What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a general term that covers a group of conditions consisting of changes in the shape and position of the spine, thorax, and trunk. The curve can be “functional” in nature, which means that the curve is secondary to causes such as leg length difference, or muscle tone asymmetry. In contrast, the curve can be “structural”, which means that the causes of the curve started in the spine and vertebral changes are noted.

Of the types of structural scoliosis, Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) makes up 80% of these cases. AIS presents in otherwise healthy, typically-developing children and teenagers. It typically develops or progresses during the pre-pubertal growth spurt, as the child gains height in the spine. The cause of AIS is still unknown, but research is showing that it’s likely multifactorial in origin.

There are two main groups of adults with scoliosis. A large proportion of these adults were diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis as children and have now matured with symptoms that intensify in adulthood; the other portion of adults are those who develop scoliosis, called “de novo scoliosis”, due to degenerative spinal changes that occur in the spinal column.

What is the Schroth Method?

Scheuermann’s Kyphosis is characterized by changes in the spine causing a curve from the sideview, resulting in a rounded forward posture. Similarly to scoliosis, these vertebral changes occur mostly during the adolescence, and symptoms can worsen with age.

Conservative management can help with kids, teens, and adults who have Scoliosis or Scheuermann’s Kyphosis. It consists of Physiotherapeutic Scoliosis-Specific Exercises (PSSE) by a Schroth-certified Physical Therapist and Bracing by a Certified Orthotist. Read on to learn more about The ScoliClinic Experience and how we tailor our treatments for each patient population.

(from Berdishevsky 2016, and schrothmethod.com)

Is there a cure for scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a change in the shape of the vertebrae that typically occurs during the pre-pubertal growth spurts in adolescence. Unfortunately, there is no cure for scoliosis at this point.

Conservative treatments like physiotherapy and bracing aim to improve posture, strengthen back, shoulder, core, and pelvic muscles, decrease pain, and slow the curve progression as much as possible.

Can my spine become straighter?

It depends! Every scoliosis curve has a structural component, which is determined by the shape of the vertebrae; and a postural component, which is determined by your movement patterns, body awareness, general strength and flexibility, and specific strength in muscles that contribute to posture.

If your curve has a large postural component, then there is a higher potential to make change. The Schroth-certified physiotherapists at The ScoliClinic can work with you to assess your curve and set realistic expectations for physical therapy.

What is the difference between your services compared to other physiotherapy clinics?

Standard Canadian physical therapy curriculums do not teach about the complex 3-dimensional nature of scoliosis. All of The ScoliClinic Physical Therapists have been trained in a scoliosis-specific physiotherapeutic approach called The Schroth Method and have dedicated their time to refining their expertise in this area. We’re 100% committed to working with clients with scoliosis and Scheuermann’s Kyphosis – and that’s what sets us apart!

Scoliosis-specific exercises require a specific set up, equipment, appointment structure, and documentation – and we have created the ideal infrastructure for each of our clients to be as successful as possible.

Our Client Coordinators have extensive experience with the medical imaging facilities in our province and are able to facilitate the process of obtaining your X-Rays for your therapist to analyze.

How many sessions will it take?

This depends on many factors. Our goal is to provide you with the education you need to understand how to perform postural ‘autocorrections’ that are specific to your curve, and how to integrate these principles into your daily life.

As these exercises are complex, we find that this typically takes 6-10 one-on-one sessions with your physiotherapist, but this highly depends on:

  • a presence of pain or discomfort
  • general body awareness and coordination levels
  • your ability to practice home exercises
  • general fitness level

Your physiotherapist strives to be as efficient as possible, so depending on your response to the treatment, you may require fewer treatment sessions than outlined above.

What happens in the initial assessment?

We want to hear your story. Your initial assessment will start with an in-depth conversation about you (or your child’s) scoliosis history, and the journey that you’ve undergone so far.

Next, The ScoliClinic physiotherapists will do a physical assessment of your spine to take some baseline measures, explaining the significance of what we’re doing every step of the way.

Then, we’ll explain our understanding of scoliosis – theories on how it starts, how it progresses, and where physical therapy fits into the picture.

Finally, based on the findings, your goals and personal circumstances, we’ll come up with a therapy plan that is best for you or your child.

Please note that as this first appointment is very detailed, we typically do not have time to start exercises in this first session. Our therapists will analyze all the findings and the X-Ray (if available) to create a custom program for you to start on your second session.

Is it covered by benefits?

Yes, depending on your coverage. We will provide you with a receipt at the end of your treatment that you can submit to your extended benefits provider for reimbursement. However, unfortunately, we do not bill directly to insurance companies.

What should I wear to my appointments?

It is ideal if our physiotherapists can see the majority of you back, shoulders, and pelvis alignment to provide accurate cues while you exercise.

We recommend that our female clients wear a sports bra and leggings or tighter fitted shorts, with hair tied up in a bun. You can also bring a tight, plain and light-coloured tank top to wear over your sports bra.

For our male clients, you will likely need to take your shirt off for assessments and postural corrections. Please wear shorts or pants that you can comfortably move around in – soccer pants are a great option.

What is your cancellation policy?

We require a 24 hour notice for appointment cancellations. A fee is charged if insufficient notice is given.

What payment methods can I use?

We accept Visa, Mastercard, cash, or cheque. However, we do not take Amex or debit at this time.

Is there parking?

VANCOUVER:
Yes! We have plenty of free 2 hour street parking in the front, or on residential side streets (maximum of 3 hours). There is also parking stalls in the back labeled with numbers (1-15).

SURREY:
Yes! We have a few parking stalls labeled ‘VALLEY’, as well as plenty of street parking.