The Watch and Wait Approach…
With everything about scoliosis not being completely understood, and with researchers continuing to find out more, there is one truth continues to remain: smaller curves progress into bigger, more aggressive curves. Regardless of this fact, the majority of the medical community still recommends observation, or the classic “watch and wait” approach for patients with curves under 25 degrees. Sadly, this approach of delaying treatment decreases the patient’s opportunity for stopping curve progression early, while the scoliosis is most manageable.
Thanking Dr. Andrew Strauss (a CLEAR doctor located in NY) for the picture provided; below is the progression of untreated scoliosis patient from mild 6-degree curve to severe 43-degree curve in just 4 years.
It is imperative to acknowledge that:
- More scoliosis cases than not will continue to progress.
- Even though it has previously been thought that scoliosis will not progress after skeletal maturity, it does.
- All BIG curves start out small.
The reasoning behind observing a mild case of scoliosis is that once a patient has reached the age of 18, or skeletal maturity, the curve will not progress, however this is not supported by research.
Since 1969 it has been shown that scoliosis can and will continue to progress after skeletal maturity.
Collis & Ponseti followed 215 cases of scoliosis cases after skeletal maturity and documented an average curve progression of 15 degrees. Korovessis et al showed that a mean progression of 2.4 degrees per year over the course of 5 years in patients who had reached skeletal maturity. In other studies by Weinstein et al showed that 68% of scoliosis cases progress after skeletal maturity.
Every BIG Curve Starts out Small. Take action today!