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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Spinal deformities rehabilitation - state of the art review

Hans-Rudolf Weiss

Author Affiliations

Orthopedic Rehabilitation Services, D-55457 Gensingen, Alzeyerstr. 23, Germany

Scoliosis 2010, 5:28  doi:10.1186/1748-7161-5-28

Published: 24 December 2010

Abstract

Background

Medical rehabilitation aims at an improvement in function, capacity and participation. For the rehabilitation of spinal deformities, the goal is to maintain function and prevent secondary symptoms in the short- and long-term. In patients with scoliosis, predictable signs and symptoms include pain and reduced pulmonary function.

Materials and methods

A Pub Med review was completed in order to reveal substantial evidence for inpatient rehabilitation as performed in Germany. No evidence has been found in general to support claims for actual inpatient rehabilitation programmes as used today. Nevertheless, as there is some evidence that inpatient rehabilitation may be beneficial to patients with spinal deformities complicated by certain additional conditions, the body of evidence there is for conservative treatment of spinal deformities has been reviewed in order to allow suggestions for outpatient conservative treatment and inpatient rehabilitation.

Discussion

Today, for both children and adolescents, we are able to offer intensive rehabilitation programmes lasting three to five days, which enable the patients to acquire the skills necessary to prevent postures fostering scoliosis in everyday life without missing too much of school teaching subjects at home. The secondary functional impairments adult scoliosis patients might have, as in the opinion of the author, still today require the time of 3-4 weeks in the clinical in-patient setting. Time to address psychosocial as well as somatic limitations, namely chronic pains and cardiorespiratory malfunction is needed to preserve the patients working capability in the long-term.

Conclusion

Outpatient treatment/rehabilitation is sufficient for adolescents with spinal deformities.

Inpatient rehabilitation is recommended for patients with spinal deformities and pain or severe restrictive ventilation disorder.