How is scoliosis diagnosed?
Diagnosing scoliosis involves a thorough assessment of the patient and analysis of some specific test results. The first step involves taking a thorough medical history to ensure we have the details required before starting the physical examination. The history can provide us with some vital information towards guiding a diagnosis.
After that we start the physical assessment of the patient. This includes a variety of observations and measurements, including posture and movements, as well as conducting some very important standardised tests of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.
The final part of the assessment will involve analysis of X-rays and, where required, other radiological scans. Together with the history and assessments the radiological information and measurements can give us vital information to finalise a scoliosis diagnosis and classification. When patients have not yet had any X-rays or other scans, we can provide recommendations if necessary.
Which scoliosis do I have?
The short answer is, we don’t know until we assess you! There are many types of scoliosis. The most common scoliosis classification is ‘Idiopathic Scoliosis’. A patient will be diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis when a reason for the scoliosis cannot be found. For example, if a 13 year old is diagnosed with scoliosis of unknown cause then the diagnosis becomes Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. If, for example, a neurological reason for the scoliosis is found, then the diagnosis and classification of the scoliosis will change. The best way to find out for yourself is to see us for an individualised assessment.
I have been diagnosed with scoliosis and told to ‘wait and see’. What should I do?
If you are concerned about the diagnosis given to you, or the recommendation of treatment you should seek a second opinion from a scoliosis clinician. Contact us at ScoliCare on 1300 883 884
Scoliosis - when to brace scoliosis and where to go?
Our philosophy at ScoliCare is making sure each patient gets “the right treatment at the right time”. This is especially true of bracing. As a general rule we will brace a patient when there is a high chance that their scoliosis will get worse without a brace, or, if there is an opportunity for the patient to see some improvement from bracing. Typically, bracing will be recommended if a patient has a curve above 20 degrees.
Who treats scoliosis in adults?
ScoliCare does! Unfortunately, scoliosis is a condition that you have for life. At ScoliCare we have treatment options for patients of all ages which, of course, includes adults. We have a number of different options for the adult patients ranging from scoliosis specific rehabilitation using our ScoliBalance program, all the way through to our custom-made braces. Each brace is individualised. Once we meet you and undertake an assessment, we’ll be able to determine what the best course of action is for your scoliosis, including finding a protocol that fits your lifestyle.
Are scoliosis braces effective?
In many cases, yes. A big part of our assessment at ScoliCare is determining the goals of the patient and what they would see as ‘successful’ treatment. We find that each patient has different goals and so we work with you to ensure we are on the same page. We then come up with an action plan to guide you towards that success. This can mean a few different things when it comes to the bracing part of the treatment options. We can use a brace to help reduce pain or to stop a curve from worsening. If the curve is flexible enough, we can even see scoliosis curves become smaller. Our treatment plan is always individualised for the patient, with their specific goals in mind.
What is the best treatment for scoliosis?
The treatment recommended for scoliosis will vary with the individual patient. Their individual situation, the severity and location of the curve, their age and potential for further growth will all contribute to finding the right treatment for them.
If I have scoliosis, will my children have it?
Scoliosis is considered a partially genetic condition. With this in mind, it is important to have children screened regularly if you have a family history of scoliosis especially during their growth spurts (10 to 15 years old). Or if your mother or father is experiencing back pain they should be checked for scoliosis.
Why didn’t we recognise the scoliosis sooner?
Scoliosis curves can worsen very quickly particularly during pre-adolescence. You may not have taken your child to see your doctor at this time of growth.
Can exercise fix my scoliosis?
There is no scientifically-proven exercise therapy that will reduce a scoliosis or prevent a curve from progressing. However, there are special exercise and rehabilitation programs which have been designed to address the scoliosis curve and these have shown to be very effective in certain cases. The physiotheraputic scoliosis specific exercise program used by ScoliCare is called ScoliBalance.
How does a ScoliBalance program work?
ScoliBalance is a scoliosis specific exercise program that follows the principles of the SOSORT international guidelines. In this program ScoliBalance Providers teach scoliosis specific 3D posture corrections (ScoliCorrections) so that the patient learns how to improve their posture. From there they are taught exercises (ScoliExercises) whereby they hold their ScoliCorrections while they perform exercises specifically prescribed for them. The program often incorporatees the use of the ScoliRoll (for scoliosis) or Denneroll (for hyperkyphosis) to enhance the correction to the spine and posture.
How often should ScoliBalance practice occur?
Each patient is provided with an individualised home exercise program so that they can practice at home. We recommend daily practice for 20 minutes. In addition to this the patient is often asked to use the ScoliRoll or Denneroll for up to 20-25 minutes per day (depending on each individual prescription).
Do I practice ScoliBalance in a brace?
The ScoliBalance program is often used by patients who wear a brace. Once the curve in an adolescent gets beyond a certain size (usually 20-25 degrees) then the ScoliBalance program is generally combined with bracing. ScoliCorrections should be practiced without the brace on so that the patient can achieve the best possible correction. However, sometimes the patient will also be prescribed some general strength exercises to be performed in brace.
Adults can also be taught the ScoliBalance program however the program will be modified according to the patient’s signs and symptoms.
Can ScoliBalance be used for hyperkyphosis and Scheuermann's disease?
Yes. In this instance the program is modified to account for the changes that are creating the increasingly kyphotic posture in the patient. In some cases the patient may have hyperkyphosis and scoliosis and the program can also be tailored accordingly.