Scoliosis is a diagnosis that makes people think of many undesireable things – back pain, bracing, surgery, disfiguration. What people may not realize is that often a diagnosis of scoliosis leads to a course of orthopedic physical therapy. S.T.A.R. PT has been practicing a somewhat unique approach to conservatively treating scoliosis. We understand that we will not be able to completely correct the spinal curvature in idiopathic scoliosis, but we believe that much can be gained from a program to manage the curvature by reducing musculoskeletal torsion and improving the mechanics of the thorax.
A spinal scoliosis rehabilitation program may incorporate techniques developed by the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI)™ in Lincoln, NE (www.posturalrestoration.com). Postural Restoration theory recognizes the inherent anatomical asymmetries in the human body and the possibility of developing postural deviations via trauma or simply from habitual or repetitive movements – including faulty respiratory mechanics and protective posturing or joint laxity. A PRI-based evaluation works to find the resultant postural patterns and PRI-based treatment focuses on reducing mucsuloskeletal and neuromotor imbalance using specific and precise motor activities.
During the course of treatment for scoliosis, neutrality of the pelvis can be gained via the performance of PRI-based repositioning exercises. Improved rib mechanics may be achieved with both manual (hands-on) and non-manual techniques. Once stability of the spine is improved, mobility can be gained through a tri-planar program of muscular inhibition and facilitation. Proper muscular balance will then allow for a more advanced program of dynamic trunk and hip rotation.
PRI techniques can be effective at reducing strain / torque and improving function in patients of any age with scoliosis. But it is thought that PRI techniques are most effective when initiated on patients between 7 and15 years of age, with curves that measure between 0 and 25 degrees. When patient and parent understanding of this treatment approach is high and a home program is consistently performed in conjunction with periodic supervised physical therapy visits, treatment can very effectively prevent a curve from progressing and may also possibly reverse it.
We would welcome the opportunity to further discuss the treatment rationale behind S.T.A.R.’s scoliosis program. Please feel free to contact us with any questions that you may have.