Frequent questions about scoliosis
Can scoliosis be corrected?
Scoliosis develops continuously; especially in children who go through their development phase. Therefore our first concern is to stop its development and subsequently correct the sideways curve and rotation when they are observed.
For instance, if an 8-9 year old child with diagnosed scoliosis of 20ο does not treat scoliosis with specific exercises, his/her scoliosis will most probably deteriorate to over 40ο by the time s/he reaches adulthood, causing numerous problems. With the specific exercises, we aim to prevent scoliosis from progressing and attempt to reduce the sideways curve.
My child does gymnastics and ballet. Does it help scoliosis?
No positive results can be achieved with ballet or gymnastics. No sport can replace the exercises which are specific for the treatment of scoliosis. Taking into consideration that the program of exercises for each child is different and personalized for the specific type of scoliosis and has as a target to achieve specific corrections in the body, how is it possible for a team sport or hobby to be able to assist the treatment of scoliosis?
I have read on the Internet that swimming can help for scoliosis, is it true?
In the past, it was widely accepted that swimming helps. However, there is not any scientific research proving that swimming can help; on the contrary we observe that a high percentage of swimmers – around 20% – have scoliosis. This may be due to the continuous rotational movement during swimming (e.g. freestyle swimming) which increases the rotational forces exerted on the trunk.
My child often complains about feeling pain in the waist, either during exercise or even when getting rest. Can this pain be due to scoliosis?
Yes, scoliosis can cause pain. Usually this pain is muscular, due to many asymmetries and imbalances observed in the body. Some muscles in the trunk hyperfunction and lead to muscle spasm which results in the child getting tired quickly and feeling pain.
Can scoliosis be treated in an adult?
Scoliosis can be treated both in a child and an adult. The objectives and the results we want to achieve for an adult are different than those for a child. Usually, an adult has to deal with other problems in the waist which, in combination with scoliosis, are annoying and cause pain especially during exercising.
What is needed is a correct thorough evaluation of the problem and resolution of the issues related to the trunk and the spine. Every day in our centre we meet patients with all kinds of musculoskeletal problems and with the use of state-of-the-art equipment that we have available we are in a position to help for each possible problem in the spine.
Development is not ongoing in adults, and therefore scoliosis does not deteriorate or its progress is at a very slow pace. Hence, the improvement an individual can achieve regarding the degrees of the sideways curvature and rotation of the trunk is smaller than a child’s. Thus, our first target is to treat pain and subsequently intervene by treating scoliosis and the aesthetic result.
Many doctors do not recommend physiotherapy and specialized exercise for treating scoliosis. What is the reason?
There are indeed doctors who do not know the usefulness of the Schroth scoliosis-specific exercises and consequently they do not propose physiotherapy to individuals. They recommend to parents that the child starts a sport which is usually swimming, and ballet for girls.
The scoliosis scientific communities of SOSORT and SRS have proven with scientific research the usefulness of the Schroth exercises and there are numerous examples of individuals with exceptional results which significantly improved their scoliosis.
Additionally, many doctors have bad experiences with practitioners who declare to be “experts” in treating scoliosis by offering general exercises and stretching of the trunk with very poor results.
My child does sports (e.g. football, basketball, tennis etc.). Does s/he have to stop?
Definitely not. A sport activity may not be recommended as an alternative treatment for scoliosis, but participation in sports is highly recommended for all the general benefits of physical exercise.
When is the use of a brace necessary?
This is decided upon evaluation of each individual. There are a number of factors which must be evaluated. The measurement of the Cobb angle in combination with the child’s development stage, the Risser Sign, are the two important factors which determine the selection of the most appropriate treatment for the child. These factors determine whether the use of a brace is required, or specific exercises or monitoring are simply adequate, whereas they can determine the frequency of applying the exercises.
If my child needs a brace, does s/he have to do the exercises?
The treatment involving a brace must be always combined with scoliosis-specific exercises.
When is surgery required to treat scoliosis?
Surgery is applied to cases of scoliosis larger than 45ο, when the child is still growing up and a conservative treatment with special exercises cannot lead to positive results.