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An artist's inquiry into scoliosis: an adult case report


To document improved symptoms in a patient who investigated the three-dimensionaldynamics of her own spinal curvature through visual imagery.

Study design

Idiopathic scoliosis was diagnosed at age eight years. A T5–T12 spinal fusion with cadaver bone graft, without instrumentation, was performed at age thirteen years (John Cobb, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY, U.S.A). The Cobb angle of the post surgical curvemeasured eight-five degrees. By age thirty-two years restrictive lung disease, arthritis andspinal stenosis, were diagnosed. The symptoms worsened progressively.


An exercise program incorporating Alexander Technique, Yoga, Pilates, and neuromuscular training wasdesigned to (1) strengthen andstabilize muscles around hypermobile joints, and (2) improve proprioceptive awareness to allow postural adjustments to improve spinal alignment and symmetry. In collaboration with orthopedists and radiologists, images including a three-dimensional spiral computed tomography scan of the subject's skeleton were made for the purpose of drawing.


Symptom stabilization occurred as the patient gained a more graceful and coherentsense of her body, as well as improved look and function. A series of artworks revealing the three-dimensionalspatial dynamic of the scoliotic spine were produced


Health related quality of life can be improved using movement practices based on these concepts.

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Correspondence to Laura Ferguson.

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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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Ferguson, L. An artist's inquiry into scoliosis: an adult case report. Scoliosis 2 (Suppl 1), P4 (2007).

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