Scoliosis Program

CONTACT US

Questions? For more information contact our scoliosis program coordinator at scoliosisnavigator@emersonhosp.org.

WHAT IS SCOLIOSIS?

Scoliosis is an atypical curvature of the spine. The spine grows asymmetrically, causing a 3-dimensional curve that is often seen in x-rays as going in the right and/or left directions, creating an S- or C-shaped spine.

Three Main Types of Scoliosis

  • Idiopathic Scoliosis: This is the most common type of scoliosis. The cause is unknown but is likely multi-factorial. It is hereditary in up to 50 percent of adolescents.
  • Neuromuscular Scoliosis: This is related to under-developed, weak, or spastic muscles that contribute to an asymmetric pull on the spine. Diagnoses include cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, and spinal cord injuries.
  • Congenital Scoliosis: This is due to asymmetric development of the spine during pregnancy.

Other Types of Scoliosis

  • Adult Scoliosis: This is either childhood scoliosis that was diagnosed during adulthood and/or is due to adult degenerative changes in the spine.
  • Other Types: Scoliosis could be secondary to effects of conditions such as hypermobility or leg-length discrepancy.

Idiopathic Scoliosis in Children

  • Scoliosis occurs in 3-5 percent of adolescents. Up to 90 percent of idiopathic scoliosis occurs in adolescents 10-18 years of age. 10-15 percent of idiopathic scoliosis is juvenile, and 1 percent is infantile.
  • Often detected during screens by pediatricians, school nurses, and gym teachers.
  • Receiving treatment during periods of rapid growth is important as the curve might quickly progress during those times (11-14 years of age for girls, 13-18 years of age for boys).
  • Treatment and/or monitoring continues until the child is skeletally mature.

OUR PROGRAM: STATE-OF-THE-ART CARE, A TEAM WITH DEEP EXPERTISE — UNDER ONE ROOF

The Emerson Scoliosis Program is a non-operative, team-based program in New England. The program brings together a team of experts that is committed to providing the most effective care for scoliosis.

Meet Our Team

Our team includes an orthopedist, Schroth-certified physical therapists, physical therapy assistants, a program navigator, and scoliosis brace orthotists.

Our Program

  • Scoliosis Clinic — We run weekly clinics for juvenile and adolescent scoliosis, where your child can be seen by an orthopedist for spine assessment, be seen by an orthotist to get measured and fit for a brace, have access to on-site low-dose x-rays, get questions answered, and schedule physical therapy appointments — all during the same visit.
  • Physical Therapy — Scoliosis Schroth-certified physical therapists who provide uniquely tailored scoliosis-specific exercises with the goal of three-dimensional postural correction.
  • Bracing — Our program prides itself on being the only clinic in New England with orthotists certified in the two most innovative and established braces on the market today: the WCR brace and the Boston Brace.
  • Exercise Classes — Virtual group scoliosis exercise classes, one for teens and one for adults. Participants meet online for a fun exercise class that focuses on posture and spinal stabilization, core strength, and a continuation of Schroth exercises. Classes meet once a week for six weeks. Click here for more information and to register.

Scoliosis Braces

  • The Wood-Cheneau-Rigo (WCR) brace builds on many decades of advances and has proven itself over two decades of use in Europe. Originally designed from Schroth therapy principles, it is customized to the patient and relatively lightweight, providing 20 pressure points that address the side-bending and the rotational component of a scoliotic curve.
  • The Boston Brace is a well-established brace that is used all over the world. The custom-made Boston Brace 3D orthosis works to correct the spine in all three planes — coronal, sagittal and transverse. A design with a unique shift/push combination of corrective forces that move the spine into a corrected position and openings that allow for rotational correction.

OUR GOAL

The goal of treatment is to reduce the risk of curve progression while improving posture and core strength through learning curve-specific postural corrections and exercises. We strongly believe in empowering families with knowledge and resources to best support their choices, decisions, and care. Today’s approach to treatment involves specialized and rigorous physical therapy that is specific to scoliosis, known as the Schroth Method, combined with the use of sophisticated and customized bracing when appropriate.

SERVICES & LOCATIONS

Westford — 133 Littleton Rd, Westford, MA 01886

  • Scoliosis Clinic
  • Outpatient physical therapy

Concord — 310 Baker Ave, Concord, MA 01742

  • Outpatient physical therapy

Patient Stories

Helpful resources

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I am proud I wore the brace and did my Schroth PT exercises to help my back. If you wear your brace as much as possible, it will make you stronger and can help you avoid back surgery. The Emerson team helped me avoid surgery and become a lot stronger.

Alannah, age 14