The success of alternative scoliosis treatment is controversial and confusing to say the least. I guess you could say that almost any alternative treatment, "alternative" meaning not prescribed by a medical doctor would be defined this way. I am certain that we as a culture have a preconceived idea of what a healthcare provider is, does, and represents. The notion that alternative treatments exist for many diseases, to some or perhaps most Americans is likely to be considered risky, unsubstantiated, or even a hoax. Since we were very young we were taught through experience, television, and our parents that medical doctors are the only real source of trust when treating diseases. Television portrays them as elite, sexy, smart hero types. The question becomes is this reality?
Alternative scoliosis treatment would then be considered anything used to treat scoliosis that is not medical. Since medical doctors, primarily orthopedic surgeons, treat scoliosis in only one fashion using rigid braces or fusion surgery then all treatment outside of bracing and scoliosis surgery would be considered alternative. I would like to focus this conversation on alternative scoliosis treatment performed by a chiropractor. There are no medical doctors that currently support chiropractic as a legitimate treatment method for scoliosis and for good reason chiropractic colleges, state associations, or state licensing boards do not support or recommend that chiropractors treat scoliosis as a primary care doctor would but rather only as an adjunct for pain relief.
It is very important to acknowledge that chiropractors that claim to be able to treat scoliosis from a corrective perspective are not supported by their profession unless they have received a minimum of 100 hours of post-graduate course study and are doing so with an orthopedic specialist as the primary care physician. The importance of understanding the difference between an appropriate alternative chiropractic choice and an inappropriate chiropractic choice can be simplified into first and foremost training. If a chiropractor has legitimate certification and appropriate post-graduate training directly related to the alternative scoliosis treatment then and only then is the chiropractor qualified to work with the primary care physician in attempting to reduce and stabilize scoliosis curvature. If not, the chiropractor should only be providing symptom care as needed and should not be communicating that the primary goal is to treat the scoliosis.
There are three primary post-graduate programs available for alternative scoliosis treatment performed by a chiropractor, CLEAR Scoliosis Treatment, Spinecor Bracing, and the Schroth method. CLEAR Scoliosis Treatment performed by CLEAR Scoliosis Institute's highest certification level termed "intensive certified" reaches the 100 hour requirement. The official Schroth certification list has only 4 chiropractors in the US who are certified to provide this method and three of the five are also certified in Spinecor bracing techniques. To be Schroth certified the chiropractor would need to go to the clinic in Germany for official training. Spinecor certification require only 2 days of classroom and 4-6 patient fittings each 2 hours in length before certification is granted. So when considering alternative scoliosis treatment from a chiropractor in the United States be sure to check their credentials thoroughly.
In conclusion it is important to acknowledge that alternative scoliosis treatment does exist and it is legitimate when provided by a trained practitioner. The results may vary and it would be wise to also include the primary care physician when seeking alternative treatment for scoliosis and especially adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.