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A judo champion in brace

My name is Giulia. I live in Genoa, and I am in my third year of Middle School. I am just like many other girls: I have my friends, I love the sea in summer, and I have my hobbies and interests, the main one being judo. 

In January 2020, I was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis. My parents requested several consultations before we ended up at ISICO.

It was a challenging and upsetting process for me and my parents, who struggled to know the best course of action to take.

To begin with, my treatment was just daily exercises: every month, I had a session with my physiotherapist, Martina, and every four months, a medical check-up with Dr Fabio Zaina, a physiatrist at ISICO.

It was quite a tough period because I had to do my exercises every day, regardless of homework, daily judo training, and holidays. When each check-up came around, I would get really anxious about what my curve would measure.

In April this year, it was found to have gotten worse, and Dr Zaina prescribed a brace. At first, I didn’t take it very well, as I started thinking about everything this would stop me from doing. I was thinking about my sport, my summer, going to the sea, and so on. My family were alarmed, too, but we soon calmed down thanks to Martina’s support.

It only seems like yesterday when Mum and I went to the orthopaedic office to collect my brace. I remember the tests and adjustments needed to make it feel as comfortable as possible. During the first “test run”, I really felt I couldn’t breathe and struggled to do even the most basic movements. Then, gradually, something seemed to change. Together with Mum, I started doing increasingly complex movements, like sitting down and getting up from benches in the play park close to where we live, walking faster and faster until I was doing short runs. By the end of that morning, it felt like my brace and I were getting to know each other: I was starting to adapt. The first night I managed to sleep quite well, and my new life began the following day. Luckily, my prescription was for 18 hours per day, so I could plan my days, concentrating all my sporting activities during my brace-off hours. 

In those early months, I started to measure this new situation, trying to set myself goals and then working to achieve them. I wanted to know how many things I could still do from my previous life with a brace on. 

So, I made a list and started to tick them off: walk to school with a backpack on; ride a bicycle; do a handstand (this one was pretty difficult); do a head-over-heels (I managed this after lots of tries). When the summer came, and I swapped sweatshirts for lighter clothes, I found myself having to try out new solutions and change my look a bit, opting for slightly looser T-shirts, but the brace wasn’t that obvious under them. And then, it was the school holidays.

Since I spend most of my summer on the beach, I had to rethink my brace-wearing schedule to fit some sun and sea into my brace-off hours and my training, which gets more intensive in the summer. To stick to the six hours allowed, I worked out a method that actually worked well: I decided that my brace-off hours would end exactly when my training sessions did and calculated them on that basis, counting back six hours to know exactly when they should start. At the allotted time, I would take off my brace and put on a costume to enjoy the sun and the waves. On the hottest days, though, even that solution seemed impossible, and after talking to Martina, I started removing the sensor from my brace so that I could also go in the sea with it on. Gradually, everything fell into place, and my everyday life became “easy” again, basically because I could still do pretty much everything I used to do. 

After a year’s break due to the pandemic, judo competitions started again. July brought the Italian Championships, my first ever. After taking part in, and winning, the regional qualifications, I went to Ostia for the national championships. I got through three matches and then won the final, which I was amazed about because I really hadn’t expected to. I automatically qualified for the next Italian Championships in November, thanks to that result.

The summer raced by, as there was so much going on – beach time, training, family holidays. Everything was just like normal!

In September, after returning to school, I started training for the new Italian Championships in November. I was to compete in the beginners’ B -40KG category: I was determined to defend the title I had won in the summer. So, I worked out a new daily plan, including school, gym sessions and free time, and threw myself headlong into this new challenge. 

On 14 November, I went back to Ostia, in some ways more excited than the first time but also more aware of the challenge I faced. Once again, I had four matches, and I retained my title as Italian champion in my category! I was even more thrilled than the first time because more athletes were competing on this occasion and, technically, the standard was higher. That was the day I realised that if you really want something and fight for it, nothing can stop you, even a problem like ours. We are just the same as everyone else!

When I first learned that I had to start wearing a brace, I read some of the stories of others like me fighting scoliosis. They said that your brace, in the end, becomes a kind of travelling companion, a friend who is always there for you throughout the day.  I didn’t really believe that, and I thought they were just words meant to encourage others like me.

But, you know, it really is true, and even though I would have preferred not to have to go through all this, it hasn’t stopped me from reaching the highest step on the podium and being happy!

