Scoliosis in Children

Have you noticed that your child has one shoulder higher than the other? Do their clothes not sit right on their shoulders? If you answered yes, then we recommend an paediatric physiotherapy assessment for scoliosis.

What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature or twist of the spine that is usually diagnosed in childhood or adolescence. The most common type of scoliosis is idiopathic (of no known cause). It can also occur due to other conditions such as cerebral palsy or be present from birth. Scoliosis affects 2-3% of the population, more with age. Scoliosis can be most noticeable if it worsens in the pre-pubescent growth spurt (from age 10). 

How can physiotherapy assist if your child has scoliosis?

At Total Physiotherapy our Paediatric Physiotherapists can assess your child’s scoliosis and refer them for radiology when necessary. They look at their shoulder height, leg length differences, hip height, shift to one side and range of movement. The traditional test for scoliosis is an Adam’s forward bend test. If your child has scoliosis, then one side of the trunk will look more prominent when bending forwards.

When the curve (called the Cobb’s angle) is greater than 10 degrees it is called mild scoliosis. Mild scoliosis is managed conservatively with physiotherapy. Physiotherapy can improve the appearance of scoliosis, improve your child’s self-image and maintain the range of movement in the back. Many people with scoliosis can have minor backaches from the muscles and ligaments near the middle of the curve. Physiotherapy can help this with hands-on treatment, stretches, breathing exercises, postural exercises and back strengthening.

When the curve is over 20 degrees (moderate), referral to a scoliosis clinic is recommended. Moderate curvatures in children are treated with a custom brace and physiotherapy. Severe cases (over 30 degrees) need review with a surgeon. 


If you would like to have your child assessed for scoliosis, you can book in for a Paediatric Physiotherapy assessment with Total Physiotherapy by calling our team today on 02 9907 0321 or book online here.

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