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Physiother Theory Pract. 2011 Jan;27(1):7-25. doi: 10.3109/09593985.2010.503990.

Patient evaluation in idiopathic scoliosis: Radiographic assessment, trunk deformity and back asymmetry.

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Elena Salvá Institute, Barcelona, Spain.


Progressive adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) produces specific signs and symptoms, including trunk and spinal deformity and imbalance, impairment of breathing function, pain, progression during adult life, and psychological problems, as a whole resulting in an alteration of the health-related quality of life. A scoliosis-specific rehabilitation program attempts to prevent, improve, or minimize these signs and symptoms by using exercises and braces as the main tools in the rehabilitation treatment. Patient evaluation is an essential point in the decision-making process and determines the selection of the specific exercises and the specifications of the brace design. However, this article is not addressed to scoliosis management. In this present article, a complete definition and discussion of radiological aspects, such as the Cobb angle, axial rotation, curve pattern classifications, and sagittal configuration, follow a short description of the three-dimensional nature of AIS. The relationship between AIS and growth is also discussed. There is also a section dedicated to the assessment of trunk deformity and back asymmetry. Other important clinical aspects, such as pain and disability, changes in other regions of the body, muscular balance, breathing function, and health-related quality of life, are not discussed in this present article.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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