For further information about Scoliosis and other spine deformities contact:

Rowan Berkowitz, Orthotist  
(011) 463 2516

Dr. LouAnn Rivett, Physiotherapist
(Schroth & SEAS trained therapist)
(011) 787 0495

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Scoliosis is  a three dimensional deformity in which the spine deviates from the normal sagittal and coronal position in upright posture and becomes fixed in an unbalanced posture (Hawes, 2003; Negrini et al, 2005; Weiss et al, 2006).

Idiopathic Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine in an otherwise healthy child for which the cause is unknown (Lonstein and Carlson, 1984).  Scoliosis comes from the Greek word ‘skolios’ meaning crooked (Moen and Nachemson, 1999).  Idiopathic scoliosis is defined as a curvature greater than a 10 degree Cobb angle (Weinstein, 1999). Idiopathic Scoliosis will develop  in 2-3 percent of children (Weinstein, 1999; Schommer, 2002).

A widely used classification of IS divides the condition into three groups, depending on when the scoliosis first presented; infantile, below 3 years; juvenile, age 3-10 years; and adolescent, age 10 years until the end of growth. Adult scoliosis is 20 years and above (James, 1954). Eighty per cent or more of Idiopathic Scoliosis is of the adolescent variety, namely Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) (Risenborough and Wynne Davies, 1973).

Idiopathic Scoliosis is a biphasic process. It first appears and then it can progress, regress or remain stable according to Rigo (2005).

Signs and symptoms of Idiopathic Scoliosis
(Hawes, 2003; Weiss, 2003) include:

  • pain
  • a three  dimensional torso deformity
  • psychological distress
  • pulmonary dysfunction- decreased chest wall compliance
    • decreased vital capacity
    • shortness of breath
    • reduced exercise capacity
    • recurrent respiratory infections    

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