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Provider Spotlight

Hidden Gems: Meet Dr. Nick Weddle of ScoliosisKC

Hidden Gems: Meet Dr. Nick Weddle of ScoliosisKC

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Nick Weddle.
Hi Dr. Nick, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by
introducing yourself!

I grew up in a healthcare family and loved the simple idea of ‘real’ healthcare.
It’s not a bunch of drugs to cover up symptoms, but a thoughtful approach that
addresses the underlying problems, how the body works normally and stopping
the symptoms from starting or continuing. My mother is likely now the most
senior Midwife in KC (delivering over 1,600 babies in her career), and my
stepfather is a family and pediatric Chiropractor.

While I was in Chiropractic college, I discovered a unique program designed
specifically for people with Scoliosis. Despite not knowing a single person with
it, I felt like I was hijacked. I just knew that I needed to do this work. Fast

forward 6 years, after starting my practice in 2010, I started implementing the
new Scoliosis rehab program. I became certified with the CLEAR Scoliosis
Institute in 2015, and have now been helping people from all over the country
for the last 7 years. We’ve had patients travel from as far as Italy and Puerto
Rico, and at least 13 states around the US.
The problem is that kids with Scoliosis in the US are offered only limited
treatment options. They are offered difficult and ineffective hard-bracing, and
eventually, fusion surgery if/when that doesn’t work. They are told that exercise
and rehab cannot change their condition (although incorrect), and they are left
hopeless except for invasive fusion surgery – where 2 metal rods are fused to the
majority of the spine. And for adults living with Scoliosis who never had surgery,
there are almost no options given to them besides pain management.
We have patients traveling multiple hours to spend a week or two performing
Intensive rehab to reduce their Scoliotic curves, and in some cases making them no longer candidates for fusion surgery. These are people who have suffered for years with no hope, and in only 5 days of treatment be pain-free.
While Idiopathic Scoliosis only affects about 3-4% of the general population,
that leaves nearly 100,000 people in the Kansas City metro to deal with this life-
changing condition.

I love being able to offer them something different, something better than the
status quo. It is often life-changing for these teenagers and adults.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path
overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
For a general Chiropractor, it requires very little equipment to perform
adjustments, etc. However, for doing Scoliosis rehab, it required an additional
$50,000 worth of equipment just to begin the work. This took me an additional
few years to be able to purchase all the needed equipment. For a new doctor with considerable student loans and a young family, it was a bit scary at times to get started.

Another difficult thing to deal with is the reality that the majority of Orthopedic
Surgeons (who are considered the specialists for Scoliosis in the medical world)
tell families every single day that this type of work isn’t possible. Yet, families
who are desperate for help and want to avoid invasive surgery search us out and discover that the peer-reviewed research actually shows that it is possible, but Orthopedic Surgeons simply don’t offer this type of treatment. Patients who
have Scoliosis get prescribed regular physical therapy (this is the same PT that I
would get) and are usually frustrated that it doesn’t help. And if they still have
pain, then pain management is all that’s left for them to try.

I find that it’s incredibly frustrating that with all the research and technology
and experience that we have, patients are still being offered sub-par care, that’s
narrowly focused on just trying to numb pain symptoms. We have to offer
something better. We have to demand something better.

What do you think about happiness?
Happiness is seeing a 40-year-old woman who has suffered for years with
moderate-to-severe Scoliosis get a significant reduction in her curve and a
significant reduction in her pain levels too. She was told there was nothing she
could do.

All that was offered to her was fusion surgery and pain management, but she
wanted neither of those options. She also hated how she looked because of
Scoliosis. She only wore baggy clothes to hide her uneven spine/ribs. After just a few months of care, she started loving her body again and broke free from hiding all the time. She now loves how she feels (no pain!) and loves wearing clothes that look good and feel good... and that even shows her back.

Happiness is seeing a teenage girl who felt fine, had no pain or any issues, but
had a 49 deg severe Scoliotic curve find hope. She would likely end up with
fusion surgery (and the lifetime of issues/problems that a fused spine comes
with). Instead, she performed a 2-week Intensive Treatment, and in 9 days had a reduction from 49 deg to 29 deg, which technically made her no longer a
candidate for fusion surgery. You can see the picture attached. Her life will be
very different from now on.

Happiness is also going out to Lake Jacomo on my 1971 sailboat.