askST: Is there a cure for scoliosis among teenagers?

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SINGAPORE - Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that when viewed on an X-ray, appears like an “S” or a “C” shape than a straight line. Read more at

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SINGAPORE - Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that when viewed on an X-ray, appears like an “S” or a “C” shape than a straight line.

One of the most common forms is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, which typically occurs in teenagers. The risk is higher and occurs earlier in girls compared to boys. The prevalence among schoolgirls at 11 to 12 years of age is 1.4 per cent and 2.2 per cent among those 13 to 14 years old. In Singapore, a school-based scoliosis screening programme managed by the Health Promotion Board’s School Health Service screens tweens and teenagers yearly, at the time they enter their growth spurt. That is when an abnormal growth of the spine may potentially happen. Most of the students diagnosed have mild scoliosis. The rest are referred to orthopaedic specialists.In most cases of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, the curve is not reversible without surgery.

Q: If physiotherapy helps, then how often must the patient go for physiotherapy before the curve is corrected?An individual programme needs to be planned with the physiotherapist. Not all treatments need to be done with the physiotherapist. Exercises can be taught, and these should be carried out diligently by the patients on their own.

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