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What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a condition that affects the normal shape of the spine changing a person's overall trunk alignment and posture. Scoliosis cause the spine to move to the side and turn. This condition can occur at any age but is more commonly detected during adolescence. Scoliosis is more common in females and can range from mild to severe, requiring a variety of treatments. Adults can also have scoliosis that was not detected in younger years.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is the most common type of scoliosis diagnosed in children aged 10 – 18 years. There is often no known cause but often there is a family history of the condition. Other causes can include congenital scoliosis and neuromuscular scoliosis.
Adult scoliosis falls into 2 categories: (1) those diagnosed with AIS as teens and now have fixed, mature bone structures and (2) those with degenerative changes in the spine resulting in a recently acquired spinal curvature.
AIS is usually pain- free, but pain can occur as the spine curves abnormally stress the surrounding muscles and joints. Pain symptoms are more common in adult scoliosis. Changes in the spine alter a person's alignment and movement patterns and create muscle imbalance. Common findings in a person with scoliosis include:
Scoliosis can be detected during a physical exam or screening. Our physical therapist perform an evaluation and screening which includes inspection of the spine in addition to posture and movement checks.If there are findings the individual will be referred to a family doctor or orthopedic surgeon as an X-ray is needed to confirm a diagnosis of scoliosis.
The treatment for scoliosis can include physical therapy, bracing and surgery depending on the severity of the scoliosis. Physical therapy can provide care during any of these phases of scoliosis treatment. Our therapists have specialized training and certifications in orthopedic physical therapy and in specific scoliosis treatment programs including the Schroth System Scoliosis Specific Exercises, the Gyrotonic Expansion System® Scoliosis program and the Stott Pilates Rehabilitation Program. Components of each of these program are included in the general categories of treatment listed below. Our physical therapists will work with you or your child to develop an individualized program to address the type and severity of the scoliosis as well as the patient's goals.