In Episode 27, host Heather Rotunda and Dr. Justin discuss how to prevent scoliosis from getting worse.
Throughout the episode, you'll hear:
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Hello, and welcome to Episode 27 of Life Beyond the Curve. I'm your host, Heather Rotunda. Joining me again today is Dr. Justin Dick of Clear Life Scoliosis Reduction and Chiropractic in Huntersville, North Carolina, to discuss "How to Prevent Scoliosis from Getting Worse". Dr. Justin majored in Health Care Systems and Administration and Nuclear Medicine before receiving his Doctorate in Chiropractic. He joined CLEAR Scoliosis Institute in 2018 and is both Standard and Intensive Care certified. It's always a treat getting to speak with and learn from Dr. Justin. I hope you enjoy the show. Episode 27, here we go.
You're listening to Life Beyond the Curve, a podcast brought to you by CLEAR Scoliosis Institute. Each week, we interview experts in the industry, answer your pressing questions, and empower you to take control of your scoliosis diagnosis and live life to its fullest. Enjoy the show.
Thank you for joining us today, Dr. Justin.
Thank you for the opportunity to chat about this very important topic.
And today's topic is "How to Prevent Scoliosis from Getting Worse". The first question that comes to my mind at least, does it always get worse?
Well, scoliosis is, by nature, a progressive condition that can get worse over time. The best way to prevent it is to--from getting worse is to be proactive and have a proactive treatment plan in place, uh, close to that time of diagnosis as possible.
Okay. What is the main trigger for progression?
Great question. Well, all forms of scoliosis are progressive. Children and adolescents diagnosed with scoliosis are at a rapid phase progression because of the stage of growth that they're entering into. Growth is the number one trigger for progression; puberty and scoliosis grow growth are clearly connected. The rapid and unpredictable growth spurts associated with puberty put adolescents at risk fast at faster rates in progression. So the quicker we are growing, the higher rate of progression that we would expect.
Okay. That makes sense. Um, I think that one of the aspects of scoliosis that doesn't always get enough attention is the emotional and psychological side of it. I know how important fitting in was to me when I was a preteen and a teenager, and I see how important it is to my teenage niece now. So while it's not discussed as often as the physical aspect of treating scoliosis, that's another very important reason that the earliest possible treatment to prevent progression is vital, yes?
Exactly. Uh, one aspect of living with scoliosis that can be overlooked is the emotional and psychological component it causes. While every case is unique as each patient's response to the condition, adolescents don't generally want to be set apart from their peers in terms of appearance and gait. The more severe a condition gets, the more noticeable it becomes, the more likely it is to cause issues with negative self-image, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. This is a very highly overlooked, uh, area when we're talking about scoliosis and very, very, very prevalent in the young female population.
Okay. And more females, um, are diagnosed with scoliosis than males, right?
Correct. Correct. Way more, way more. It's a very high prevalence in younger females. Uh, we can talk about that on another podcast. Uh, but when you, when we're talking about scoliosis in the, in the females, um, it's, it creates a great deal of, of, uh, depression and, and, uh, almost feeling like an outcast because it can create these deformities that aren't quote unquote normal or quote unquote popular.
The traditional treatment approach is watch and wait, which pretty much guarantees that the scoliosis is gonna progress, right?
Traditional treatment is considered passive and may include watching and waiting to see if the condition progresses. This type of treatment may also include bracing and may funnel patients to a spinal fusion surgery. As scoliosis progresses, the spine, unfortunately, can become more rigid and less responsive to treatment. So the allopathic medicine, which is the typical medical community, is a watch and wait until you can do surgery. There really isn't much treatment options, uh, for allopathic. This is why CLEAR is so important in what we do.
Chiropractic centered CLEAR treatment differs how, and includes what kind of therapy?
