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Does an imbalance situation stimulate a spinal straightening reflex in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis?


The correlation between balance and Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) is still unclear. To help identify which exercises to recommend in the conservative treatment, evaluation of balance in AIS patients may be beneficial.


Evaluation of change of scoliosis curves in a group AIS patients while submitted to an unbalancing situation.


Pre-post trial.


Fourteen AIS patients (46 curves), 12 to 15 years old, with 19.3 ± 9.9° Cobb curves.


Assessment has been made using GOALS (Global Optoelectronic Approach for Locomotion and Spine), a non-ionising instrument that allow a 3D reconstruction of the spine. We evaluated the patients twice in a standardised standing position: on the floor, and on a sway bench. For statistics we used paired T test; to consider significant a variation, due to the high precision of the instrument, we considered 1° Cobb.


While on the sway bench, there was a statistically (but not clinically) significant reduction of the curves from 19.3 ± 9.9° to 18.6 ± 9.6°. This was confirmed considering the average of the curves of each patient, but not when considering the worst curve (from 26.1 ± 9.4° to 25.4 ± 10.2°), where statistical significance was not reached presumably because of the reduced sample. Looking at the curves, 13% worsened and 33% improved, versus 14% and 43% respectively looking at the patients.


We did not find similar reactions in all patients, even if a spinal straightening reflex while on a sway bench appeared. In any case, these variations are of low degree.


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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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Romano, M., Ziliani, V., Atanasio, S. et al. Does an imbalance situation stimulate a spinal straightening reflex in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis?. Scoliosis 4 (Suppl 1), O20 (2009).

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