Purpose: To evaluate the effect of a programme of active self-correction and task-oriented exercises on spinal deformities and health-related quality of life (HRQL) in patients with mild adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) (Cobb angle <25°).
Methods: This was a parallel-group, randomised, superiority-controlled study in which 110 patients were randomly assigned to a rehabilitation programme consisting of active self-correction, task-oriented spinal exercises and education (experimental group, 55 subjects) or traditional spinal exercises (control group, 55 subjects). Before treatment, at the end of treatment (analysis at skeletal maturity), and 12 months later (follow-up), all of the patients underwent radiological deformity (Cobb angle), surface deformity (angle of trunk rotation) and HRQL evaluations (SRS-22 questionnaire). A linear mixed model for repeated measures was used for each outcome measure.
Results: There were main effects of time (p < 0.001), group (p < 0.001) and time by group interaction (p < 0.001) on radiological deformity: training in the experimental group led to a significant improvement (decrease in Cobb angle of >5°), whereas the control group remained stable. Analysis of all of the secondary outcome measures revealed significant effects of time, group and time by group interaction in favour of the experimental group.
Conclusions: The programme of active self-correction and task-oriented exercises was superior to traditional exercises in reducing spinal deformities and enhancing the HRQL in patients with mild AIS. The effects lasted for at least 1 year after the intervention ended.