I started thinking the other day that someone new to my blog may not notice the roughly 110 posts over 3 years and may see that my daughter has a whopping 72 degree curve and think to themselves, “What does she know anyway? We better not take her advice.” Or, someone may read that my daughter went from a 35 degree curve to a 67 degree curve in the course of one year while wearing the Spinecor brace and think bad thoughts about the Spinecor brace. Therefore, I thought it might be beneficial to touch on some of the treatments we’ve been through, and what works and what we can learn from each.
Approach #1 – wait and see. When my daughter was first diagnosed, the Doctor said “let’s wait 6 months and see where the curve goes”. She was 7 and had an 18 degree curve. I was uninformed. I never should have consented. Wait and See is NOT a valid approach, especially if the patient is very young (and has much growing and, consequently, curving to do). I REPEAT: DO NOT WAIT AND SEE. Do NOT wait. ACT.
Approach #2 – Spinecor. It is true that my daughter’s curve doubled while spending a year in the Spinecor brace. But, that does not mean that her curve wouldn’t have plummeted anyway or that the Spinecor doesn’t work for many people that contact me every day. I will say that the Spinecor is not comfortable at first (which I know how to remedy), but there are many people who get relief from pain and a reduction in curvature from it. Two things to watch for with the Spinecor: 1. start sooner rather than later (we went in it when my daughter’s curve was already in the early 30 degrees – chances are always better when started earlier. 2. The downward force of the strap on the shoulder can create issues and potentially increase curves in the neck region, so keep an eye on that. If the neck starts to curve, it may not be the best choice in the long run.
Approach #3: The Pettibon/ARC 3D system. This is just one of the methods we implement in our battle against Scoliosis. We’ve done it for almost the entire time my daughter has had Scoliosis (after our dreaded “wait and see” debacle) I’ve already blogged about how this therapy has changed the shape of my spine for the better, so I firmly believe it works. It may be one of the contributing factors to keeping the curve at bay for so long, but we won’t know because it is just one of the therapies we’ve tried. Again, earlier start is better.
Approach #4: Rigo-Cheneau brace. I think this is the best, most aggressive, “big guns” brace you can get. The problem is that we put my daughter in it WAY TOO LATE….she was at 67 degrees. It would have been better, if determined to try the Spinecor, to pick a cut-off point (say, 30-35 degrees) and, if the curves are not improving, move on to the Cheneau. With my son, we went straight into a Cheneau at 25 degrees, and now he’s about 10 degrees after 24 hours out-of-brace. So, yes, I think it works very well. Again: EARLY INTERVENTION IS KEY.
Number one lesson learned: ACT EARLY! DO NOT WAIT AND SEE!