Asked Questions & Answers

At McGowan Physio we pride ourselves on working with the whole family, taking a holistic approach
while prioritising mind and body as one.

A Physiotherapist who specializes in Scoliosis will complete an assessment to give you a treatment plan that suits your individual needs. Some patients will require pain management and advice around positioning and pacing. The majority of patients will benefit from the correct exercise prescription.

Physiotherapeutic Scoliosis Specific exercise (PSSE) has many benefits. For some it will reduce symptoms of pain, stiffness and discomfort. PSSE is mainly used to reduce the rate of curve progression and in some cases PSSE will reduce the cobb angle. The correct exercise programme will also improve your general health and wellness, make you stronger, more adaptable and more flexible. The breathing techniques used can help to relax the nervous system and to improve your lung capacity.

This depends on each individual’s needs and what they are attending for. Most patients attend for an initial consultation and will come for review within a month. If the individual is doing well with their programme and is compliant with daily completion, then the sessions are spaced out to every 6-8 weeks. 

For those who are attending for pain management they may initially require physio weekly, depending on the treatment approach that they decide on with their physiotherapist. 

Many patients will cease Physio once they have finished growing. For others Physio may be required at various stages throughout life.

Generally, in the initial stages, the exercises are to be completed daily. We give short, sharp programmes to allow them to easily become part of the daily routine. The usual programme lasts 8-15minutes. As the individual improves this can be reduced. The exercises work by teaching the body how to move in a way that creates length in the spine. Once capable of doing this the strategy can be introduced into other forms of exercise. The programme will become less like a physio rehab programme and more like other forms of exercise the individual enjoys. Exercise prescription can vary depending on what each individual needs.

If the programme feels like too much or too little, with clear communication, we can resolve any issues and adjust the length of time to better suit.

This depends on what each individual needs and the goals that are created during the initial consultation. Generally, we give short, sharp programmes to allow them to easily become part of the daily routine. The usual programme lasts 8-15minutes. As the individual improves this can be reduced.

Yes. The more exercise the better. As long as this is pain free of course. We encourage a minimum of 5 hours of exercise to be completed every week. This can be any form of exercise that gets the spine moving. The stronger and more flexible you are the more adaptable that your body will be.

This depends on each individual case. Generally, if you have reached the end of growth and your cobb angle is mild-moderate then the chances of the curve progressing towards a surgical cobb angle are low. This means that the exercises are no longer necessary. We do encourage you to maintain your active corrections and stay fit, strong and flexible with regular exercise. For some who have bigger cobb angels and who either choose not to have the surgery or for those who can not have surgery then we encourage them to continue with their specific exercise programmes on an ongoing basis. 

Physio is certainly advised post-op. Your body will have gone through a significant change. It is very important to improve your proprioception and body awareness as well as improving your mobility, strength, and endurance. Exercise will also improve the function of your heart and lungs. Completing a physio programme also helps to improve your confidence in your postoperative body.

This is at the discretion of the surgeon. Please always follow your surgeon's advice.  Generally after spinal fusion surgery the individual can return to some form of their previous sport by 6 months. Full contact is usually advised from 12 months post-op. 

You are advised to avoid playing rugby, squatting with a heavy load, deadlifting, or going on roller coasters. For successful return to most contact sports it is best to build back up over the course of 9-12 months. The consultant will give clear instructions on this. Other than that exercise and activity is strongly encouraged.

Pre surgery doing scoliosis specific exercise can be very beneficial. Getting generally fitter, stronger and more flexible is recommended. You are advised to target all aspects of your fitness. Strength, endurance, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, and mobility are all important areas.

A minimum of 5 hours of exercise per week is recommended for the best outcomes.

Once growth has finished you can start the brace weaning process. This is identified by the consultant reviewing your risser score (pelvis xray) or Sanders sign (hand xray). It is best to follow your orthotist’s advice regarding the exact weaning process.

The advice is 23 hours per day but can be removed for exercise.

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