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Dr. Aatif Siddiqui is a board certified chiropractor based in New York City who also specializes in physical therapy, graston, therapeutic massage, nutrition education, ETPS and active release techniques. In more than 15 years of business, Dr. Sid has seen varying cases of severity among scoliosis patients and believes that fusion surgery may not always be the best option for treatment. “I believe in our society, people opt for surgery too soon,” Dr. Sid said. The numbers support Dr. Sid’s belief. Spinal fusion surgeries increased by 137% from 1998 to 2008, according to a study performed by the Spine Research Foundation, though that number represents the total number of surgeries performed, not just those related to scoliosis. The study concluded, “Frequency, utilization, and hospital charges of spinal fusion have increased at a higher rate than other notable inpatient procedures.” “I had a case that came to me, I measured the curve and it was 36 or 37 degrees,” Dr. Sid continued. “One of the doctors told them that they needed surgery. I was like, ‘Wow. The norm has been 45, why are they telling them to do it at 37?’ At 37 we could easily bring it down to 27 degrees with what we do here now without surgery. People opt for surgery too soon.” ALSO CONSIDER… 1. SURGERY COULD STUNT SPINE GROWTH IN YOUNG PATIENTS “Fusion surgery at such a young age, what happens is you’re fusing the spine before it has a chance to fully grow.  The spine may not grow properly after that,” Dr. Sid said. “Also, once you have surgery, that’s it. There’s no going back.” 2. SURGERY LIMITS SPINE MOVEMENT “If you fuse half the spine because of the scoliosis, now the spine has half the amount of movement,” Dr. Sid said. “The other joints that are there have to move twice as much to make up for that so now those joints will break down twice as fast. Think of it like this – a piece of fabric only has so many rubs worth of friction it can withstand and then it wears out. Think of your spine the same way. It has a certain amount of rotations, a certain amount of movements built in. If you’re doubling all of those movements, it’s going to break down a lot faster and you’re going to develop pain a lot faster in certain areas where pain wasn’t present before”

3. IT COULD CAUSE LASTING PAIN “Patients will go in without any pain, they’ll have the procedure done and then they, all of a sudden, have pain,” Dr. Sid said. “They were trying to avoid the curve but now they wound up with pain, so was it really worth it? A lot of people who have not had the surgery will talk to friends who have had it and will say, ‘Thank goodness I didn’t do that.’”

4. DID YOU KNOW…? European doctors usually don’t operate on a patient until 60 or 70 degrees. “They make sure that you’ve tried every other option first”, Dr. Sid said. “Their whole health care system is different. At 60 or 70 degree, that’s more of an area where you want to start to explore surgery because at 60 or 70 percent what happens is the curve starts to put pressure on the lungs and the lungs might not function as well. At 45 degrees, that’s not happening.

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