Scoliosis and Spine Curvature

Scoliosis is a relatively common abnormality of the shape of the spine and rib cage that affects 2.5% of the population.

Females are affected about 3.5 times more than males. Most people with scoliosis are first affected when they feel most vulnerable: adolescence. The diagnosis of scoliosis is difficult to process. So much seems left up to fate, as parents, adolescents and adults are told to watch and wait to see if the curve or curves progress. The spine can feel like a ticking time bomb as one wonders if their scoliosis will stabilize on its own, or progress into a range of severity that may require bracing or surgery. The spine is the main support center for every movement of our arms and legs. If this primary support system is compromised, how will one be able to live life fully and without pain?

Our purpose is to empower adolescents, their families, and adults with progressive scoliosis in the presence of this difficult diagnosis. We know that you are bombarded with information, and will try anything that might help. Our goal is to point you in the direction of interventions that are most likely to slow or stop progression of the curve or curves, and steer you away from interventions that are potentially detrimental to your spine. We take an analytical look at the bio-mechanics of scoliosis, and integrate the latest research in order to provide a comprehensive road map for management of your spine and yourself.

Many of you are looking for help because you know that watching and waiting to see if a curve progresses is not good enough. We agree. Curve specific exercises designed to slow or halt progression are essential, as is bracing under certain circumstances. We are passionate about empowering adolescents and adults to face their scoliotic spines head on and be proactive about halting curve progression.

As Physical Therapists, we had been frustrated by the inability to help patients with scoliosis. Traditional Physical Therapy may help with pain, but has not been shown to impact curve progression. Challenged by our powerlessness, we searched for evidence‐based solutions that could really impact curve progression and quality of life.

Fortunately we found the Schroth method. This is considered to be the gold standard of care for scoliosis management in Europe, and involves 3 dimensional corrective exercises and postural re-education that almost anyone can learn. We are certified to treat adolescents and adults with scoliosis through the Barcelona Scoliosis Physical Therapy School, and were mentored by Manuel Rigo, MD. We have found that most motivated and compliant patients can halt their curve progression and live a healthy and pain free life.

Sometimes bracing is a necessary part of treating scoliosis. We recommend Grant Wood at the Align Clinic in San Mateo, CA. He makes the WCR brace (Wood-Cheneau-Rigo), which is a form of TLSO bracing (thoracolumbosacral orthosis) that strives to achieve the most 3 dimensional in-brace correction possible. The brace has “windows” or open areas over the concavities of the scoliotic spine, which complement Schroth base Physical Therapy programs, making it possible to work on curve correction while in the brace.

Avanti hosts Align brace clinics 3-4 times per year for patient evaluation and follow-up.

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