Scoliosis Treatment in Singapore: The Benefits of Physiotherapy

A poster of normal and abnormal spine with condition known as Scolosis

An abnormal spine curvature is a defining feature of the medical condition of scoliosis. It can affect people of all ages, but it’s most commonly diagnosed in adolescents. In Singapore, scoliosis treatment has been an evolving field, emphasising early detection and intervention to prevent the curve’s progression. The national scoliosis screening programme launched over three decades ago reflects Singapore’s commitment to tackling this condition proactively.

Treatment options for scoliosis in Singapore range from non-surgical methods, like back braces and physical therapy, to surgical interventions in more severe cases. These surgical procedures aim to correct spinal alignment and provide long-term stability. The city-state houses specialised clinics that offer tailored patient care, integrating current research and practices in scoliosis management.

Key Takeaways

  • Scoliosis involves a curvature of the spine, with Singapore proactive in screening and treatment.
  • A range of treatments, from non-surgical to surgical, are available in Singapore.
  • Specialised clinics provide advanced care, integrating the latest in scoliosis treatment research.

Understanding Scoliosis and Scoliosis Treatments in Singapore

To effectively manage scoliosis in Singapore, there must be a clear understanding of its nature and the medical approaches. This section provides concise information on the definition, types, causes, symptoms, and diagnostic processes of scoliosis.

Definitions and Types

Scoliosis is a medical condition characterised by an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. There are several types of scoliosis, but the most common in adolescents in Singapore is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Other types include congenital scoliosis, present at birth, and neuromuscular scoliosis, associated with disorders such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy.

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact causes of idiopathic scoliosis are generally unknown. However, risk factors may include family history, age (with onset typically occurring between 10 and 16 years), and sex, with females being more likely to develop the condition at a higher severity. Factors such as a poor understanding of the condition may contribute to late presentation and diagnosis.

Signs and Symptoms

Common signs and symptoms of scoliosis include visible curvature of the spine, uneven shoulders, one shoulder blade can appearing more prominent than the other, and an uneven waist or hips. As the condition progresses, symptoms may become more obvious, leading to discomfort and reduced mobility.

Diagnosis Procedures

Diagnosis of scoliosis usually involves a physical exam and imaging studies. The Adams forward bend test is a physical examination commonly used to assess scoliosis.If a curvature is suspected, radiographic investigations such as X-rays are frequently performed to establish the amount of the spinal curvature, as defined by the Cobb angle.More recent improvements in diagnostic methods also incorporate scoliosis-specific exercises and follow-up criteria, improving overall patient management.

Non-Surgical Treatments

In Singapore, non-surgical options for managing scoliosis include a range of treatments aimed at preventing curve progression, managing pain, and improving quality of life. These methods do not require an operation and are typically used for patients whose conditions are diagnosed early or for those who have less severe spinal curvature.



Physical Therapy/ Physiotherapy

Image of patients undergoing physiotherapy for scolosis

Physical therapy is essential for individuals with scoliosis in Singapore. Therapists create customised exercise programs to strengthen the muscles supporting the spine, enhance flexibility, and promote proper posture. Research indicates that exercises tailored for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis can be particularly practical.

Bracing Techniques

Bracing is a traditional method used to halt the progression of spinal curves, especially in adolescents. The success of bracing techniques is highly dependent on the type of brace and the patient’s compliance. In cases of idiopathic scoliosis, it is often chosen over surgery when appropriate.

Pain Management

Addressing pain is a critical aspect of scoliosis treatment. Pain management strategies can include over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, and localised treatments such as heat or ice applications. For many patients, non-surgical controls are sufficient to maintain a good quality of life without invasive procedures.

Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies in Singapore may involve techniques like yoga, pilates, or acupuncture to help alleviate discomfort and improve spinal function. While these approaches may be beneficial, patients should seek guidiance of healthcare professionals before incorporating them into their treatment regimen.

