By: Cindy Marti, PT – Owner & President of Spinal Dynamics & Body Dynamics of Wisconsin
Last week, my fellow scoliosis physical therapist, Meg Gogin, and I attended the annual meeting of scoliosis clinicians and researchers from around the world. The Society of Scoliosis Orthopedic Rehabilitation and Treatment (SOSORT) conference was held in Banff, Canada. We learned a lot and enjoyed hikes in the mountains in our free time.
Visit the Canadian Rockies if you can! See Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and hike up Sulphur Mountain in Banff. You will be mesmerized. Take the scenic route A1 from Lake Louise back to Banff to see if you can catch a view of a romping bear. We did! The Hoodoo trail is full of elk…beware! I got too close to one and had a good scare when she threatened me! People there are incredibly friendly and make it easy to be comfortable in their town.
And, if you are wondering about Canadian beer…I recommend the Big Rock Traditional Amber, known to locals as “Trad”. If you like amber ales, you will like this!
Research is improving our understanding of factors that contribute to the cause and progression of adolescent scoliosis. The cause is thought to be multi-factorial–meaning that it is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, neurological, and biomechanical variables. There was a landmark study presented at this meeting suggesting that vitamin D and calcium supplements can reduce the rate of curve progression in patients with scoliosis. This is new information and we will use it to support our patients here in the clinic by having blood work done to evaluate the possibility of adding supplements to their bracing and rehabilitation regimes.
New studies were presented that reinforced past research that BRACING WORKS and SCOLIOSIS-SPECIFIC THERAPY can help bracing. There were also interesting presentations on the treatment of adults with scoliosis, showing encouraging outcomes for these patients being treated with Physiologic Scoliosis-Specific Exercise (PSSE). When PSSE is combined with additional therapy, patients can improve their aesthetics and quality of life. We have known this to be true at Spinal Dynamics & Body Dynamics of Wisconsin for many years, but it is encouraging to see more research backing up our clinical findings.
I was happy to be a part of the meeting, running a couple of panel discussions about the treatment of scoliosis in adolescents and adults. I am slowly getting over my nerves in being up in front of so many brilliant minds. I also just finished my two-year term on the SOSORT Board of Directors and am now co-chair of the education committee. I am happy to have made many professional friends through this group, and am continually inspired by their dedication to the treatment of scoliosis.
We also had a RECORD number of Schroth-BSPTS certified physical therapists attending the annual SOSORT meeting. I am an instructor with BSPTS (Barcelona Scoliosis Physical Therapy School) and it was inspiring to see so many of our past graduates at the conference. It feels great to be having an impact in the field.
Scoliosis is a challenging condition, that often creates confusion and anxiety in the patients themselves, in their families, and yes – even sometimes in the clinicians treating it. Scoliosis has been treated innovatively and successfully without surgery in many parts of the world for decades. In the US, we are just beginning to make strides for change in the last 5-10 years, getting more physicians on board with early detection and early intervention, and in educating more therapists to teach scoliosis-specific exercise. We still have a long way to go to get EVERY child access to the care that can help them…and get them access BEFORE their curves progress in severity. If you or someone you know is living with scoliosis, please let us know if we can help.
Thanks for reading. Meg and I are all fired up from our mountain experience, and ready to get back in the clinic! Happy June!