Updating an Old Treatment for Scoliosis in Young Children

Mark Kabins, MD, is board certified in Orthopedic Surgery and Spine Surgery and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He serves on the advisory board of the prestigious academic journal Spine. Dr. Mark Kabins has more than 20 years of experience caring for people with back pain and spinal injuries.

A doctor in Rochester, New York, is working with young children who have been born with or have developed acute scoliosis. Dr. Jim Sanders hopes to bring new life to an old treatment method for the disease that causes severe curvature of the spine. While in some cases the spinal deformity does not threaten the lives and livelihoods of patients, in infants it is a serious problem that can even lead to death. With the spine bent out of its normal alignment, pressure on the chest cavity makes it difficult for the lungs to function properly.

Sanders’ method can help to correct the curvature and in some cases make it possible for children to avoid surgery. Forming a plaster cast around the child’s midsection, between the shoulders and the hips, allows for the simple pressure of the cast to help guide the developing spine along a straighter course. Every two months, the child will return and a new cast will be formed. The procedure offers families a minimally invasive path in place of more dangerous, costly, and scarring operations.


Dr. Mark Kabins on Degenerative Joint Disease (Osteoarthritis)

Degenerative joint disease, also known as osteoarthritis, is a common joint disorder that occurs as a normal result of aging. Over time, the cartilage found in joints abrades, and the bones in the joint begin to make contact, which results in pain and swelling. Cartilage cushions the joint, allowing for smooth movement. When the cartilage wears away, the body may compensate by forming extra bone structures, while the muscles around the joint ultimately stiffen and lose their strength.


Most people begin to experience the signs of osteoarthritis by middle age, and both men and women report similar symptoms. After the age of 55, women often show more signs of the disease than men do, although virtually everyone will have some symptoms by age 70. Some factors can predict the onset of osteoarthritis, including a family history of the disease, repeated joint injuries, participation in contact sports, and obesity. Certain medical disorders may also put a person at risk.


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Individuals with osteoarthritis have several options for treatment, but the disease has no cure. Some must resort to surgery, but physicians generally recommend several other interventions first, such as anti-inflammatory medications and over-the-counter pain relievers. When surgery proves necessary, a surgeon either replaces a joint entirely or repairs it, often using arthroscopic techniques. Sometimes altering the alignment of bone structures relieves pain and increases movement.


Additional remedies include physical therapy, which can allow people to reclaim full joint movement and strengthen their muscles. Massage therapy offers temporary pain relief. Splints and braces may be recommended to support joints with degenerated cartilage. Doctors can suggest the best type of brace for a specific joint. Simple lifestyle changes are another way to provide significant relief. These changes can include eating a balanced diet, getting more rest, losing weight, and regularly applying heat and cold to the affected joint. Some individuals may want to consider alternative treatments, such as acupuncture.


About the Author

Dr. Mark Kabins maintains board certification in orthopedic and spine surgery. Managing Las Vegas Neurosurgery, Orthopaedics, and Rehabilitation, LLP, he offers patients the highest level of care. In addition to treating several different conditions, including osteoarthritis, scoliosis, and internal disc disruption, Dr. Mark Kabins works with patients who have sustained spinal cord injuries and those with infections or tumors. Dr. Kabins is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Understanding Your Back Pain

Dr. Mark Kabins of Las Vegas Neurosurgery, Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, is board certified in both Orthopaedic and Spine Surgery. Possessing years of experience in the field, Dr. Kabins knows how debilitating back pain can be, and he strives to help his patients understand the root causes of their pain.

Due to the stress we place on it every day, the back is especially prone to injury and other conditions. Back pain is the body’s natural response to degenerative conditions of the spine or injury. More often than not, pain can be resolved through time and nonsurgical treatment; however, some conditions necessitate a visit to your doctor. In addition, pregnancy, lack of muscle tone, and excess weight can potentially contribute to the onset of acute back pain. Other triggers include:

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– Accident, sports injury, or fall.

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– Improper lifting.

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– Sudden or strenuous physical effort.

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– Carrying a heavy purse, backpack, or briefcase.

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– Hiking your shoulder to hold the phone receiver to your ear.

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– Improper sleeping position or pillow positioning.

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– Poor sitting or standing posture.

Back pain may also be caused by:

– Developmental disorders. Abnormalities in the growth and formation of the skeleton often cause developmental disorders; examples include scoliosis and kyphosis. The treatments are often conservative, but some developmental disorders require surgery to prevent a worsening condition or long-term disability.

Inflammatory and infectious disorders. Although relatively uncommon, the delay of an accurate diagnosis may result in serious consequences.

Mechanical disorders. Mechanical pain occurs when a specific part of the spine, such as a ligament, joint, or intervertebral disc is not working correctly. Arthritis, spinal stenosis, and herniated discs fall into this category.

– Tumors. Cancers and tumors are comparatively rare, but pain is the most common symptom of a spinal tumor.

Trauma. Injury to the soft tissues, neurological structures, or bony elements can trigger instability in the vertebral column, potentially causing neurological injury.

You should seek the care of a physician like Dr. Mark Kabins immediately if you experience:

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– Chest pain or sharp pain in the left arm.

– Back pain as a result of a physical trauma that affects your spine, like a fall or car accident.

– Bladder control loss or impairment.

– Numbness in your extremities.

– Fever or severe headaches.

– Chronic back pain for over six weeks or acute back pain that does not improve after 72 hours of self-treatment.

Prevent back injury Photo by Eugene Peretz/Flickr