Life-Changing Treatment Without Surgery
For over thirty-nine years, Dr. Andrew Strauss has relieved the pain and improved the quality of life for thousands of scoliosis patients who sought scoliosis pain relief without surgery. The Strauss Method is a unique combination of the most advanced research-based scoliosis treatments, customized by Dr. Strauss for each patient. By carefully examining each patient, understanding their health history, and discussing their goals for care, Dr. Andrew Strauss is able to create a treatment plan that effectively focuses on their individual needs.
You Don’t Have to Watch and Wait
The three most common recommendations of traditional medicine are:
- Watching and waiting (should be called watching and worrying!)
- Use of old technology braces (old designs = Boston brace, Providence brace, Rigo Brace)
- Spinal fusion surgery
Each of these options are often accompanied by serious, negative consequences.
“Watch and Wait” is not a scoliosis treatment. It’s just doing nothing and hoping the scoliosis won’t get worse. There would typically be a slow increase (about 0.5-2 degrees per year) in a curve that began during teenage years in an otherwise healthy individual. All severe scoliosis curves have one thing in common: they started out as mild curves and progressively got worse.
Most scoliosis braces are not designed to correct curves. Instead, they attempt to hold the spine in place so the curve doesn’t get any worse. Scoliosis braces like the Boston Brace, Milwaukee Brace, Providence Brace, Charleston Brace, or the many TLSO braces that are available at hospitals around the world seek to lock the scoliosis into its distortion. This is similar to what a cast does to a broken arm: lock it in place. This does not work with scoliosis and is seen by many as just a “waiting room for surgery.”
A peer reviewed study published in 2007 in the SPINE journal compared 15 separate scoliosis brace studies with three observation-only studies and gave the recommendation for scoliosis brace treatment a grade “D” relative to observation only because of “troubling inconsistent or inconclusive studies on any level.”
Scoliosis surgery is highly invasive, leaving patients large scars and a number of complications. A 2002 German study on the long-term quality of life for idiopathic scoliosis patients who had received Harrington instrumentation reported “40% of operated treated patients with idiopathic scoliosis were legally defined as severely handicapped persons.”
Introducing The Strauss Method
With the Strauss Method, patients achieve the results they have been searching for — less scoliosis pain, less disability, a slowing-down of the progression of their curve, and improved self-esteem … and, in some cases, reduction in the curve size.
The Strauss Method applies a wide variety of non surgical approaches in crafting a treatment plan that reflects the individual needs of each patient. The Method focuses on five types of individualized, scoliosis-specific and corrective home exercise that empower patients with tools for self-care. Yes, bracing is sometimes necessary, but only using the latest technology in 3D corrective scoliosis brace design.
The Strauss Method includes:
- Exercises designed to stabilize weakened areas of the spine and to derotate the twisted spine.
- Targeted stretching routines to gain movement in the very tight and restricted zones of the spine. In specific cases this stretching also includes the nerve tissue that is tight and pulling the spine into the curve.
- Posture retraining exercises that allows the body to keep the corrected curve reductions achieved by the other exercises.
- “Active Self Correction” exercise training to correct posture and stabilize the spine.
- Modifying daily activities like sitting, sleeping, carrying a bag or backpack to reduce strain on the scoliosis.
- 3D over-corrective bracing (used in 30% of patient treatment plans), the most modern brace design. A brace that opens at the front, is very comfortable to wear, encourages correct “normal” spinal curves AND most importantly can be corrective in cases where exercise alone is inadequate to get the best results.
How Does The Strauss Method Work?
Each customized treatment plan incorporates four stages.
Stage 1: Physical Assessment
The first visit begins with a detailed 30 point structural examination, digital photographs to analyze posture, and up to four small, precise, low dose digital x-rays. This provides information about how the entire spine functions in each patient–not just the areas directly affected by scoliosis. These initial examinations are used as a starting point to measure patient progress. Future progress is monitored and determined throughout the treatment process with interval examinations, generally every 10 visits or one month, depending on the risk of curve progression and the severity of the patient’s scoliosis.
Once the necessary patient information has been gathered and recorded the treatment plan is designed and the care can start. Dr. Strauss and his staff at Strauss Scoliosis Correction follow a unique multi-step process.
Stage 2: Spine Warm-Up
Before the scoliosis can be reduced, the patient must gain movement in the stiff and twisted bones at the center of the scoliosis. This is achieved using a combination of specialized procedures designed to relax the ligaments and muscles of the spine, along with stretching exercises specifically tailored to each patient. This step is very important otherwise the spinal discs, muscles and ligaments will be too stiff, and it will be difficult if not impossible to make lasting changes to the spine.
Stage 3: Adjusting the Spine
Using gentle, instrument-assisted spine adjustments, along with Active Self Correction exercise instruction, the twisted and stuck bones are freed and moved into a more correct position.
In accordance with well researched protocols, at Strauss Scoliosis Correction almost all adjusting of the neck and the back are performed with the use of painless, gentle and precise instruments. This enhances the effectiveness of chiropractic care, while also reducing the amount of force required to correct the spine. When used alongside Active Self Correction, spinal alignment is maintained long after each treatment session.
Stage 4: Locking In Spinal Corrections
Immediately after the spinal adjustments are completed, the spine is strengthened in its new and more balanced position to ensure the permanency of the changes. This is achieved using posture retraining and vibration therapy. This process retrains the body how to stand, sit, move and walk with a corrected posture. In addition, patients are taught specific scoliosis exercises which are performed at home twice daily. If the Posture Re-training protocols are not followed, any corrections achieved in the spine will be temporary.
Once the patient is trained on their individualized exercise program, the focus shifts to continuing their care at home. Our approach is to empower the patient to perform self-care at their home…. 99% of the program takes place at home using the methods and techniques the patient has learned at our center.
What Makes The Strauss Method Effective
Expertise and compassion
Dr. Strauss has worked with the CLEAR Scoliosis Institute for more than 13 years. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of its board and is a member of the technique development committee. Dr. Strauss also has advanced certification in SEAS and scoliosis bracing and is trained in yoga for scoliosis, Schroth methods, Chiropractic BioPhysics, and Pettibon techniques. He is a graduate of the World Masters of Scoliosis program.
Empowering patients in their own care
Our patients are active participants in their own scoliosis treatment. They receive corrective treatments at our center, along with all the necessary advice, support and training on individually designed scoliosis-specific and corrective home exercises. Our philosophy of care is that patients will master the steps they can take to retain the benefits of treatment for the rest of their lives.
Scoliosis Treatment Options
Intensive Scoliosis Program
Our Intensive Scoliosis Program is designed for patients who live further from our facility or who have schedules that prevent them from coming for weekly appointments. Treatment is accomplished over 1-4 week period.
- Patients with a curvature(s) LESS than 25 degrees typically require 1 week of intensive treatment.
- Patients with a curvature(s) MORE than 25 degrees typically require 2 weeks of intensive treatment. Occasionally, more complex cases may require an additional week or even two further weeks of care.
The Extended Care Treatment Program
Our Extended Care treatment program is designed for patients who live within 100 miles of the center. This option is essentially the same as the Intensive Care, except the patient is seen 2-3 times per week over the period of 4-6 months without work or school interruption.
Comparing Our Treatment Programs
|Rapid results & curve reduction||Gradual reduction of curve|
|Less time commitment to office treatment||More time commitment to office treatment|
|Maintenance dependent on home exercises AND coordination with a local chiropractor who will receive support from us on care planning.||Maintenance split between office & home|
|Less travel time to and from office||More travel time to and from office|