All right. Great question. Well, we believe in integrating different treatment modalities for the most customized and specific results. Our treatment plans, based on our x-rays and physical exam, are individualized for each patient. At CLEAR, we combine condition-specific chiropractic care, including scoliosis specific exercises, corrective care bracing, along with a series of chiropractic adjustments specific to that patient, and remodeling. We work on adjusting the position of the affected vertebra so that they're better aligned with the rest of the spine. Now, when I talk about "specific to that patient", this is very, very different than, uh, what essentially, what I was taught in grad school. Uh, how we treat, how CLEAR doctors treat scoliosis is specific to that patient. And the goal is to reduce the scoliosis down, not just to manage it. Yes, we wanna stabilize it, but we also wanna reduce it down, which is a whole different approach than what we were taught in grad school.
You can reduce scoliosis, but not cure it. Is that right?
Correct. Scoliosis is an incurable disease. Uh, kind of liken it to your hair. Uh, we can manage it, you can cut your hair down, you can color it, you do all kinds of things with it, but the minute you quit managing it, it continues to grow back. Correct?
Exact same thing with scoliosis. We can work on it, we can manage it, we can reduce it down, but the minute you quit taking care of it, it tends to progress.
So I hear from adult patients, uh, pretty frequently, and many of them were told as teenagers to watch and wait, or they were shuffled from one doctor to another and never given any kind of treatment options. And the question I get asked most often by adult patients is, is it too late for CLEAR to help them? What would you say to them?
Not a chance, not a chance. Most of my patient population is older. I have no idea why, but most of my patient population is 50s, 60s, and 70s. Um, I see lots of younger kids in, in the teenage years, but not a whole lot of population in between that. So teenage, 50s, 60s, and 70s for my, for my office. Uh, much of literature surrounding scoliosis indicates that the only treatment option for adult patients is surgery. Uh, you know, at my practice in Clear Life Scoliosis Reduction and Chiropractic, I've seen treatment results in my adult patients that are comparable to those in my younger patients. Uh, as a chiropractor trained specifically in scoliosis, I can help adult patients develop healthy lifestyles and habits that are scoliosis friendly. When, uh, a couple of, when we couple these with proactive individual treatments, we see great improvement in quality of life and sometimes avoid the need for surgery and invasive forms of treatments. Actually, most of the times we avoid the need for invasive forms of treatments, cuz the patients are stabilized and they get a better quality of life. And the scoliosis, uh, generally improves, or at least stabilized. This effective treatment is needed to deter a worsening of severity of symptoms and a need for those, uh, nasty invasive treatments. And as a whole, uh, you know, we, we fully expect the body to do what it's designed to do, which is to heal when we introduce these, uh, the treatment protocols that we have.
That's great. So, there is hope.
There's lots of hope. There is hope. Generally people come to me when they have lost hope. That's when I see the older population, 50s, 60s, and 70s, I am their last ditch efforts. They came into our office without hope and they leave a whole new person. Time after time after time, I have plenty of testimonies of patients that were told surgery's their only option. And it only gives a 50% chance of even working, or they're a hundred percent disabled and sorry, you're just gonna have to live like this. That's not true. That's not true. There are other options. We see plenty of people recover. When, when everybody's told that there's no other options, we see overcomers.
That's wonderful. Thank you so much for joining us today, Dr. Justin, we look forward to having you back on a future episode.
Uh, thank you for having me. And if you received a, uh, diagnosis of scoliosis, um, and you wanna seek alternative treatments, the clear-institute.org is a great place to start. You can click on Find a Doctor, find one that's local to you. If you wanna reach out to me directly, you can find me at clearlifescoliosis.com, uh, is my website, or reach out to me via phone. And you'll be speaking directly with me. It's very important that I have one-on-one conversations with you, whether you do treatment with me or not. Uh, the next steps in your scoliosis journey is important. And uh, and all of us CLEAR doctors are here to help support you in your decisions.
Wonderful. Thank you so much, Dr. Justin.
If you'd like more information on scoliosis, you can find additional podcasts, articles, blog posts, and much more information by visiting clear-institute.org. If you've recently been diagnosed and would like to find a CLEAR-certified doctor, click on the purple Find a Doctor button at the top of the page, search by your location and find the doctor nearest you. More to come next week!