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National Scoliosis Awareness Month

Every year, regardless of age, race, or socio-economic class, three million Americans will be diagnosed with scoliosis, the most common spinal deformity in the country. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 85% of cases will have an unidentifiable cause. So how do we prepare for a condition with no prevention methods, hazy risk factors, and unknown causes? The Scoliosis Research Society encourages early detection and education to raise awareness regarding scoliosis, especially throughout the month of June which has been named National Scoliosis Awareness Month.

When we hear scoliosis referenced, many of us are brought back to middle school gym class screenings – also referred to as the Adam’s Forward Bend Test. While school screenings still play a part in early detection, your child’s pediatrician will also complete routine screenings during annual wellness checks. Proactive screenings are imperative to identifying and treating scoliosis.

The Mayo Clinic states that scoliosis typically occurs prior to puberty between the ages of 10 and 15, during a growth spurt. Indicators include uneven shoulders, hips, or waist line. In many cases, scoliosis is mild and can be monitored with little to no intervention.

Because most cases are diagnosed during childhood while the skeletal system has not fully matured, a technique called bracing is often used to stop the progression of the spinal curve. Bracing requires individuals to wear a plastic or elastic brace for 16 to 23 hours per day. Adolescents may still participate in recreational activities while wearing the brace.

Severe cases where the spinal curve measures over 45 degrees may cause extensive back pain, difficulty breathing, and disablement, requiring surgery to treat. The goal of surgery is to straighten the spine while balancing the torso and pelvic areas for a long-term solution. For more detailed information, visit:

In addition to recommended treatment options, physical therapy plays an important role in offsetting the negative effects of scoliosis. While physical therapy can’t cure scoliosis, it can help to give a straighter appearance by strengthening muscles and improving flexibility which will aid in boosting mobility and self-confidence.

Physical therapy also can make breathing more comfortable and reduce pain during movement. Common exercises include stretches for the back, hips, shoulders, and legs, along with exercises that focus on the rotation of the spine and extension of the shoulders.

When determining if physical therapy would benefit your child or may aid in their scoliosis treatment, always seek the professional recommendation of your family physician. (

For 30 years, SCPT has customized treatment plans for patients of all ages with spinal conditions and has a skilled team of professionals ready to answer your questions, today. Call SCPT at 508-832-2628 for a free consultation.