What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a general term that covers a group of conditions consisting of changes in the shape and position of the spine, thorax, and trunk. The curve can be “functional” in nature, which means that the curve is secondary to causes such as leg length difference, or muscle tone asymmetry. In contrast, the curve can be “structural”, which means that the causes of the curve started in the spine and vertebral changes are noted.

Of the types of structural scoliosis, Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) makes up 80% of these cases. AIS presents in otherwise healthy, typically-developing children and teenagers. It typically develops or progresses during the pre-pubertal growth spurt, as the child gains height in the spine. The cause of AIS is still unknown, but research is showing that it’s likely multifactorial in origin.

There are two main groups of adults with scoliosis. A large proportion of these adults were diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis as children and have now matured with symptoms that intensify in adulthood; the other portion of adults are those who develop scoliosis, called “de novo scoliosis”, due to degenerative spinal changes that occur in the spinal column.

What is Scheuermann's Kyphosis?

Scheuermann’s Kyphosis is characterized by changes in the spine causing a curve from the sideview, resulting in a rounded forward posture. Similarly to scoliosis, these vertebral changes occur mostly during the adolescence, and symptoms can worsen with age.
Conservative management can help with kids, teens, and adults who have Scoliosis or Scheuermann’s Kyphosis. It consists of Physiotherapeutic Scoliosis-Specific Exercises (PSSE) by a Schroth-certified Physiotherapist and Bracing by a Certified Orthotist. Read on to learn more about The Scoliosis Collective experience and how we tailor our treatments for each patient population.

What is the Schroth Method?

The Schroth Method is one physiotherapy treatment approach for scoliosis and Scheuermann’s Kyphosis under the umbrella of Physiotherapeutic Scoliosis-Specific Exercise (PSSE). This consists of curve-specific exercises to re-train the brain and body to correct the alignment as much as possible, and then strengthen the surrounding musculature in that newly corrected position. The Schroth Method exercises focus on breathing and specific muscle activation to positively affect the shape of the trunk. These exercises are done in a variety of positions and with various pieces of equipment. Read on to see how The Schroth Method is used for Scoliosis or Scheuermann’s Kyphosis.
Currently, there are very few Physiotherapists in Australia (or internationally!) that are certified in the Schroth Method, and we’re hoping that this treatment approach becomes more recognized in the near future.
(from Berdishevsky 2016, and schrothmethod.com)

Is there a cure for scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a change in the shape of the vertebrae that typically occurs during the pre-pubertal growth spurts in adolescence. It’s widely accepted that Scoliosis is of a multifactorial origin, and that there are many factors that contribute to a person developing a spinal curvature. At this point in time, there is no cure for scoliosis.

Conservative treatments like physiotherapy and bracing aim to improve posture, strengthen back, shoulder, core, and pelvic muscles, decrease pain, and slow the curve progression as much as possible.

Can my spine become straighter?

It depends! Every scoliosis curve has a structural component, which is determined by the shape of the vertebrae; and a postural component, which is determined by your movement patterns, body awareness, general strength and flexibility, and specific strength in muscles that contribute to posture.

If your curve has a large postural component, then there is a higher potential to make change. The Schroth-certified physiotherapists at The Scoliosis Collective can work with you to assess your curve and set realistic expectations for physiotherapy.

What is the difference between your services compared to other physiotherapy clinics?

Standard Australian Physical Therapy curriculums do not teach about the complex 3-dimensional nature of scoliosis. All Physiotherapists at The Scoliosis Collective have been trained in a scoliosis-specific physiotherapeutic approach called The Schroth Method and have dedicated their time to refining their expertise in this area. We dedicate 100% of our efforts to working with clients with Scoliosis and Scheuermann’s Kyphosis – and that’s what sets us apart!

Scoliosis-specific exercises require a specific set up, equipment, appointment structure, and documentation – and we have created the ideal infrastructure for each of our clients to be as successful as possible.

