Physical Therapy Scoliosis-Specific Exercises May Reduce Curve Progression in Mild Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Curves

Pediatr Phys Ther. 2019 Jul;31(3):280-285. doi: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000621.


Purpose: To evaluate the curve magnitude in participants with mild adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) at high risk of progression who received outpatient physical therapy scoliosis-specific exercises (PSSEs).

Methods: Participants with AIS curves 12° to 20° and Risser grade 0 chose either the PSSE or the control group. The PSSE group was instructed in the Barcelona Scoliosis Physical Therapy School. The control group was observed. Cobb angles were measured by one observer masked to group type at baseline, 6-month follow-up, and 1-year follow-up.

Results: Forty-nine participants were enrolled (26 exercise vs 23 controls). Thirty-three participants (19 exercise vs 14 controls) were seen at 1-year follow-up. At 1-year follow-up, the exercise group had smaller curves than controls (16.3° vs 21.6°, P = .04) and less curve progression (0° vs 5.6°, P = .02). Bracing was performed similarly between groups at 1-year follow-up (37% vs 43%).

Conclusions: In this small prospective series, PSSE resulted in significantly less curve progression compared with controls.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Braces
  • Child
  • Disease Progression
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Scoliosis / pathology
  • Scoliosis / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome