Early intervention

Scoliosis Screening

<< Early intervention requires effective scoliosis screening at an early age.

Observation vs. Early Intervention

The traditional medical approach to managing scoliosis is to “wait and see” and if the scoliosis gets large enough, then surgery is performed. This approach is referred to as “observation”. While it is important to monitor a developing scoliosis, non-surgical treatments have been developed which have been shown to stop and or slow progression of scoliosis in the majority of cases.  Therefore it makes sense to try these treatments rather than to wait until the scoliosis needs surgery. The key to success is to start these treatments as early as possible, as the larger the scoliosis becomes, the more difficult it is to treat.

Early Intervention with Scoliosis Exercise

General exercise approaches such as swimming, core strengthening, pilates, and yoga are not supported by research as effective interventions against the progression of scoliosis. Similarly, general physiotherapy, chiropractic, and osteopathy, while beneficial for general spinal health, have not shown the ability to slow or stop the progression of scoliosis, even if administered early.

The Scientific Exercise Approach to Scoliosis (SEAS) published research in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine in 2008, studying 74 consecutive adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients with an average curve of 15 degrees. The patients were on average 12.5 years of age. 35 patients were enrolled in the SEAS exercise group and 39 patients received regular physical therapy. From the SEAS group, only 6.1% of these patient progressed and required a scoliosis brace, whereas 25% in the regular physiotherapy group progressed and required bracing. (JEB TO EDIT).

Sydney Scoliosis Clinic is one of the only clinics in Australia with Advanced Certification in the SEAS program.

(Jeb to find study on General Exercise and Scoliosis)

Early Intervention with Scoliosis Bracing

Scoliosis bracing is often not considered a good early intervention as some curves, less than 20 degrees, have been shown to spontaneously resolve or not progress. However, in cases where there is a strong family history, monitored progression, or positive genetic testing, scoliosis bracing may be the most appropriate treatment.

The SpineCor dynamic scoliosis brace has been shown to be an effective treatment for both early intervention in small adolescent idiopathic curves and as a brace treatment for juvenile scoliosis. (Jeb to find references for studies supporting this statement)

The use of rigid night-time braces has also been proposed as a less invasive alternative to full time rigid bracing in small curves. Both the SpineCor dynamic brace, and the Ortholutions night time brace are available through Sydney Scoliosis Clinic.