Scoliosis treatment includes a spectrum of care including traditional and complimentary care strategies. Many factors are at play in making the decision of if, when, and how to treat scoliosis.
Curves 20 degrees and under
Typically these small curvatures fall into the "watch and wait" category. Physicians may decide to monitor the patient every 3 months, especially if this is an adolescent in active growth periods. My personal opinion here is that small curvatures can be well managed with chiropractic care, yoga, and diligent physical therapy. At 20 degrees, only about 20% of curves progress, however age, gender, genetics, and many other factors are at play. There is now a prognostic test available for idiopathic adolescent scoliosis which provides information on risk for curve progression. Check out Scoliscore for more information.
curves 25-40 degrees
At this point physicians will typically prescribe bracing as a treatment option for patients who are still growing. Young people diagnosed with a 30 degree curve have a risk of progression of 60%. There are several types of braces used to treat and hold curvatures in this category. Brace wearing is difficult, uncomfortable, and can be physically and emotionally intense for young adolescents. The brace is worn tightly and is constrictive to movement. In the 1980s the protocol for brace wearing was 23 hours a day. Currently, results are seen with wearing the brace for 13 hours or more. NPR published an interesting article on brace effectiveness HERE.