New, Fast-Acting, Conservative Treatment Reverses Scoliosis

Nine million Americans have scoliosis; 90% of which presents during adolescence. A new clinical trial* demonstrates the efficacy of a unique, non-surgical treatment that quickly reduces curves that can become disabling. Lengthy, uncomfortable bracing and major spinal surgery (36,000 operations annually) can almost always be avoided with this new promising, anatomically-based, non-surgical approach that is a budding trend. Loren Fishman, MD, affiliated with Columbia University Medical School and medical director of Manhattan Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, is the lead investigator of a ground-breaking clinical trial.

In a controlled, randomized study of 24 patients, aged 12-20 years old, yoga plus small injections of botulinum toxin during one office visit successfully reduced spinal curves an average of 10 degrees in three weeks and 15 degrees in three months. Progress continued after the initial three-months. One fairly easy physical yoga-like maneuver, done briefly three times a day, was shown in earlier published research** to significantly reduce lumbar curves. That foundational research demonstrated that the physical maneuver strengthened the weak spinal muscles on the convex side, swiftly reducing the curve.

In this new study, in addition to the physical maneuver strengthening the weak muscles, botulinum toxin relaxes the tight muscles on the concave side of the spine. Together, this physical maneuver plus botulinum toxin works significantly more effectively than the yoga-like maneuver alone to reverse scoliosis.

Until now, embarrassing and difficult bracing and surgery have been the main treatments for 25-45 degree spinal curves. This new, successful muscle-balancing technique, offers hope to those who are handicapped by scoliosis.

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