What is scoliosis?

* Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis is a complex 3 dimensional deformity of the spine and trunk, which appears in apparently healthy children, and can progress in relation to multiple factors during any rapid period of growth or later in life. (M. Rigo, Th Grivas, J O’Brian, in Scoliosis 2010)


What is the cause of scoliosis?

*  As the name idiopathic suggests, there is no currently verified known cause of AIS.  There is a tremendous amount of research in various avenues in search of one or more cause.

*  Approximately 30% of patients have a family history, so there is an agreement that genetics plays a role. Others are investigating, hormone imbalances, asymmetrical growth and muscle imbalances….Hueter Volkmann Law, Burwell’s Theory.


What is the recommended treatment?

Treatment is often determined based on the size of the curve or COBB angle as well as the patient/families concerns/goals. SOSORT guidelines were published in2011 and can be found in the Scoliosis Journal under Negrini et al Scoliosis 2012, 7:3…look for Table 6.


Does bracing help?

For years, the effects of bracing were unclear. In 2013, the Braist Study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine confirming the benefits of bracing for AIS.  Weinstein S. L. et al N Engl J Med 2013; 369:1512-1521

It is important to keep in mind that the quality, type and fit of brace may impact its success.


Can my child continue to participate in sports/exercise?

General physical activities are important not only for physical health, but socially and emotionally as well and should be continued unless pain becomes an issue. However, certain repetitive movements can be stressful for a spine with scoliosis, such as crunches or sit-ups. Speak with a certified scoliosis specific trained physical therapists to determine what exercises can be modified if needed or eliminated.


What is Schroth?

*  Utilizes the original principles from Katharina and Christa Schroth

*  Integrates the current knowledge and theories of physical therapy, including sensory, corporal schema, motor learning, and neuro-muscular re-education.

*  Exercise program that is individualized to the patient’s curve category based on the Rigo classification, trained for self-elongation, corrections, rotational breathing strategies, and functional activities or sports retraining.

*  Goals: Stop progression of curves

*  Improvement of cosmesis

*  Improvement of general health

*  To assist in coping and understanding the psycho-social impact of the deformity and treatment

*  Diminish functional limitations

How long is the Schroth based treatment?

      Please call to schedule a free consult.


                Treatment programs at PRNJ are approximately 40 hrs in total for adolescents.    20-40 hrs are recommended to be accomplished through an intensive model.

  1. 40 hrs can be done within 10 business days, 4 hrs per day. (For families from out of state or country)
  2. 20 hours can be done within 2 weeks, 2hrs per day/5 days per week. Follow up is then individualized based on learning rate, level of independence, acquisition of goals. Follow up sessions are 1hr and may be 1-3x/week decreasing to 1x/month till discharge. (For locally residing families)
  3. Adults with pain, degenerating spines, or juvenile IS require individual evaluation and treatment scheduling. (A C2 level certified therapist is required for this treatment)
  4.  Individual treatment programs are available, please call to schedule a free consult.

What if surgery is planned or already performed?

                Schroth based program can be modified for post-surgical fusion. A C2 level certified therapist is required for this treatment. The program is also an excellent way to strengthen core and gain flexibility prior to surgery.


Where can I find more information?

                Following are the recommended websites for additional information on AIS and treatment

www.sosort.mobi for SOSORT


www.srs.org  for the Scoliosis Research Society

www.bspts.net for the Barcelona Scoliosis Physiotherapy School

www.apta.org for the American Physical Therapy Association