June is Scoliosis Awareness Month and we want to help create awareness around this important topic.

What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a three-dimensional deviation of the spine: the involved vertebrae of the spine shift laterally (sideways), rotate backward on the convex side (creating a rib or lumbar hump) and change their sagittal (front to back) position. The diagnosis of scoliosis, by x-ray, is made when the angle between the most tilted vertebrae (Cobb angle) involved in the curve is more than 10 degrees. There can be many curve profiles in scoliosis and there is no known cure. Scoliosis can often be progressive and affected by many factors; however the chance of progression is increased relative to the degree of the curve and earlier age of onset.
Whilst sometimes scoliosis can present itself and remain as a small curve it can also grow into quite a large curve. In rare cases, scoliosis deformity can progress into ranges that adversely affect the cardio-respiratory (heart and lungs) system.

scoliosis spine

Who can get scoliosis?

Scoliosis affects around 3% of the general population. Most of these cases do not experience adverse effects and do not need treatment. The most common type of scoliosis is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and is often noticed in children ranging from 10 to 15 years of age.

How can I screen my child for scoliosis?

Scoliosis can be screened using the Adam’s forward bend test.

How to do the Adam’s test:

1. Ask the child to bend forward placing their hands in between their knees

2. Stand behind the child and observe and compare the left and right side of the body,  noting whether there is a noticeable rib hump or rotation in the spine. The rib or lumbar hump will appear more prominent than the opposite side.

3. If there is a noticeable rib hump or rotation in the spine seek professional advice

Scoliosis can only be formally diagnosed with a spinal x-ray.

If you suspect your child has scoliosis it is best to seek professional guidance from your GP, a spine specialist or a scoliosis trained physiotherapist.

We recommend that all spinal x-rays are conducted on a low dose EOS system. (discuss this with your treating health professional)

 adams test illustration

How to manage scoliosis

At UprightCare, in combination with traditional scoliosis management we use the Schroth Method to help manage scoliosis. Each patient is unique and we choreograph and develop a unique exercise program which focuses on posture correction. The posture correction exercises take into account the full three-dimensional deformity of the spine.

If you are interested in learning more about scoliosis and the schroth method click here.

Image credit: skeletons from Bupa; Adam’s test illustration from Adam’s. 

Larry is a highly skilled physiotherapist who specialises in treating back and neck pain, postural issues and scoliosis. He is certified in Schroth and SEAS methods and through the Egoscue University. Larry has a background in elite gymnastics and springboard diving and also has many years experience in endurance running and triathlons. His specialist knowledge and techniques have seen him appointed as a gymnastics coach and physiotherapist at both the Olympics Games and Special Olympics.

His passion and driving philosophy is about achieving the best outcomes for his patients utilising an amalgam of the latest techniques and theories while recognising there may sometimes be a need for invasive procedures. Where deemed appropriate Larry will then refer to a specialist. To further his holistic understanding and approach, Larry is currently undertaking a Ph.D. in Spinal Deformity and regularly attends and speaks at international conferences and courses and clinics.

Fun fact: Larry is learning how to surf - so be careful next time you go to the beach! Qualifications: B.Sc (Physiotherapy); M.Sc. (Exercise Physiology); Advanced Certificates in Schroth (BSPTS) and Egoscue (PAS) and SEAS Larry is Level II certified (advanced) in the conservative treatment of Scoliosis based on the Schroth method. The training was conducted by Dr Manuel Rigo of the Barcelona School at Scoliosis Rehab Inc in Wisconsin. He has completed his SEAS scoliosis treatment training at ISICO in Milan. Larry has also spent time working with Dr Rigo in the Barcelona clinic. Larry also has advanced certificates in shoulder treatment, posture alignment therapy and acupuncture.