Surgical Treatments

In Singapore, the approach to scoliosis surgery is carefully tailored, considering the patient’s unique spinal curvature and needs. The aim is to correct spinal alignment and prevent further curvature progression.

Fusion Surgery

Fusion surgery is a standard procedure for addressing severe cases of scoliosis. It involves the realignment and fusion of vertebrae, usually with the aid of metal rods and screws to hold the spine in place. The bones then heal together over time, like a fracture, creating a single, solid bone. Notable research highlights several surgical options for adult degenerative scoliosis, with fusion being a primary choice for lasting stabilisation.

Non-Fusion Surgery

Non-fusion surgery might be preferred in younger patients where growth potential is considered. This type of surgery uses implants that may allow spinal growth and movement post-operation. Techniques like growth rod implementation can realign the spine while accommodating future growth.

Minimally Invasive Techniques

The development of minimally invasive techniques has enabled surgeons to correct spinal curvatures with smaller incisions, potentially reducing recovery time and complications. These techniques often involve specialised tools and real-time imaging to aid in the precise correction of the spine with less impact on surrounding tissues.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

Post-surgery, patients typically undergo a recovery and rehabilitation to ensure the best possible outcome, which essentially involves physical therapy to restore strength and mobility. Successful recovery may also hinge on following a structured rehabilitation program, which includes specific exercises and follow-up criteria to monitor the patient’s progress.

Specialised Scoliosis Clinics in Singapore

Singapore offers an array of specialised clinics that provide comprehensive care for individuals with scoliosis. These clinics leverage both hospital-based programmes and private practice options, including a focus on paediatric care.

Hospital-Based Programmes

Hospital-based scoliosis programmes in Singapore are designed to provide patients with access to a multidisciplinary team. These programmes often include orthopaedic surgeons, physical therapists, and radiologists collaborating to offer a tailored treatment plan. Most hospital programs also provide facilities for scoliosis screening and diagnostic imaging, which are essential for accurate assessment and management of the condition.

Private Practice Options

For those seeking individualised treatment in a more private setting, there are private practices that specialise in the management of scoliosis. These clinics benefit from the expertise of specialists who have more flexibility in scheduling and can offer personalised attention. Many private practices can administer non-surgical treatments, such as bracing, which might be necessary for severe scoliosis cases.

Pediatric Scoliosis Care

Scoliosis can have a profound impact on children, both physically and emotionally. Recognising this, pediatric scoliosis care in Singapore focuses on treatments that grow with the child. This includes growth-friendly surgical techniques and bracing options that accommodate a child’s active lifestyle. These programs prioritise not just the physical treatment of scoliosis but also the psychological well-being of young patients, offering support services for children and their families.

Patient Support and Resources

In Singapore, individuals with scoliosis have access to various forms of support, including community groups, educational resources, and financial programs designed to assist with treatment costs.

Support Groups and Networks

Support groups are vital in providing emotional and social support to patients and their families. These groups connect individuals with scoliosis to share experiences, advice, and encouragement. The Scoliosis Association of Singapore is one such platform where patients can find support and learn from the condition and experiences of others facing similar challenges.

Educational Materials

Educational resources help patients understand their condition and the available treatment options. Healthcare providers offer pamphlets, websites, and seminars to educate patients about scoliosis. One example is the in-depth information provided by the School Health Service, which serves as a central referral body for schoolchildren and aids in early detection and management.

Treatment Outcomes and Statistics

Understanding treatment outcomes and statistical analyses can provide crucial insights into the effectiveness of scoliosis interventions in Singapore.

Success Rates

Scoliosis treatments in Singapore demonstrate varying success rates depending on the intervention’s nature and timing. Surgical procedures for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) effectively correct spinal curvature. An assessment of utility outcome scores suggests that surgery can significantly improve patient health, indicating a high value placed on these interventions in AIS cases.

