Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is a lateral curvature of >10 deg (as measured by the Cobb angle) that has its onset after 10 years of age. It is often accompanied by a variable degree of rotation of the spinal column.
A person with AIS may present with shortness of breath, but even if the patient is asymptomatic, respiratory function tests may reveal impairment. In addition to ventilatory restriction, AIS can lead to respiratory muscle weakness and exercise limitation, thereby altering the physiological responses to activities of daily living and resulting in functional disability in many cases.
A program of standardised activity for those who have a formal indication for surgical correction (i.e., spinal curvature ≥45 deg) significantly improves cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal conditioning. The most beneficial type of exercise remains unclear.