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Why Early Detection of Scoliosis is Better

X-ray of spine after scoliosis surgery - anter...
X-ray of spine after scoliosis surgery – anterior approach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scoliosis is a spinal disorder resulting in an excessive, sideways curvature of the spine. It causes the vertebrae to rotate, which creates a curve in either the upper or lower back. Spines usually have a natural curve, which round the shoulders and make the lower back bend slightly inward. However, when a spine curves unnaturally to one side or the other, it becomes a condition called scoliosis. A spine with scoliosis has an exaggerated “S” or “C” shape instead of a straight line. Other bones in the spine may also rotate slightly, causing an uneven appearance in the waist or shoulders.

The advances in rehabilitative techniques created by myself have made scoliosis treatment rather manageable, provided it is detected early and treated. The key to detection is essential to ensure that the degree of the curve does not worsen. Some signs of scoliosis include: uneven shoulders, prominent shoulder blade, uneven waist, elevated hips, and leaning to one side. If you notice any of these warning signs, it is important to schedule an appointment with a health professional.

Although treatment today is less arduous than in years past and periodic X-rays are much safer, the key to treatment is truly early detection and prevention. The key word in scoliosis is progression, to detect it at the onset and do what is needed to try to prevent it from getting worse.

A new genetic test, using just a small sample of saliva, will analyse two genetic markers that show the link between how much scoliosis will worsen before their bones stop growing. Combined with the results of a physical exam that includes a measurement of the spine’s curvature, the gene test produces a number called the ScoliScore that has almost 99 per cent accuracy whether mild adolescent scoliosis in white children will progress to become a severe curve that requires surgery. This definitely helps to make the process of early detection much easier. This test, developed by Axial Biotech is now available at more than 50 spine centres in the United States. Not only does this eliminate braces for children whose scoliosis is unlikely to become a serious medical problem, the test can reduce the need for frequent doctor follow-ups with multiple spinal X-rays and extensive radiation exposure. At the same time, this test allows patient and doctors to be proactive results show a high likelihood of serious progression.

Adults with scoliosis are 10 times more likely than adolescents to require corrective surgery. The impact of the deformity on adults – pain and functional disability – can be quite severe. It can have as much of an impact on quality of life as chronic obstructive lung disease, peripheral vascular disease, coronary artery disease and advanced arthritis of the hip and knee. Hence this further shows the importance of an early detection of scoliosis. There are even treatments for young patients with serious scoliosis to undergo less invasive and safer forms of surgery that do not require spinal fusion.

Scoliosis is something that can be overcome without bracing or surgery as long as it’s treated early. Too often parents wait till scoliosis needs surgery before doing anything… unfortunately often this is too late. I often advise my patients to use principles of nutrition and exercise to cure scoliosis by adopting a multi-dimensional 3-step approach. We first identify the nutritional routine, dietary habits, deficiencies and a possible underlying cause for the worsening scoliosis. We then customize an exercise regimen for the patient to rebalance and stabilise the person’s spine. Lastly, we will examine and provide a holistic approach to reduce the impact of disease on the patient’s life.

At Orchard Clinic, we provide a customized scoliosis program. My experiences from previously working in practices which offered clear institute, schroth and a number of other methods from around the world. Specially designed scoliosis exercises that are performed religiously by the patient build stronger back muscles, develop spinal flexibility and promote proper posture. Spinal stabilization and coordination can also be improved through fitness conditioning and functional training. Unique stretching and core stabilization exercises can also help in realigning a subjugated spine. Coupled with nutritional therapy and supplementation, deficiencies can be corrected. These natural strategies are empowering for scoliosis sufferers. Patients realize that they can control the outcome of their treatments and this contributes a lot to their success in the reversal of their scoliosis.

About Dr Kevin Lau

Dr Kevin Lau is the founder of Health In Your Hands, a series of tools for Scoliosis prevention and treatment. The set includes his bestselling books Your Plan for Natural Scoliosis Prevention and Treatment and An Essential Guide for Scoliosis and a Healthy Pregnancy, a companion Scoliosis Exercises for Prevention and Correction DVD, and the innovative iPhone and Andoid application ScolioTrack.

About the Clinic

Orchard Clinic was established in Singapore in 2005. Prior to Singapore, we operated the busiest and most successful musculoskeletal clinic treating pain and injury in Melbourne, Australia. We have a team of qualified and professional practitioners, each with their area of expertise and specialization.

Our personal belief is to treat the person and not just the symptoms. We pride ourselves in providing high quality, superior care to our patients through advanced treatments and therapies, allowing them to resume their activities pain free thus enjoying optimum health and well-being.

Specializing in non-invasive and drug-free treatment techniques, Orchard Clinic aims to assist our patients identify and neutralize the cause of their health concerns, and be in control of their own health and boost their quality of life.

Orchard Clinic is committed to a holistic and caring approach to health.

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