I was diagnosed with scoliosis (an "S" curve) when I was 12 years old (I'm now 45), and went through various "alternative" treatments including wearing a Plaster of Paris cast from my collarbone to my hip bone (sort of like a turtle shell) for a YEAR. Whether this archaic device of torture in any way retarded the degree of the curve will never be known. I moved to Houston, TX as an adult and therefore had access to one of the world's best medical centers, which includes Texas Institute of Research and Rehabilitation, where the spinal fusion procedure was developed by Dr. Harrington (which is why it is called a Harrington rod.) My condition worsened to the point that working became difficult due to chronic muscle spasms caused by my twisted spine. At the time I first consulted the doctor who performed my surgery, my curve was 65 degrees. At age 30, I finally had the fusion done, and it changed the quality of my life completely. (Not to mention I grew from 5'11 to 6'2 overnight!) For the first time in my life, I noticed I had gone days without severe back pain. I'd like to note that I am a firm believer in the value of chiropractic medicine for *some* conditions. I have had much more success with regular chiropractic visits to treat muscle spasms in my neck which result in severe headaches than I ever had with traditional medicine, which is largely due, I believe, to the tissue work (massage) they do. (However, the chiropractor is limited to the "adjusting" he can do due to the rod in my back.) Bottom line, I have tried both treatments and recommend the following: for severe scoliosis, go with the surgery. For headaches and normal back twinges, chiropractors are great. Good luck!