How common is Scoliosis?

How often do you hear that someone has scoliosis or a curvature in their spine? Maybe you have been told yourself you have scoliosis. According to research scoliosis affects roughly one percent of the population in Australia and 80 per cent of scoliosis cases don’t have a cause. Scoliosis found in teenagers and children without an underlying cause is known as Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). This is most common in teenage girls. AIS and scoliosis in adults is measured using X rays by an orthopaedic surgeon, which will help to determine Cobb angle. The Cobb angle is a measure of the severity of the sideways curvature of the spine. Cobb angle above 10° occurs in the general population in a wide range of prevalence from 0.93 to 12%. 

If you are concerned that your still growing teenager/ child has a spinal curvature that looks excessive and is effecting their function, get it checked by a GP or physio who can refer you on to get an X ray to be assessed by an orthopaedic surgeon for the Cobb angle. An ortho surgeon will then help you decide on the best conservative or surgical management for your child. 

Approximately 10% of these diagnosed cases require conservative treatment and approximately 0.1–0.3% require operative correction of the deformity. Meaning majority of people with scoliosis go on to live a normal and fully functional life. In most cases people who are affected by scoliosis can be treated with physiotherapy management that focuses on functional strength training that targets the back muscles effected by the curve and any other joints/ muscles further along the chain also effected by the spinal curve. This type of training can go on to improve the way someone with scoliosis walks, lift objects, performs at the gym and in sport.