What should you do if your teen has scoliosis?
If your teen receives a positive diagnosis of scoliosis, it is important to seek conservative treatment early to try to prevent progression of the curve. The ScoliClinic physiotherapists can help you navigate the system to determine which treatments are most appropriate for your child.
The phase with the highest risk of curve progression happens while the child is still growing; although this may be a time of risk, it’s also a window of opportunity.
While your teen is still growing, there is still a chance to influence the shape of the growing vertebrae. Therefore, bring your teen for an assessment with a scoliosis-trained physiotherapist who can gather baseline measurements to track progress, and prescribe a detailed and individualized home exercise program that is specific to your teen’s spinal curvature and other needs.
During these appointments, your therapist can discuss the options for bracing and surgery, and can help advocate for referrals to any required specialists.
In Canada, the waitlist to see a spine specialist may be several months to a year long; therefore it’s important to get started on a conservative (non-operative) treatment plan to take action while you wait for further referrals.
As the scoliosis journey can be a taxing one for you, your teen, and your family, you may consider seeking emotional support through this process as well. Through Facebook groups, forums, counselling, and connection, your family can approach your teen’s scoliosis treatment in a multi-dimensional approach. Hear from Hannah, one of our teen clients, about her experience and challenges with scoliosis.
When you book with a therapist at The ScoliClinic, you can ask about the options to connect with other teens and families on the scoliosis journey. We’d be happy to share those options with you!
What types of treatment are available for teenagers with scoliosis?
The types of treatment recommended for teenagers with scoliosis highly depends on many factors including, but not limited to:
- amount of skeletal growth remaining
- number of curves
- size of curves
- location of curves in the spine
- how fast the curve may be changing
- presence of symptoms such as pain or discomfort
- presence of other neurological signs
Typically, treatment for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis consists of a combination of monitoring, scoliosis-specific exercise, bracing, or surgery.
How is Schroth Physiotherapy used in treatment for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis?
Scoliosis-specific Physiotherapy such as the Schroth Method may be helpful to improve posture, address pain, and prevent progression of the curve.
Schroth Method exercises are different than normal Physiotherapy exercises because they take into account your spinal curve measurements from your teen’s X-Rays (if available) and various other scoliosis-related measurements (scoliometer, inclinometer, lung volume, plumb line, and more) to determine exactly which exercises would be best to support their spinal curve.
These exercises acknowledge the muscle imbalances created by scoliosis and work towards more symmetrical muscle function, while respecting the skeletal changes that are occurring in the spine. Your teen will learn how to find a more neutral postural alignment in various positions against gravity (lying on your back, on your side, sitting, standing, etc) so they can incorporate these new strategies into their daily activities, sports, and gym workouts.