Scoliosis Treatment Options for Patients

thyme leaves and essential oils

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  • Take note that treatment isn’t necessary for some patients, especially among very young children, because the spine can straighten as the patient grows
  • A specialist or health professional can recommend the patient to undergo regular examinations and X-rays to monitor the curve and eventually decide if treatment is needed

While there is no known cure for scoliosis, there are potential treatment options.1 There are four factors that can help a health professional determine the ideal treatment for a scoliosis patient:2

  • Gender: Females are more likely to be affected with scoliosis that gradually worsens, compared to males.
  • Severity of the curve: Longer curves have a greater tendency to worsen over time. C-shaped curves, meanwhile, are less likely to worsen.
  • Curve position: Curves located in the center area of the spine may likely worsen, compared to curves present in the lower or upper section.
  • Bone maturity: If the patient’s bones have stopped growing, the risk of the curve worsening is lower. Scoliosis braces tend to be more effective while the bones are still growing.

Majority of children with scoliosis have mild curves and don’t need treatment. The physician or doctor may recommend follow-up check-ups every four to six months to monitor the curve, alongside having x-rays done.

What Is a Cast Used For?

For patients with infantile scoliosis, casts are utilized to help the infant’s spine go back to the normal position as the baby grows. The cast, usually made of plaster of Paris, is attached to the outside of the patient’s body. It must be worn at all times and is changed regularly to adjust to the infant’s growth.3

Parents usually find it easier for a child to wear a cast at a young age, instead of having to wear a removable back brace every day. They have the option to switch to a brace when the child is a bit older.4

How Important Is Monitoring If You Have Scoliosis?

Take note that treatment isn’t necessary for some patients, especially among very young children, because the spine can straighten as the patient grows. However, if the curve doesn’t correct itself, there’s a slight possibility that it can decrease the space where the organs can grow.

A specialist or health professional can recommend the patient to undergo regular examinations and X-rays to monitor the curve and eventually decide if treatment is needed. Older children with mild scoliosis can also be regularly monitored, since treatment might not be needed if the curve doesn’t worsen over time.5

If You Have Scoliosis, Avoid These Treatments

In some instances, these two treatments might be recommended for scoliosis patients. However, as conventional as these treatments may be, keep in mind that they have negative side effects that you should watch out for:6

Spinal injections: Steroid medicines and local anesthetics may be injected into the back, since the disease can irritate or deliver pressure on the nerves in and around the spine, causing pain, numbness and a tingling sensation that can be felt in the lower back down to the feet.

However, benefits of spinal injections tend to only last for a few weeks or months, so these aren’t a good long-term solution. Even worse, there are possible complications that these injections can trigger, since these are invasive procedures:7,8

Infection risk

Allergic reactions

Headaches

Lightheadedness

Excessive bleeding

Necrosis of bone

Steroid flush

Dural puncture

Low blood pressure levels

Injury to nerve tissue

Seizures

Cardiovascular collapse

Loss of bowel and bladder control

Sexual dysfunction

Paralysis

Spinal headache

Stroke

Meningitis

Cardiac arrest

Fainting

Death

Painkillers: Some doctors recommend painkillers like ibuprofen as a first course of treatment. However, painkillers are only Band-Aid solutions, and at most lead to devastating complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that opioid painkillers were involved in a whopping 33,091 deaths in 2015, with the number of opioid overdoses quadrupling since 1999.9

Opioid painkillers like OxyContin commonly prescribed for back pain tend to be highly addictive, and is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs. In fact, back pain has become one of the primary triggers of the growing opioid addiction epidemic. Increased dependence on prescription opioids can also be a major factor in triggering heroin addiction,10 raising the risk of a person committing homicide11 and possibly changing behavior too.12

Natural Remedies for Scoliosis Pain

If you want to relieve scoliosis-caused pain, you're better off with using effective natural remedies. You can start by trying out these oils:13

  • Oregano herbal oil: This oil can deliver muscle-relaxing properties that can be helpful for scoliosis patients, since the muscle surrounding the spine undergoes tremendous strain because of the spinal curve. Massaging the areas with oregano herbal oil can help the muscles relax.
  • Thyme and peppermint oils: Thyme oil, which is antibiotic in nature, can be used to help inhibit microbe formation in the spine, reduce microbe build-up and possibly aid in slowing or stopping the progression of the disease. Thyme and peppermint oils have anti-inflammatory properties that can assist in reducing muscle inflammation. Using these oils to massage the body, alongside physical therapy, may resolve the pain to some extent.
  • Evening primrose, black currant and borage oils: These oils contain gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a fatty acid that can address arthritic pain.

Before using any of these oils, seek the guidance of a physician, holistic doctor or other health professional first, and take an allergen patch test to see if your skin has an allergic reaction. If you’re looking for another type of remedy for scoliosis, these herbal remedies may also work:

  • Arnica: This plant may help reduce muscle spasms and stiffness. Changes to the spinal curve can be achieved if muscles around the spine can be made more responsive to chiropractic and physical therapy. For this to occur, buy some arnica gel from a local pharmacy and massage it on the spinal structure in the back. A combination of physical therapy and regular massage using the gel can help the patient reduce the spinal curve by a few degrees.
  • Ginger: It can offer anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
  • Boswellia: This herb, which also goes by the names “boswellin” or “Indian frankincense,” has anti-inflammatory abilities that have been highly regarded for years.
  • Cayenne or capsaicin cream: This is made from a spice derived from dried hot peppers. It’s a known pain reliever that reduces your body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that sends pain signals to your brain.

Lastly, scoliosis patients can try these supplements to boost their health:

  • Astaxanthin: This highly effective oil-soluble antioxidant has anti-inflammatory capabilities. Usually, higher doses are required, and a patient may need 8 milligrams or more daily to achieve this benefit.
  • Curcumin: It’s the primary therapeutic compound in the spice turmeric. Curcumin was the subject of over 50 clinical studies that highlighted its anti-inflammatory activity. Four separate studies also showed that it may reduce adverse health effects linked to Tylenol.
  • Bromelain: This protein-digesting enzyme with natural anti-inflammatory abilities is found in pineapples. While bromelain supplements are available, eating fresh pineapple can help you get some form of bromelain. When eating pineapple, leave a little portion of the pulpy core intact, because bromelain is typically found within the core of the fruit.
  • Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO): Found in fish and dairy butter, CMO plays a role as a “joint lubricant” and anti-inflammatory — ideal for patients experiencing joint pain.

MORE ABOUT SCOLIOSIS

Scoliosis: Introduction

What is Scoliosis?

Types of Scoliosis

Severe Scoliosis

Scoliosis Symptoms

Dealing with Scoliosis-Related Pain

Scoliosis Causes

Scoliosis Side Effects

Scoliosis Treatment

Scoliosis Back Braces

Yoga for Scoliosis

Exercises for Scoliosis Patients

Scoliosis Surgeries

Scoliosis Prevention

Diet for Scoliosis Patients

Scoliosis FAQ



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