Scoliosis Treatments

The Sydney Scoliosis Clinic is Australia’s first dedicated non-surgical scoliosis treatment centre.  Non-surgical treatments have the best result when the scoliosis is detected early and patients are treated with appropriate and proven methods. However even in cases where the scoliosis is established some non-surgical treatment can be helpful. Our philosophy is to provide the right scoliosis treatment at the right time!

Why non-surgical treatment?

Although scoliosis surgery may be the appropriate treatment in some cases. Successful non-surgical treatment means that patients can live their lives without suffering from the side effects of surgery such as spinal stiffness and scarring, and with out the worry of the risks associated with surgery.

Non-surgical treatment may also help to improve the quality of life of those patients that suffer from scoliosis. Some treatments can reduce back pain caused by scoliosis, slow or stop scoliosis progression of the scoliosis or even improve the look of the body which is sometimes unbalanced because of the scoliosis.

It is important for patients and parents to understand that not all non-surgical treatments help scoliosis. Some treatments have been sown to be more helpful than others. It is therefore important to choose a treatment that has evidence behind it as there is often a small window of opportunity for non-surgical treatment to be helpful.

It is also important to understand that different cases require different approaches. The age of the patient, the size of the curve, and the type of scoliosis all mean that what might work for one person will not necessarily work for another. This is why is is so important to treat each case individually and to chose the “right treatment at the right time”.

Please note: It is NEVER too early to treat scoliosis. If your child has be diagnosed with a scoliosis and no treatment has been recommended, please contact us for a second opinion.

Although it is our goal to successfully treat scoliosis without surgery it is important to note that in some cases, surgery may be the best treatment option and we work with doctors and orthopaedic surgeons to ensure the best results.

 

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Exercise Programs

Specific scoliosis physiotherapy and scoliosis rehabilitation exercise programs can play an important role in scoliosis treatment. Traditionally most surgeons have been of the opinion that “physiotherapy does not work for scoliosis”. This is true for general physiotherapy and exercise used to try and stop progression of idiopathic scoliosis. However the development of scoliosis specific programs such as Scientific Exercise Approach to Scoliosis (SEAS) the Schroth approach and the SpineCor Corrective Movement therapy, offer a new role for Rehabilitation approaches  in scoliosis treatment.

For example in a small adolescent idiopathic curve i.e. less than 25 degrees where there is a family history of scoliosis, a specific scoliosis physiotherapy program may be the most suitable initial treatment. Another example can be when a curve is non progressive i.e. in late adolescents or middle age. With Physiotherapy alone it maybe be possible to help improve posture, manage pain and stabilise the spine.

In cases of a progressive idiopathic scoliosis where the curve is greater than 25 degrees, scoliosis rehabilitation is used in conjunction with brace treatments.

Research has shown that when specialised scoliosis rehabilitation has been used in conjunction with bracing it has improved the results of hard bracing. In this case the rehabilitation program is designed to  help to strengthen the muscles and keep the spine flexible. When physical therapy is not used with hard bracing the correction achieved during the time of bracing is usually lost within 24 months of finishing brace treatment.

It is important to understand that only specialised physiotherapy and rehabilitation programs specifically designed to treat scoliosis have been shown to be helpful.

At the Sydney Scoliosis Clinic  we are committed to offering a range of evidence based rehabilitation approaches to scoliosis treatment.

Brace Treatment:

When a scoliosis continues to progress despite rehabilitation or if the curve is large start with then bracing is often recommended as a treatment option. In cases of Juvenile and Adolescent Idiopathic scoliosis, dynamic flexible brace options have been shown to be an effective treatment in many of cases. Research reports that surgery can be avoided in over 75% of cases where the curve is between 20 and 40 degrees and the patient is still relatively young.

Every treatment has it limitations and not all patients are candidates for dynamic bracing. For larger curves 40 to 50 degrees , it may be more suitable to recommend a rigid, 3 dimensional super corrective brace that could be used in combination with specific scoliosis rehabilitation programs such as SEAS and Schroth physiotherapy.