Long-Term Prognosis

The long-term prognosis for scoliosis patients often hinges on early detection and treatment. School scoliosis screening programs, which can lead to early therapeutic interventions, are instrumental in improving patient prognoses. However, long-term data on outcomes post-treatment is still being developed, with studies suggesting that continuous follow-up is necessary to understand the surgical treatment outcomes for adult scoliosis fully.

Quality of Life Assessments

Quality of life (QoL) assessments are integral to gauging treatment success beyond anatomical correction. Brace treatments, a common non-surgical approach for AIS, impact not only the physical condition but also the psychosocial aspect of adolescents. Research indicates that braces can affect personal appearance and self-image, affecting adolescent treatment outcomes and overall quality of life. Post-brace treatment QoL has been studied, emphasising its importance in the treatment process.


Innovation and Future Trends

Picture of an advanced futuristic operating theatre.

In Singapore, the field of scoliosis treatment is advancing through the development of new therapies and cutting-edge technologies. These innovations are aimed at improving patient outcomes and enhancing the efficiency of treatment protocols.

Emerging Therapies

Genetic Research: Scientists have been investigating the possible genetic factors that contribute to the development of scoliosis. This research is essential for identifying potential genetic therapies to mitigate or prevent the condition.

Biological Treatments: There is a growing interest in biological treatments, such as growth modulation and stem cell therapy. These therapies aim to treat scoliosis at a cellular level, offering a more targeted approach to managing the condition.

Technological Advancements

Robotic Surgery: Robotic systems are incorporated into spinal surgeries to increase precision and reduce recovery times. Patients undergoing scoliosis surgery now have access to these advanced robotic platforms, which assist surgeons in achieving better outcomes.

3D Printing: 3D printing has revolutionised the creation of custom braces and implants for scoliosis patients. Custom-tailored treatments have resulted in improved comfort and efficacy in managing spinal curvature.

Research and Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials: Singapore is hosting several trials to test new scoliosis treatments. These trials are critical for validating the safety and effectiveness of emerging therapies and bringing them to the broader public.

Collaborative Studies: Institutions in Singapore continue to collaborate internationally to conduct large-scale studies on scoliosis. These studies are crucial in uncovering trends, understanding regional variations in treatment, and developing global benchmarks for care.

Image of patients undergoing physiotherapy for scolosis

Frequently Asked Questions

Scoliosis in Singapore is managed through various treatments, and understanding the options can help inform decisions. Here are some common questions and straightforward answers related to managing this condition.

Which clinics are specialised in scoliosis treatment in Singapore?

Several specialised clinics in Singapore provide comprehensive care for scoliosis patients, including KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and National University Hospital, where expert teams offer personalised treatment plans.

What are the costs associated with non-surgical scoliosis treatments in Singapore?

There are non-surgical treatment options, such as bracing and physical therapy, may vary in cost depending on the duration and type of treatment. Patients should expect to invest in ongoing care, with prices reflecting the sophistication and duration of their treatment plan.

Are there any scoliosis treatments that can be done at home with professional guidance?

Yes, with professional guidance, treatments like the Schroth method can be adapted for home practice. Patients must first learn these techniques from a certified specialist to ensure they are performed correctly.

In what way does the Schroth method differ from other scoliosis treatments available in Singapore?

The Schroth method stands out as it employs a customised exercise regime aiming to correct spinal abnormalities through postural corrections, breathing techniques, and muscle strengthening, which is different from general physiotherapy or surgical methods.

For adults with scoliosis, what treatment options are available in Singapore?

Adults with scoliosis in Singapore have access to many avenues of treatment options, including non-surgical methods like physiotherapy, pain management, and bracing or surgical interventions for more severe cases.

How does Singapore’s prevalence of scoliosis compare to global statistics?

The prevalence of idiopathic scoliosis among the school-going population in Singapore was last reported as 0.93% in girls and 0.25% in boys, a rate that is consistent with global prevalence data, highlighting the importance of awareness and early detection programs.

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