Improving excellence in scoliosis rehabilitation: a controlled study of matched pairs

Pediatr Rehabil. 2006 Jul-Sep;9(3):190-200. doi: 10.1080/13638490500079583.


Objectives: Physiotherapy programmes so far mainly address the lateral deformity of scoliosis, a few aim at the correction of rotation and only very few address the sagittal profile. Meanwhile, there is evidence that correction forces applied in the sagittal plane are also able to correct the scoliotic deformity in the coronal and frontal planes. So it should be possible to improve excellence in scoliosis rehabilitation by the implementation of exercises to correct the sagittal deformity in scoliosis patients. An exercise programme (physio-logic exercises) aiming at a physiologic sagittal profile was developed to add to the programme applied at the centre or to replace certain exercises or exercising positions.

Material and methods: To test the hypothesis that physio-logic exercises improve the outcome of Scoliosis Intensive Rehabilitation (SIR), the following study design was chosen: Prospective controlled trial of pairs of patients with idiopathic scoliosis matched by sex, age, Cobb angle and curve pattern. There were 18 patients in the treatment group (SIR + physio-logic exercises) and 18 patients in the control group (SIR only), all in matched pairs. Average Cobb angle in the treatment group was 34.5 degrees (SD 7.8) Cobb angle in the control group was 31.6 degrees (SD 5.8). Age in the treatment group was at average 15.3 years (SD 1.1) and in the control group 14.7 years (SD 1.3). Thirteen of the 18 patients in either group had a brace. Outcome parameter: average lateral deviation (mm), average surface rotation ( degrees ) and maximum Kyphosis angle ( degrees ) as evaluated with the help of surface topography (Formetric-system).

Results: Lateral deviation (mm) decreased significantly after the performance of the physio-logic programme and highly significantly in the physio-logic ADL posture; however, it was not significant after completion of the whole rehabilitation programme (2.3 vs 0.3 mm in the controls). Surface rotation improved at average 1.2 degrees in the treatment group and 0.8 degrees in the controls while Kyphosis angle did not improve in both groups.

Discussion: The physio-logic programme has to be regarded as a useful 'add on' to Scoliosis Rehabilitation with regards to the lateral deviation of the scoliotic trunk. A longitudinal controlled study is necessary to evaluate the long-term effect of the the physio-logic programme also with the help of X-rays.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Braces
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Scoliosis / rehabilitation*
  • Thoracic Vertebrae