Exercise & Rehabilitation
Specialised scoliosis and kyphosis specific exercise programs play an important role in the treatment of scoliosis and kyphosis in both children and adults.
Traditionally there has been the opinion that “exercise does not work for scoliosis”. While this is true for general exercise (eg. core stabilisation, pilates) there are now specialised scoliosis speciﬁc exercise programs that are supported by published evidence and are regarded as effective when delivered by certiﬁed providers.
There are various scoliosis specific exercise programs. Some come from physical therapy such as SEAS^ and Scroth* and some come from chiropractic such as Chiropractic Biophysics or CLEAR.
ScoliCare clinicians have been trained in these techniques and over the years have combined the best elements from these programs to create the ScoliBalance® approach. ScoliBalance is a specialised scoliosis specific exercise program that is tailored to each individual patient according to their curve type, symptoms and treatment goals.
It is important to understand that only specialised scoliosis rehabilitation and exercise programs that are speciﬁcally designed to treat scoliosis, like ScoliBalance, have been shown to be helpful. The Scoliosis Rehabilitation Therapists at ScoliCare Clinics teach patients this program, individualised for each patient.
ScoliBalance: Our Approach to Exercise
ScoliBalance provides the patient with an individualised scoliosis specific exercise program based on their curve type and postural characteristics that also addresses any relevant functional weaknesses.
The patient is taught a scoliosis specific 3D posture correction (ScoliCorrection) that positions their spine in the straightest possible alignment. They then learn specific ScoliExercises with the aim of holding their ScoliCorrection while performing the exercises. Patients learn this program in-clinic and practice at home between clinic appointments.
As the patient becomes more familiar with the program, they are taught to integrate the ScoliCorrection into their daily activities. This helps to subconsciously train the body to hold the ScoliCorrection helping to reduce or stabilise the scoliosis curve.
The program also often uses a ScoliRoll (for scoliosis) or Denneroll (for hyperkyphosis) to enhance the correction to the spine and posture.
ScoliBalance is delivered in accordance with the SOSORT** guidelines (1).
How can ScoliBalance help?
ScoliBalance can be used as part of a complete approach to care for patients with scoliosis or kyphosis. It may assist to:
- Slow down/stop curve progression
- Aid in the reduction of flexible scoliosis curves
- Improve coronal and sagittal balance
- Complement brace wear to help maintain the correction achieved with bracing
- Improve muscular balance
- Improve spinal flexibility
- Improve posture and body appearance
- Reduce pain
- Improve standing balance and reduce fall risk in older adults.
For smaller curves
In the case of small adolescent idiopathic curves of less than 20 degrees, ScoliBalance may help to stop the curve from progressing and improve posture and body cosmetics.
For non-progressive curves
ScoliBalance may also be used without bracing when a curve is non-progressive, for example, in older adolescent or young adult cases where the focus is to help improve posture, manage pain and stabilise the spine.
In combination with bracing
The principles of the ScoliCorrection used in ScoliBalance are consistent with the corrective approach used in the design of the ScoliBrace.
When ScoliBalance and the ScoliBrace are combined, research (2) shows that muscle endurance and spinal flexibility can be improved during treatment. Although not recommended, in cases where patients are wearing a different brace, the ScoliBalance program may help to counter the negative effects of other braces such as stiffening of the spine and muscle weakness.
By focusing on improvements in spinal balance, ScoliBalance is effective at reducing back pain in the majority of scoliosis cases. If the curve is flexible, it may also be possible to achieve improvement to body appearance. ScoliBalance may also improve standing balance and reduce fall risk in older adults.
While ScoliBalance is very helpful in pain management, it may also aid in slowing the progression of a degenerative curve. However where degenerative progression is present, an adult custom 3D brace should be recommended.
- (1) 2016 SOSORT guidelines: Orthopaedic and rehabilitation treatment of idiopathic scoliosis during growth, Negrini et al, 2018. Paper here
- (2) Improvement of trunk muscle endurance in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) patients undergoing ScoliBrace and Scientific Exercise Approach to Scoliosis (SEAS) treatment, SOSORT Book of Abstracts, SOSORT Lyon 2017. Paper here
- ^ Scientific Exercise Approach to Scoliosis
- **SOSORT is the International Society of Scoliosis Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Treatment.