The world of scoliosis treatment is rapidly advancing (finally) due to breakthroughs in the fields of prognostic testing and early stage scoliosis intervention. Soon the days of scoliosis brace treatment and scoliosis surgery will fade into the dark ages of the past and a more preventative and a pro-active scoliosis treatment model will emerge. At the forefront of this advancement are highly sophisticated prognostic testing and innovative alternative scoliosis treatment options. The formula that seems to be a formula that is consistent with almost any disease is one that combines a person's genetics with their environment creating the cellular or even molecular maladaptation.
Genetic predisposition + Environmental Influences = Idiopathic Scoliosis
Scoliscore genetic testing: The Scoliscore test is a saliva based test that compares the patient's active genetic markers for severe scoliosis against a known profile of 53 genes. It's comparison to the know profile is 99% accurate. This means the test is able to determine with a great deal of certainty the patient's genetic predisposition for developing a severe scoliosis spine curvature. It is important to note that genetic predisposition is only one component of the idiopathic scoliosis condition which is also heavily influence by environmental influences (biomechanical, biochemical, certain activities, etc.)
Scoliosis blood test: It was announced way back in 2008 that the long awaited scoliosis blood test would be released and now in 2011 we are still waiting (oops!). Anyway, the patent for the test has been released and it appears to be a 2 phase test. One based on assumed genetic predisposition and the other on the osteopontin (OPN) levels of the patient. The OPN explanation is quite lengthy and more laborious than this discussion needs to get, but it is a major regulator of bone growth. The hold up of the test's release is unknown, but there is speculation that conflicting research from a Chinese based study and the problematic development of a CD-44 receptor (the binding receptor for OPN) blocker may be the cause for delay, but again, that is pure speculation.
Early Stage Scoliosis Intervention: I would love to tell you that there are 1000's of diligent researchers around the world working on a cure for idiopathic scoliosis, unfortunately, that's not the case. The good news is that many of the brightest and most talented researchers have found each other through the internet and professional organizations and progress on the cause of and treatment of idiopathic scoliosis is being made. Most researchers now agree that the root cause of idiopathic scoliosis is most likely neurological and more specifically, an under-development of the involuntary postural control centers in the brain stem. Armed with the deduction that idiopathic scoliosis is primarily a neurological condition that primarily affects the spine, the methodology one uses for scoliosis treatment change drastically.
The Early Stage Scoliosis Intervention program utilizes a specialized alternative scoliosis treatment protocol that decreases the soft tissue resistance or tension in the curvature regions, realigns the spine to a more symmetrical position, and finally retrains the spinal muscles to hold the new position. The soft tissue (spinal discs, ligaments, muscles, etc.) slowly begin to adapt to the abnormal spinal position, essentially "locking" the scoliosis in place. This makes it necessary to "unlock" the spinal position from the maladapted soft tissue, so the spine can be repositioned, and finally the soft tissue can be neurologically re-trained to hold the spine in the new straighter position automatically and permanently. Essentially, the brain stem is being recruited to become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
The scoliosis exercise based protocol is painless, but you may experience some mild stretching sensation during the initial onset of treatment as the body adapts and heals in its newly corrected position. Some patients have reported mild muscle soreness the day after treatment. It's extremely rare that a patient is unable to complete treatment due to physical discomfort.
Doctors can alter the natural course of this condition by identifying which patients are at the highest risk for severe progression via genetic testing (scoliscore) and by implementing an aggressive, non-invasive Early Stage Scoliosis Intervention program that re-trains the brains involuntary postural controls centers before the mild scoliosis curvature reaches the degree "buckling" point commonly seen during growth spurts.
Environmental Influences in Idiopathic Scoliosis
As far as it looks right now, it looks like the environmental factors/influences of idiopathic scoliosis seem to be falling into one of three categories that all interact with each other and the genetic pre-disposition creating a multi-factorial condition. These categories include: bio-mechanical forces such as, forward head posture, hip rotation, sacral inclination and other sagittal spine distortions as well as secondary bone adaptation to asymmetrical loading (Hueter-Volkmann principle). Activity related forces include: repeated hyper-extension of the mid back (sleeping on one's stomach, ballet, competitive swimming, etc.) compression of the spinal column (horseback riding, jogging, etc.). Bio-chemical influences include: Chronic Mycobacterium infections that drive up osteopontin levels (fish tanks in the home, dirty shower heads, basically anything in the home that has water standing for long periods of time) and possible nutritional deficiencies of selenium has been noted as being significantly decrease in populations of idiopathic scoliosis patients.
The future of alternative scoliosis treatment is very promising and a select few doctors and researchers are dedicated to finding a better way to treat scoliosis without the use of bracing or highly invasive scoliosis surgery which starts with advanced diagnostic testing and innovative early stage scoliosis treatment.
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