Bracing and exercise-based treatment for idiopathic scoliosis

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2016 Jan;20(1):56-64. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2015.04.007. Epub 2015 Apr 23.


Background: Various conservative therapies are available for treating adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), however, the disparities between them and the evidence of their efficacy and effectiveness is still unclear.

Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of different conservative treatments on AIS.

Methods: A literature-based narrative review of the English language medical literature.

Results and conclusions: The most appropriate treatment for each patient should be chosen individually and based on various parameters. Bracing has been found to be a most effective conservative treatment for AIS. There is limited evidence that specific physical exercises also an effective intervention for AIS. Exercise-based physical therapy, if correctly administered, can prevent a worsening of the curve and may decrease need for bracing. In addition, physical exercises were found to be the only treatment improving respiratory function. Combining bracing with exercise increases treatment efficacy compared with a single treatment. Additional, well-designed and good quality studies are required to assess the effectiveness of different conservative methods in treating AIS.

Keywords: Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; Bracing; Conservative treatment; Exercises; Review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Braces*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Scoliosis / rehabilitation*