Our Client Coordinators have extensive experience with the medical imaging facilities in our state and are able to facilitate the process of obtaining your X-Rays for your therapist to analyse.

I don't have an X-Ray yet. Should I get one, and if so, how?

If you think you or your child may have a curve in your spine, there are two options:

  1. You can go to a Family Physician and inquire if an X-Ray is appropriate for you.
  2. You can book an initial assessment with a Physiotherapist at The Scoliosis Collective who will complete a screening assessment and provide guidance on if an X-Ray is appropriate for you.

If this is your first set of spine X-Rays, we recommend that you obtain the following views of your spine:

  • Full Spine PA view including pelvis
  • Full Spine Lateral View

If you live on the Gold Coast or in Brisbane, ask your Family Doctor or Physiotherapist to refer you for an EOS scan. The EOS Imaging System is an ultra low-dose 2D-3D imaging system that delivers high quality, detailed images of patients in natural standing positions.

When booking an appointment at The Scoliosis Collective, please inform the Client Coordinators of where and when the X-rays were taken.

How many sessions will it take?

This depends on many factors. Our goal is to provide you with the education you need to understand how to perform postural ‘autocorrections’ that are specific to your curve, and how to integrate these principles into your daily life.

As these exercises are complex, we find that this typically takes 8-10 one-on-one sessions with your physiotherapist, but this highly depends on:

  • a presence of pain or discomfort
  • general body awareness and coordination levels
  • your ability to practice home exercises
  • general fitness level

Your physiotherapist strives to be as efficient as possible, so depending on your response to the treatment, you may require fewer treatment sessions than outlined above.

How much does treatment cost?

The total cost of your treatment depends on the number of session needed; Our physiotherapists will educate you on all aspects of your treatment to enable your success when outside of the clinic. Our rates are as follows:

Initial Assessment (75 minutes) $200

Follow-up Appointment (90 minutes) $240

Follow-up Appointment (60 minutes) $160 

Follow-up Appointment (45 minutes) $125

What happens in the initial assessment?

We want to hear your story. Your initial assessment will start with an in-depth conversation about you (or your child’s) Scoliosis history, and the journey that you’ve undergone so far.

Next, Physiotherapists at The Scoliosis Collective will do a physical assessment of your spine to take some baseline measures, explaining the significance of what we’re doing every step of the way.

Then, we’ll explain our understanding of scoliosis – theories on how it starts, how it progresses, and where physiotherapy fits into the picture.

Finally, based on the findings, your goals and personal circumstances, we’ll come up with a therapy plan that is best for you or your child.

Please note that as this first appointment is very detailed, we typically do not have time to start exercises in this first session. Our therapists will analyse all the findings and the X-Ray (if available) to create a custom program for you to start on your second session.

Is it covered by benefits?

Yes, depending on your Physiotherapy private health coverage. As all The Scoliosis Collective’s clinicians are Registered Physiotherapists, we are able to bill your extended benefits provider directly after your Physiotherapy appointment on our HICAPS machine.

What should I wear to my appointments?

It is ideal if your physiotherapists can see the majority of your back, shoulders, and pelvis alignment to provide accurate cues while you exercise.

We recommend that our female clients wear a sports bra and leggings or tighter fitted shorts, with hair tied up in a bun. You can also bring a tight, plain and light-coloured tank top to wear over your sports bra.

For our male clients, you will likely need to take your shirt off for assessments and postural corrections. Please wear shorts or pants that you can comfortably move around in – soccer pants are a great option.

What is your cancellation policy?

We require a 48 hour notice for appointment cancellations. A 30% fee for the scheduled appointment is charged if insufficient notice is given.

What payment methods can I use?

We accept Visa, Mastercard, debit, cash, cheque. However, we do not take Amex at this time.

Is there parking?

Yes! There is an underground carpark on 5 Lawson Street, and the first 3 hours are free.

There is also 2-hour metered street parking all along Lawson Street.

For more parking information + map, click here.