An estimated 6 million to 9 million Americans suffer from scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine. The common spinal deformity can limit activity, cause debilitating pain and reduce respiratory function and diminish self-esteem. Treatment options for scoliosis range and include physical therapy and injections for pain, as well as medications, aquatic exercises and weight loss regimens. Some patients may be candidates for surgery that rebuilds parts of the spine to alleviate pain. However, scoliosis surgery is complex and includes a long recovery period.
Researchers at Northwestern Memorial are currently evaluating the effectiveness of surgical and non-surgical treatments in a clinical trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Lead by neurosurgeon Tyler Koski, MD, the trial will enroll hundreds of patients over a five-year period and will follow the subjects through their course of treatment, which may include surgery, or non-surgical treatment options such as injections, medication, physical therapy and exercise. Study participants will also be asked to fill out periodic health questionnaires and will have routine X-rays as part of their participation.