Questions About Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

  1. Can exercises correct scoliosis?

    Scoliosis can neither be improved nor its progression prevented by exercises. There is no medical evidence showing that exercise improves scoliosis or prevents its progression. However, exercise has many other benefits and is always encouraged. It is good for overall back health and is particularly helpful in relieving back pain.

  2. Can chiropractic treatment correct scoliosis?

    There is no evidence in the medical literature that chiropractic adjustments (or any type of physical therapy for that matter) correct scoliosis or prevent its progression. Chiropractic treatment may help back pain, but it does not affect the scoliosis curve.

  3. When is a brace used to treat idiopathic scoliosis?

    A brace is recommended when a patient has significant growth remaining and the curve size is between 25 and 40 degrees. The challenge is in determining precisely how much growth is remaining and there are several methods that are used to estimate this. Surgeons evaluate the growth plates in the pelvis and in the hands to help determine skeletal maturity. In girls, menses are very helpful in determining skeletal maturity. For more, click here.

  4. If I have surgery, will I be able to have children? Will I have problems with pregnancy?

    No studies have shown that previous scoliosis surgery is associated with increased complications during pregnancy or delivery. If you have scoliosis surgery, you are not more likely to have any problems during pregnancy or delivery compared to anyone else.

  5. How much school will I miss after surgery?

    If your surgery is done during the school year, anticipate being out of school for approximately one month. Schools are generally very understanding with regard to your needs when you return and do whatever is necessary to make your transition back to school a smooth and seamless process.

  6. Will I ever be able to play sports after scoliosis surgery?

    Once your fusion has healed, you will be able to return to any sport or activity that you wish. We restrict contact sports (football, wrestling) for 6-8 months after surgery. After that, return to sports is encouraged. Patients who were high level athletes prior to surgery often return to the same level of activity once they have recovered from surgery.

  7. If I have scoliosis surgery, will I have any motion left in my back?

    The answer is yes, and most patients do not notice any significant difference in their back motion after they have fully recovered from surgery. For the first 2-3 months your back will be stiff as you are recovering from the surgery. But after that, physical therapists gradually help you regain your motion. How flexible you are before surgery often determines how flexible you are afterwards. For example, patients who can palm the floor with their knees straight before surgery, can often do the same 1 year after surgery.