Treatment for Scoliosis

Most children with scoliosis have only a mild curvature of the spine and may not require any kind of treatment apart from checkups and observation.

Guidelines for treatment of mild, moderate and severe scoliosis can help an individual arrive at a decision. Some of the factors that a physician will take into consideration before recommending a line of treatment are:

  • Severity of the Curve: The more pronounced the curve the more likely it is to get worse
  • Pattern of Curvature: "S" shaped or double curves are more likely to worsen with time than "C" shaped curves
  • Sex: Girls have a much higher risk of progression
  • Location: Curves in the thoracic section of the spine have a higher risk of progression than curves located in the upper or lower sections of the spine
  • Bone maturity: Bones that have ceased growing have a lower risk of progression

There are two main lines of treatment for scoliosis. They are:

Braces: These are mostly used in mild to moderate cases of children whose bones are still growing. A brace will not cure scoliosis or reverse the curvature but it will prevent the spinal curve from increasing. Most braces need to be worn throughout the day and night. The effectiveness of a brace depends on the number of hours for which it is worn. Children with braces are able to involve themselves in most activities. The braces can even be removed to enable the child to engage in any sport or physical activity.

Braces lose their effectiveness after the bones stop growing and are discontinued. This usually happens about two years after puberty. In a girl's case this will occur about two years after the start of her menstrual cycle.

There are two types of braces:

  1. The Low Profile Brace: Also known as the thoracolumbosacral orthosis (TLSO). It is plastic and is molded to the shape of the body. These types of braces are ineffective in cases of curvature in the upper spine.
  2. The Milwaukee Brace: This is a torso brace with head and chin rests. They are a lot more cumbersome than underarm braces and for this reason is only worn when the underarm braces are ineffective.

Surgery: Severe cases of scoliosis usually progress with time. In such cases, surgery may be the only way to prevent it worsening. In some cases it may also reduce the severity of the curvature.

Scoliosis surgery is also known as spinal fusion surgery. In this procedure, a couple or more vertebrae may be connected together. Metal rods, screws and wires may be used to keep the affected portion of the spine erect while the bone heals.

Some of the complications that may arise from this procedure are infection, bleeding and nerve damage. The bone may even fail to heal.


Physical therapy exercises cannot reverse or stop the progression of scoliosis. However, exercises for scoliosis victims can improve health and their sense of well-being. Yoga under the guidance of a trained practitioner can also help to a limited extent by improving posture.