year ago with an S shaped scoliosis with two, 60-degree curves. Her curves are now in the 20-25 degree range out of brace and in the single digits in brace. Of course her parents were told at Shrinerís and Seattle Childrenís hospital that surgery was the only option and that she would be limited her entire life. Her long-term outlook is now looking amazing! She could be scoliosis free when bracing is done.

    We talked to family after family from all over the US and all over the world that were in the midst of various stages of correction of curves.

    This method started 10 years ago. They now have many former patients, told that surgery was their best hope, who now live normal lives. Some donít even technically have scoliosis anymore with curves in the single digits.

    Have they had some patientís that didnít get better? Yes. Is this rare for them? They say yes and Iím now inclined to believe them. They point to compliance with bracing time, because not everyone keeps their kid in brace for the prescribed times. And even with good compliance, there could be some cases that donít work out for whatever reason. When we were there with our son, we talked to as many families as possible that had been coming for a while, and they were all seeing curve correction to some degree.

    Back to the question of why they do not have published research in peer-reviewed journals. They are only 10 years into this. To do studies that meet standards, they will have to have their braces electronically monitored for patient time-in-brace, just like previous studies of the Boston Brace and other braces. This will be expensive. They are working on a plan for this. In the mean time they are loaded with patients from all over the world and trying to hire to keep up.

    What we seem to have here is a really smart and capable guy with a sound knowledge of anatomy and physiology that has invented a method superior to any other. He happens to be a chiropractor. When he pointed it out to me, I realized that there is a lot in the medical literature that supports his method Ė relating to prolonged stretch on body tissues and nerve tension being a factor in scoliosis. Itís just that no one else has pieced it together and attempted a solution, or was capable of pulling it off.

    Are some chiropractors quacks? Sure. Are some MDs/surgeons quacks? Definitely. I gave this guy the benefit of the doubt, and he is legit.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    NC
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    This is post of the month in my opinion. See comments below

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustin76 View Post
    I am new to this forum. Just over 4 months ago, our two children were thriving as far as we knew, and we were doing what normal families do. Then, 4 months ago, scoliosis with largest curve of 24 degrees was confirmed in my son of 5 years old. We thought we should get our daughter checked as well, and a couple weeks ago an S-curve in my 8 year old daughter was confirmed with 19 and 20 degree curves. I've done a ton of research and we found an amazing treatment center. Our son has been in a brace since late August and our daughter is being fitted for a brace as I write this.
    I am sorry to hear your kids have scoliosis. Both my twins do also.

    I understand your skepticism. I am a physical therapist who is very skeptical of a lot of chiropractic methods, and I am a skeptic in general.
    Beyond excellent. You having science training. Chiros do not.

    Our son has a 24 degree curve that was identified in July this year and he is only 5 years old. I read all the pertaining peer-reviewed literature that I could find for scoliosis treatment, and was deflated to find that I would just be told to wait and see if it gets worse. We were referred to Shriner’s near where we live in Washington State, but we didn't go. In doing my online searches, I came across this place in California that claimed to be not only preventing progression of curves, but significantly reducing them with a bracing technique that is entirely their own. Compared to the literature, there claims seemed to be too good to be true. In addition, the person behind this is a chiropractor, so I initially dismissed this as fake.
    You have to be careful and clearly state you are dealing with JIS which is known to respond differently to bracing than AIS. We have had cases of "stone age" braces here that corrected JIS curves. So that is not unique to the chiro's brace.
    As I recall, while most JIS cases entail progression, a fair number spontaneously correct. Anyone studying JIS and making claims abut JIS has to beat that background spontaneous correction. The other thing with JIS is that unlike AIS, braces seems to correct the curve at least in the short term. Are the chiros claiming the brace corrects AIS curves? That would be unheard of and almost certainly not true. In AIS, braces at best can prevent progression but never effect a permanent correction.

    But in doing more research, I found no other alternatives. So I thought, why not give them a call. That call was at least convincing enough to do a Skype consult (free) with Dr. Matt Janzen, who started this method of scoliosis treatment. I now regret how short I was with him at first, but I immediately wanted to know why there is nothing in the literature about this method and why no one else seems to know about this and why every kid with scoliosis isn’t going there.
    LOL well chiros are probably used to being verbally assaulted because chiro is not a science, chiros have no science training, and should not be dabbling in scoliosis. That said, there are a lot of other lay people playing in this sandbox besides chiros... Schroth was invented by a lay person (and it shows). Her grandson is an orthopedic surgeon and tried to find results for the method before abandoning it and going to bracing. So it's a free for all.

    At this point, I will tell you that this guy has an understanding of the pertaining anatomy as well as any orthopedic surgeon. He is also a mechanical/fabrication whiz.
    He didn't acquire that in chiro chollege I can guarantee you that. Chiro schools have been likened to trade schools which required the lowest GPA of all the allied medical fields. He probably should have gone to med school.

    Without disclosing proprietary information for a method that is really innovative and new by medical standards (10 years is nothing by medical standards), here are some keys to the method.
    1. The process to get the patient measured for the brace to have it be corrective is one-of-a-kind and I’m sure proprietary. I won’t describe it in detail, but it is genius.
    It is CAD/CAM? I think that is being used.

    2. They rarely use x-rays (maybe one or 2 if needed). They use a stand-up, open MRI unit to get the baseline spine image and throughout the brace fitting and adjusting periods.
    That's good to hear because some of these chiros were taking a boatload of radiographs. Chiros taking radiographs is a combination that should not exist given their training.

