Objective: To compare the effect of Scientific Exercises Approach to Scoliosis (SEAS) exercises with "usual care" rehabilitation programmes in terms of the avoidance of brace prescription and prevention of curve progression in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.
Design: Prospective controlled cohort observational study.
Patients: Seventy-four consecutive outpatients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, mean 15 degrees (standard deviation 6) Cobb angle, 12.4 (standard deviation 2.2) years old, at risk of bracing who had not been treated previously.
Methods: Thirty-five patients were included in the SEAS exercises group and 39 in the usual physiotherapy group. The primary outcome included the number of braced patients, Cobb angle and the angle of trunk rotation.
Results: There were 6.1% braced patients in the SEAS exercises group vs 25.0% in the usual physiotherapy group. Failures of treatment in the worst-case analysis were 11.5% and 30.8%, respectively. In both cases the differences were statistically significant. Cobb angle improved in the SEAS exercises group, but worsened in the usual physiotherapy group. In the SEAS exercises group, 23.5% of patients improved and 11.8% worsened, while in the usual physiotherapy group 11.1% improved and 13.9% worsened.
Conclusion: These data confirm the effectiveness of exercises in patients with scoliosis who are at high risk of progression. Compared with non-adapted exercises, a specific and personalized treatment (SEAS) appears to be more effective.