Physiotherapeutic scoliosis-specific exercises for adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis

Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2014 Feb;50(1):111-21. Epub 2014 Feb 13.


The use of exercises for the treatment of Adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis is controversial. Whilst exercises are routinely used in a number of central and southern European countries, most centres in the rest of the world (mainly in Anglo-Saxon countries), do not advocate its use. One of the reasons for this is that many health care professionals are usually not conversant with the differences between generalised physiotherapy exercises and physiotherapeutic scoliosis-specific exercises (PSSE): while the former are generic exercises usually consisting of low-impact stretching and strengthening activities like yoga, Pilates and the Alexander technique, PSSE consist of a program of curve-specific exercise protocols which are individually adapted to a patients' curve site, magnitude and clinical characteristics. PSSEs are performed with the therapeutic aim of reducing the deformity and preventing its progression. It also aims to stabilise the improvements achieved with the ultimate goal of limiting the need for corrective braces or the necessity of surgery. This paper introduces the different 'Schools' and approaches of PSSE currently practiced (Scientific Exercise Approach to Scoliosis - SEAS, Schroth, Barcelona Scoliosis Physical Therapy School - BSPTS, Dobomed, Side Shift, Functional Individual Therapy of Scoliosis - FITS and Lyon) and discusses their commonalities and differences.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Braces*
  • Humans
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / instrumentation*
  • Scoliosis / rehabilitation*