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Reversal of curvature magnitude in response to physical methods: a 15-year followup in an adult female diagnosed with moderately severe scoliosis at age eleven years

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To document improvement in curvature magnitude in moderately severe pediatric onset scoliosis, in an adult, without surgery.

Study design

An adult case report was monitored from age thirty-eight years through fifty-four years of age. Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to evaluate change in magnitude of Cobb angle, based on values obtained by three independent readers, using full spine radiographs taken at four-year intervals.


A multimodal physical therapy approach included deep tissue massage and osteopathic manipulation, in combination with a daily home exercise program.


Stable, progressive improvement in Cobb angle occurred over a fifteen-year period in response to physical methods. The improved curvature occurred in correlation with progressive improvement of chest wall morphology and excursion.


The forty percent (thoracic curve) and fifty percent (lumbar curve) reduction in curvature magnitude compares favorably with results from surgical intervention [1].


  1. 1.

    Bradford DS, Kay BKB, Hu SS: Adult scoliosis: surgical indications, operative management, complications and outcomes. Spine. 1999, 24: 2617-2629. 10.1097/00007632-199912150-00009.

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Author information

Correspondence to William J Brooks.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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About this article


  • Cobb Angle
  • Thoracic Curve
  • Progressive Improvement
  • Lumbar Curve
  • Curvature Magnitude