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Resistance training in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

...does it extra effects on top of aerobic training?

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.

Although each benefit here is probably not clinically worthwhile on its own, the combined effect of all these small benefits suggests that it is worth recommending combined resistance and aerobic training over aerobic exercise alone to adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis, with the caveat that the extra benefits obtained may be very small.

Given that uncertainty, other issues (e.g., a patient may prefer and be more compliant with aerobic training) should also be taken into consideration in clinical decision-making.

> From: Xavier et al., J Physiother 66 (2020) 33-38 . All rights reserved to Australian Physiotherapy Association. Click here for the online summary.

Want to read deeper into this topic? Have a look at the free full text version of this article published in Journal of Physiotherapy!

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