Scoliosis: Newly diagnosed?

When patients are first diagnosed with scoliosis, they often have a lot of questions. Here are answers to a number of common questions:

Are there any exercises that will prevent scoliosis from getting worse?

No. However, physical therapists at Children's use special exercises to help manage scoliosis. These exercises are based on your child’s individual curve and activities, whether he or she has pain, and current strength and flexibility. Physical therapy may be a part of your child’s scoliosis treatment plan because it can improve breathing, posture, balance, movement and overall quality of life.

I've heard about a different way to treat scoliosis called the Schroth method. Do Children's Hospital's physical therapists use this method?

Every child's needs and goals are different. Our highly trained physical therapists have found that patients have the best results when we use a variety of treatment methods to manage scoliosis. We use elements of a research-based method called the Scientific Exercise Approach to Scoliosis, as well as other physical therapy methods, to develop a very individualized and practical approach to care. Our goal is to make sure patients develop a greater awareness of their posture and provide them with the tools to maintain improved posture. We do that through:

  • Flexibility training
  • Balance and coordination activities
  • Retraining breathing and posture
  • Strengthening and conditioning exercises
  • Therapy and massage techniques

Physical therapists work very closely with your child's team of orthopedic specialists to ensure your child's curve is closely monitored and care best meets your child's specific needs. We have a very conservative approach to care.
We'll work with you and your child so you understand treatment goals. Treatment goals may include sitting with better posture, participation in sports and recreational activities, or simply feeling better about the way he or she looks.

Will scoliosis prevent my child from playing sports or doing certain activities?

No. However, kids with scoliosis need to do exercises that keep their back and leg muscles flexible. Sports and exercises that require using both sides of the body are especially important to keep the whole body strong. Sports or activities like volleyball, gymnastics, ballet and tennis use one side of the body more than the other. If your child is involved in one of these sports, our physical therapists can help find the best exercises and stretches to help strengthen both sides of his or her body.