    3. Brace wearing for the typical idiopathic scoliosis that they treat is usually 23-24 hours per day and the braces are very snug. Bracing continues until skeletal maturity. After the puberty stage of rapid growth ends – usually around 13 or so for girls (probably 95% of who they see are girls – since most idiopathic scoliosis occurs in girls), brace time each day can sometimes be reduced.
    I will bet my bank account the AIS results are different from the JIS results. Also, controlled studies indicate about half of the kids who wear a brace wore it needlessly. So half their successes are not due to the brace most likely. Then there are the failures despite brace wear. That needs to be honestly reported for JIS and AIS separately. Then there is how to define success. The BrAIST study defined "success" as having a curve up to 49* with up to 25% growth remaining. They needed to define something but what they selected in fact is not commensurate with how patients and parents define success which is no surgery. Some of these "successes" of bracing will in fact go on to surgery as a metaphysical certainty.

    4. Matt Janzen believes that nerve tension (spinal cord and spinal nerves not growing fast enough to stay with spine growth) is a huge causative factor if the not the primary cause of what is currently known as idiopathic scoliosis. For this reason, in most patient cases, neural stretching is a big emphasis to go along with bracing.
    There either is or is not medical evidence for this claim.

    5. Another part of the program for many patients is a custom “stretching chair” that stretches against the curves even more aggressively than the brace, but just for 20-30 minutes, 2-3 times per day. This unit stretches rotationally at any angle as well as addressing the curvature.
    Pass


    7. Key to their method is the idea of addressing the scoliosis three-dimensional. Reducing rotation is as important as reducing lateral curvature and they go together usually.
    All braces address the curve 3 dimensionally. Most work by removing the kyphosis as far as I know.

    8. They are aware of the danger of rib deformation with long-term bracing, and their system accounts for this.
    How?

    9. They have exercises to address the trunk strength loss that can occur with long-term bracing.
    Not possible with 24 hr/day bracing, yes?

    This is better than their average results, but we met a family there with a 10 year old girl who arrived a year ago with an S shaped scoliosis with two, 60-degree curves. Her curves are now in the 20-25 degree range out of brace and in the single digits in brace. Of course her parents were told at Shriner’s and Seattle Children’s hospital that surgery was the only option and that she would be limited her entire life. Her long-term outlook is now looking amazing! She could be scoliosis free when bracing is done.
    JIS. This is probably not an unusual trajectory for JIS with all bracing. Let's see what happens when she comes out of the brace in her teens if she sticks with it that long. She may be bitter she was not offered tethering so she doesn't have to wear a brace.

    This method started 10 years ago. They now have many former patients, told that surgery was their best hope, who now live normal lives. Some don’t even technically have scoliosis anymore with curves in the single digits.
    Not AIS cases. Braces don't correct AIS curves. You must be referring to JIS cases.

    Have they had some patient’s that didn’t get better? Yes. Is this rare for them? They say yes and I’m now inclined to believe them. They point to compliance with bracing time, because not everyone keeps their kid in brace for the prescribed times. And even with good compliance, there could be some cases that don’t work out for whatever reason. When we were there with our son, we talked to as many families as possible that had been coming for a while, and they were all seeing curve correction to some degree.
    You should consider all the families that failed their system and went to a surgeon and were tethered or something. You have no way to gauge how large that group is compared to the group you are meeting.

    Back to the question of why they do not have published research in peer-reviewed journals. They are only 10 years into this. To do studies that meet standards, they will have to have their braces electronically monitored for patient time-in-brace, just like previous studies of the Boston Brace and other braces. This will be expensive. They are working on a plan for this. In the mean time they are loaded with patients from all over the world and trying to hire to keep up.
    Tethering might be about that old. Maybe somewhat older. They have papers and talks and results.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 10-17-2019 at 10:01 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."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
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    3,974
    Quote Originally Posted by Pooka1 View Post
    This is post of the month in my opinion.
    It is....

    We don't get too many young kids around here, and its hard to comment as a lifer and a former bracer. There are 9000 members here and I don't think we have a single positive review on any braces. There is a psychological impact that happens when these things don't work which has happened to most of us. Hope is a good thing, and 3D printing braces makes all the sense in the world even if it doesn't work.

    I would probably do the same thing you are doing if I were in your situation. I know it doesn't sound like it makes any sense since we have been pushing and pulling on scoliosis curves for 2000 years, so that makes just about everything we do stone age. Bracing and rods are not the answer or cure but we do what we have to do. Surgery should always be thought of as a last ditch effort, but when it needs to be done, it needs to be done. Timing is everything in scoliosis.

    I used Chiropractic for over 30 years for pain and I am a former Copes bracer. These guys kept me walking for many years. I was a Luque wire candidate in 1975 and was told I needed surgery by every single doctor I ever met including my Chiropractors....I used around 12 different Chiropractors and learned a lot from those guys. Scoliosis provides our own specific learning curve, its not cheap, and can be extremely painful as an adult. I spent over 100K on massages alone over the years. (Before surgery)

    Physical therapy was also one of the brighter points, or might I say, healing times, that provided hope. Before and after surgery....It was very supportive and that's what we need since the disease changes us....I do appreciate everything that has been done by everyone that worked on me even if it didn't work, scoliosis is a tough one being its CNS disease which makes it that much more complicated.

    I have said here in the past "Gotta love a nurse" and now I will say "Gotta love a physical therapist" (smiley face)

    Welcome to the forum Dustin

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 60, the new 55...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

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