One of the most common spinal conditions is scoliosis. It’s a term that describes an abnormal, sideways curvature of the spine. The curvature can range from minor to severe and doesn’t cause pain in most instances, but it does need to be monitored by a physical therapist who can determine if the curvature is getting worse and provide treatment if needed.

Scoliosis causes areas of the spine to form a C or S shape. In the severest forms, it can result in gait disruptions and disability.

Minor curvatures often go unnoticed and many cases may be mistakenly attributed to poor posture or activities such as playing video games hunched in awkward positions. A physical therapist will look for signs they’ve been specially trained to identify that include one side of the body appearing to be tilted or “higher” than the other.

There’s no way to determine the degree of curvature that will occur or who will develop scoliosis. Treatment and management plans are customized to the individual, factoring in the degree of curvature, the child’s age and when treatment commences.

Treatment options

The usual treatment for scoliosis is a back brace for youngsters that aren’t skeletally mature. It won’t reverse the existing curvature, but the goal is to stop the progression as the child grows. Once a patient has stopped growing, further curvature typically stops. Custom braces that are removable are an option.

Surgery is the last resort of scoliosis treatment and we provide a variety of therapies for healing and rehabilitation. Our therapists provide recommendations for ergonomic and environmental adaptations that reduce the risk of injury and enhance mobility.

Customized orthotic devices are available to address differences in leg length when the curvature has affected posture and a gait analysis is effective for pinpointing the exact location of potential points of concern. Our therapists assist patients in the use, care and operation of mobility aids, along with posture improvement and new ways to move.

Therapeutic massage therapy is also available to ease pain, maintain health of soft tissues and enhance flexibility.

An early diagnosis and close monitoring is critical in the treatment of scoliosis. Our practice offers expertise and technology to treat patients with scoliosis at all levels of curvature and address the special considerations of children.