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How Physiotherapy May Help Scoliosis

physiotherapy helps scoliosis

Scoliosis is a musculoskeletal condition where a person’s spine has an abnormal lateral or sideways curve. This condition can affect people of any age, though it is most commonly diagnosed in girls aged between nine and 14. In Australia, one in 15 girls develops some form of scoliosis during their growing period. 

While for some people this condition is mainly cosmetic, it is also known to cause pain and may have a negative effect on physical function. If left untreated, scoliosis will continue to progress and may cause further issues. However, therapies such as physiotherapy may be able to help to reduce a person’s pain and increase their strength, flexibility, and overall quality of life. 

This article explains what scoliosis is, what physiotherapy is, and how physiotherapy may be able to help people with scoliosis. For personalised advice, contact our team at NDPE today.


What Is Scoliosis? 

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that typically manifests just before puberty, resulting in the formation of an “S” or “C” shaped spine. While the cause of most cases is unknown, it’s most commonly a result of muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and injuries to the spine. The majority of cases are mild, but the condition can create severe complications as a child matures. 

There are two main types of scoliosis: 

Structural Scoliosis 

Structural scoliosis is the more common form and usually involves a sideways curvature of the spine in addition to spine rotation, which may result in the ribs being more prominent on one side from the back. Depending on its cause, structural scoliosis can be further classified into idiopathic scoliosis, neuromuscular scoliosis, and congenital scoliosis. 

This form of scoliosis is typically permanent and is not reversible with physiotherapy, though physiotherapy may be able to assist significantly. A physiotherapist may focus on minimising the rate of its progression and help in the long-term management of the condition. 

Postural Scoliosis 

Postural scoliosis tends to occur due to chronic poor posture, though it can also be caused by a physical irregularity of the body, for example a person having one leg longer than another. This form of scoliosis doesn’t involve any spine rotation, and may temporarily ‘disappear’ when the person bends forwards or lies flat. 

Physiotherapy for postural scoliosis focuses on addressing the underlying cause, which in many cases tends to be poor posture. A physiotherapist may assist somebody with postural scoliosis by helping them to maintain strength and movement of the spine in an effort to resume normal body functioning.


What Is Physiotherapy? 

Physiotherapy, or physio as it is frequently called, is a health field that is aimed at the assessment, maintenance, and restoration of the physical function and performance of the body. It’s a natural form of treatment with a holistic approach that emphasises wellness of the entire body and not just the affected body part.  

Physiotherapy involves manual manipulation of the joints, muscles and bones, and can aid in relieving pain. It may also be used in conjunction with other therapies to maximise its effectiveness. Treatment may include gentle pressure, stretching and resistance techniques. The exact type of treatment will depend largely on the severity and underlying cause of an issue.  

Physiotherapy offers a non-invasive treatment. It doesn’t rely on expensive medications that may have adverse side effects, but some medications may be part of a complete treatment plan.


Can Physiotherapy Help With Scoliosis? 

Physiotherapy treatments such as stretching may help with the management of scoliosis. Physiotherapy may help reduce pain caused by scoliosis and allow for more flexibility and stability. 

The treatment plan will differ for each person with scoliosis depending on the severity of the case and your goals. Some of the most commonly prescribed exercises include: 

  •     Upper back rotational stretch
  •     Lower back rotational stretch
  •     Door frame stretch
  •     Side plank thread the needle
  •     Split stance with arm reach

Some exercises may not be suitable for you, so always consult with a physiotherapist before starting a stretching routine. 

Physiotherapy may provide a wide range of benefits for people with scoliosis, such as: 

  •     Pain and symptom management
  •     Stability and strengthening exercises
  •     Improving spine mobility
  •     Postural correction
  •     Respiratory management
  •     Bracing

While no treatment can cure or reverse scoliosis, physiotherapy can help by relieving pain and maintaining flexibility. It may also benefit the lymphatic, circulatory and nervous systems. One of our experienced physiotherapists will work closely with primary care physicians to provide the most effective treatment available for sufferers of scoliosis.  

Northern Districts Physiotherapy And Sports Clinic Is Here To Help 

If you are suffering from scoliosis, then you can trust one of our experienced physiotherapists at NDPE to help! Our team can get you to get back to 100% by reducing your pain and improving function! Call NDPE on 02 9874 8410.


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Northern Districts Physiotherapy

Northern Districts Physiotherapy & Sports Clinic was established in 1995 and consists of an energetic team of highly qualified and experienced professionals who take the time to understand ...


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