Scoliosis in Adults

Research is showing that scoliosis is significantly more common in the adult population than in children – up to 60% of all adults have some form of scoliosis (Schwab et al, 2005).
Combined with aging-related postural changes, scoliosis may create issues such as pain, discomfort, alignment issues, aesthetic concerns, and further progression of the curve.

Adults with scoliosis can participate in most activities and sports they enjoy. However, if you’re experience any of the issues above, you may benefit from guidance to learn curve-specific exercises to support your spine, discuss how to adjust activities as required, and implement strategies to help you live a strong, healthy, fulfilling life.

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What causes scoliosis in adults? 

Some cases of scoliosis are classified as denegerative or de novo scoliosis. This can be caused by a previously-stable adolescent-onset scoliosis that progressed late in adulthood, or by structural changes of the spine that occur with aging such as asymmetrical osteoporotic fractures, disc degeneration, or facet arthrosis (Ledonio et al 2013).

Adults with scoliosis may experience back pain, stiffness, or difficulty at work or while doing activities that they love.

The ScoliClinic’s physical therapists will review your X-Ray (if available), perform a detailed assessment, and discuss your goals to create a customized home exercise program that is best suited to your needs.

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What types of treatment are available for adults with scoliosis?

Treatment guidelines for adults take a wider range of factors into consideration, to determine the most effective combination of curve-specific Physiotherapy, custom spinal bracing, and surgery:

  • How many curves are present?
  • What’s the size of the curves?
  • Is there discomfort, pain, or other symptoms?
  • Are the curves stable? Is there progression / structural changes despite skeletal maturity?

Our team follows the recommendations of the Society on Scoliosis Rehabilitation and Treatment (SOSORT), the international group dedicated to pursuing research and publishing clinical guidelines on best practice for the various ages and stages of scoliosis. Read the most recent published guidelines, and speak with a scoliosis-trained therapist to discuss how these guidelines may apply to your specific situation.

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What’s the goal of physiotherapy treatment for adults with scoliosis?

Scoliosis-Specific Physiotherapy and Massage Therapy based in The Schroth Method can be helpful at any stage, depending on your goals.

Goals for scoliosis treatment in adults are determined by YOU. Common goals we hear are:

  1. Address back pain and discomfort by stabilizing your spine through curve-specific strengthening
  2. Improve posture and aesthetics
  3. Prevent further degeneration of the curve
  4. Increase your education on movements to avoid, and modifications to your daily activities
  5. Improve your respiratory efficiency

A custom brace may be helpful to support you for short periods as you perform certain daily activities. Your ScoliClinic Physiotherapist can discuss if bracing may be appropriate for you, and can connect you with a Certified Orthotist trained in 3-dimensional scoliosis bracing.

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How can Scoliosis-Specific Physiotherapy help people who have spinal fusion surgery or Harrington rods?

Whether you had spinal surgery one, five, or twenty-five years ago, scoliosis-specific Physiotherapy using Schroth Method principles may be beneficial to addressing your current concerns.

If you recently had surgery, you may benefit from a structured post-surgical rehabilitation plan, guided by our scoliosis-trained Physiotherapists. Registered Massage Therapy may also help with scar management, pain and tension, and other discomfort.

Your body alignment often changes following a surgery to correct scoliosis or Scheuermann’s Kyphosis, and your body has to adapt to this new alignment.

Although your spine may appear straighter after your surgery, you may still be experiencing pain, discomfort, tension, or numbness. Many people also have areas of the spine that were not fused and still have minor curves, also known as residual curves. Scoliosis-specific Physiotherapy may help to support these curves and prevent further progression of these unfused areas.

Most importantly, your Therapists at The ScoliClinic will assess any available imaging and speak with you in detail to learn more about your spinal curvature and alignment before your surgery, to understand which muscle imbalances may still exist after the surgery. With this knowledge, your therapist can work with you to design a treatment plan to address your current goals.

Before your appointment

Please note our cancellation policy: For regular appointments, we require 48 hours notice for any cancellations or changes to your appointment. Clients who provide less than 48 hours notice, or miss their appointment, will be charged a non-refundable cancellation fee of 60% of the original appointment fee. For non-resident intensive treatment blocks, please ask our staff about the booking & cancellation policies.

To maximize your session, please bring:

  • X-ray images if available – we may be able to request images on your behalf for a fee, however some facilities require that you request and pay for them yourself
  • Any relevant reports
  • Moveable clothing (sports bra / tank top, shorts or leggings). Plain, fitted, light-coloured clothing is preferred

Please note: Although we may bill directly to extended medical providers, any balances must be paid at the end of each visit via VISA, MasterCard, or debit. We do not accept AMEX.