About Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS)
Like other types of scoliosis AIS is characterised by an abnormal sideways S or C curve of the spine. Children with AIS are generally otherwise healthy. AIS is the most common type of scoliosis. Approximately 4% of all children between 10 and 18 years old will develop this type of scoliosis. AIS is more commonly seen in girls than boys – 90% of scoliosis cases are girls. AIS often begins to develop at the initial onset of puberty becoming more apparent as it worsens during growth spurts.
AIS has a better prognosis than juvenille scoliosis, but can still progress to become a signiﬁcant issue if it is not detected early and properly managed. It is not uncommon for adolescents with large curves or curves that progress quickly to develop some back pain. The most effective non-surgical treatment is bracing but for curves under 25 degrees exercise may be appropriate.
Depending on the curve a dynamic brace may be recommended to retrain and strengthen the spine. In some situations, a dynamic brace can be used in adolescent cases with curves as large as 45 degrees.
Specific scoliosis physiotherapy is often prescribed in conjunction with bracing treatment. The goal of these types of programs are to strengthen the back muscles that would otherwise become weak from the immobilisation caused by the brace.