Scoliosis Children Teens

Growing up with scoliosis

Idiopathic Scoliosis affects 3% of all children, and is typically identified when a child is 8-10 years old (Juvenile Idiopathic Scoliosis), or 12-14 years old (Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis). As the child’s skeleton is still growing, there is a higher risk of progression and therefore it’s more urgent to seek treatment as soon as your child is diagnosed with scoliosis.

Idiopathic Scoliosis may present as:

  • uneven shoulders
  • a shoulderblade that appears to stick out
  • uneven waist or hips
  • a ‘bump’ on the back when the child bends forward

If you suspect your child has scoliosis, bring him/her to your family doctor for a proper assessment. Your doctor may request an X-Ray to confirm if a spinal curve is present.

If your child receives a positive diagnosis of scoliosis, it is important to seek conservative treatment early to try to prevent progression of the curve. The ScoliClinic physical therapists can help you navigate the system to determine which treatments are most appropriate for your child.


Here are the generalized guidelines for treatment for children depending on scoliosis curve magnitude. The recommendations also highly depend on the stage of skeletal growth that your child is in:

  • 10°-30°: Scoliosis exercises, and monitoring
  • 30°-50°: Scoliosis exercises, bracing
  • 50°+: Scoliosis exercises, possibly surgery

Physical therapy for scoliosis at The ScoliClinic is based on the Schroth Method Principles. This approach treats each child’s spinal curve in a 3-dimensional manner, and our Schroth-trained physical therapists work closely with these children and teens to make an age-appropriate, individualized home exercise program that can be done at home.

Although many teens are diagnosed with scoliosis, it can be an isolating time. We’ve created group classes that function as a space for teens of similar age and skill level can meet other teens in the same situations and exercise together on a regular basis.

The goals of conservative treatment for kids and teens with scoliosis are:

1) Improve esthetics via postural correction
2) Treat/prevent spinal pain symptoms
3) Treat/prevent respiratory dysfunction
4) Slow the curve progression

For children and teens who are still growing, a brace may be indicated to help slow curve progression. Our Schroth-trained physical therapists work closely with Certified Orthotists who make the 3-dimensional braces to ensure the correction forces of the brace and exercises are similar.


How can The ScoliClinic help adults with scoliosis?

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.

If you were diagnosed with idiopathic adolescent scoliosis when you were a child, your spinal curve has likely remained into your adulthood. If you are experiencing any symptoms/signs such as back pain or postural asymmetries, these may intensify in adulthood.

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.

The goals of scoliosis treatment for adults with are:

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

You may be a candidate for a brace to support you for short periods as you perform certain daily activities. Your ScoliClinic Physical Therapist can discuss if bracing may be appropriate for you, and can connect you with a Certified Orthotist trained in scoliosis bracing.

Before your appointment

If you have X-Ray images, be sure to let us know as this will help your Physiotherapist design your treatment plan.

If you or your child already have a brace, physiotherapeutic scoliosis-specific exercises (PSSE) are recommended to maintain postural muscle strength, and to retain as much correction as possible when brace wear ends.

A referral to a spine surgeon and/or bracing can be discussed at the initial assessment.

Please bring:

  • X-ray images either digitally or on disc if available
    (we can request them directly from the imaging facility; more info upon booking your initial appointment)
  • Any relevant reports
  • Sports bra / tank top, shorts or leggings

Please note: Payments can be made by VISA, MasterCard, cash, or cheque. We cannot accept AMEX or debit at this time.