What are Non-operative Treatment Options?

What are Non-operative Treatment Options?


Most children with spinal conditions will only need non-operative treatments to get them back to their normal, active lives. Depending on your child’s age and the location and degree of his or her spinal curve or deformity, the spine team at Children’s Andrews Institute Spine Center will start with the best and safest non-operative treatments.

Non-operative Treatment Options

  • Observation: Children who come to the Spine Center with a slight curve, less than 20 degrees, require no immediate treatment. These children will only need to check in with a spine specialist on a regular basis to make sure the curve is not progressing. Our physicians will keep an eye on the curve until your child has stopped growing (around late puberty) to be sure other potential health problems don’t arise. If the curve progresses beyond 20 degrees, bracing may be necessary.
  • Physical therapy: This is used to strengthen back and leg muscles. While therapy doesn’t treat underlying scoliosis or spinal deformity, or keep it from progressing, it can alleviate your child’s pain or discomfort. Our physical therapists are specially trained to work with children with spine problems, helping them strengthen muscles, increase flexibility and prevent injury.
  • Bracing: If your child’s curve progresses past 20 degrees or is diagnosed when it is more than 20 degrees, wearing a brace can prevent the curve from progressing while your child continues to grow. To ensure this treatment is effective, it’s important that your child wears this brace a minimum of 18 hours a day. At the Spine Center, we dedicate time to educating our patients about the importance and goals of bracing. We work closely with an orthotist (a specialist who makes and fits braces) to ensure proper fit and comfort.
  • Mehta casting: Mehta casting is most often used on infantile scoliosis patients. Pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Christopher Redman trained with one of the country’s foremost experts in treating infantile scoliosis. He is one of the only surgeons in the state to use this treatment for early onset scoliosis patients . Mehta casting has been shown to be more effective than bracing for younger scoliosis patients.

Read more about diagnosis and treatment.

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