Arabic version of the ISYQOL

Several questionnaires are available to assess Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) following conservative and surgical interventions for various spinal conditions.
Among these, the Italian Spine Youth Quality of Life (ISYQOL) questionnaire was developed to evaluate health-related quality of life in adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis and showed high validity in measuring HRQOL. 
After Chinese, Korean and Polish versions of the ISYQOL,  the study, Cross-cultural adaptation and validation of the Italian Spine Youth Quality of Life (ISYQOL) questionnaire’s Arabic versionaimed to undertake the process of adaptation of the questionnaire into the Arabic language (ISYQOL-Ar) and evaluate its validity and reliability, and to correlate it with the validated revised Scoliosis Research Society (SRS-22r)’s Arabic questionnaire in a cross-sectional multicenter study.
The ISYQOL was translated, back-translated, and reviewed by an expert committee. Reliability assessment for the questionnaire domains was performed using Cronbach’s alpha.
 A total of 115 patients were enrolled in the study and completed the ISYQOL-Ar and Arabic SRS-22r questionnaires.
The ISYQOL-Ar questionnaire is a reliable and valid outcome measure for assessing young patients with spinal deformity among the Arabic-speaking population.

Scoliosis in the mirror: aesthetic concerns and psychological support

We are all critical when we look at ourselves in the mirror, and we tend to focus on and analyse the smallest detail, to the point that we sometimes get quite worked up about perceived flaws or defects that others probably don’t even notice.
This also applies to curves and asymmetries due to conditions like scoliosis. Indeed, to a young scoliosis patient these changes can appear extremely prominent, even when their friends and relatives insist that they can’t see anything wrong with the youngster’s back.

First of all, a brief preliminary remark. As part of scoliosis treatment, it is crucial to consider the appearance of the patient’s back.
This is not only because improving its overall aesthetics is one of the aims of the treatment (Negrini et al., 2018), but also because any change in its appearance, major or minor, can have a considerable psychological impact on the individual in question.

Of course, the way we see our own body and other people’s bodies is highly subjective, and aspects of our own body that bother us might not be the same aspects other people notice.

“For some scoliosis patients, the presence of asymmetries of the waist or shoulder blades, or a hump, will be an unbearable problem, whereas other patients may be quite unconcerned about them” says Dr Irene Ferrario, Isico psychologist. “And this can be entirely independent of objective clinical assessments; it may depend on the individual’s mood at the time, or on how much importance is attached to physical appearance in a given setting”. 

Sometimes, patients’ concerns about their appearance become disproportionate, turning into actual fixations that lead to them pouring far too much time and mental energy into working out how they can conceal their perceived defects.

“Having said that, minimising the patient’s concerns or trying to convince them that they don’t have any defects can, in some cases, be counterproductive” warns Ferrario. “Indeed, in the most severe cases, trying to appeal to reason to dispel concerns only has the effect of losing you the patient’s trust.”

Why seek psychological support

Therefore, it is advisable to seek help from a psychologist or psychotherapist in these cases. Unfortunately, many patients are reluctant to take this step as they remain convinced that removing the physical defect is the only way to resolve the problem and feel better. 

This is why scoliosis treatment must also address psychological needs to be effective.

On the one hand, specialists need to understand their patients’ distress and show them that they recognise the reasons for it. Once it is clear that a patient feels heard and understood, the therapist should then gradually and cautiously begin the process of formulating and presenting other possible reasons for the distress, helping the patient to know where it comes from and how it can be impacted by their environment and the people around them.   

“When we look at ourselves in a photo or in the mirror, we think we are seeing exactly what other people see when they look at us,” says Dr Ferrario, “but our eye is well trained to focus on the things we do not like about ourselves and thus to play on our insecurities. Whereas others see us as a whole and do not to dwell so much on specific details, we tend to analyse ourselves in minute detail, and our attention is always immediately drawn to the particular thing we are uncomfortable with.”

The main objective of psychological counselling, therefore, is to reduce, as much as possible, the discrepancy between the way we would like others to see us (our ideal self), how we think others should see us (self-guide), and how others see us (our real self).

“The course of treatment we do with our patients aims to help them rebuild their body image by encouraging greater awareness of their strengths and weaknesses” Dr Ferrario concludes. “Gradually, over time, patients manage to internalise this new image and eventually form a more realistic view of themselves. Patients also become more accepting of the aspects of their body that they used to see in a negative light”.

The importance of observational studies

Our study, Observational Studies: Specific Considerations for the Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine Physicianwas recently published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Experimental and non-experimental designs are used to investigate the effect or association of an intervention and clinical or surrogate outcome. These methods aim to improve knowledge and develop new strategies to manage a disease or condition. 

While experimental research studies entail scrutiny by the scientist and provide results that are less prone to systematic errors, their downside is that they are poorly generalisable. “What all this means in clinical terms,” explains Dr Sabrina Donzelli, physiatrist at Isico and first author of the published research,” is that a treatment that worked fine during a study may in the long term, following its prescription by a hospital or general practitioner, throw up problems that did not emerge in the experimental research”. 

Therefore, to verify what happens in the real world, non-experimental studies, called observational studies, can be carried out, of the kind dealt with by the research we have just published. 

Well-designed observational studies can provide valuable information regarding exposure factors and the event under investigation

“Basically, what the researcher does is simply observe data, without having the possibility to manipulate it”, Dr Donzelli goes on. “The researcher’s task is to interpret and contextualise the results, taking into account all potential errors introduced during the selection of the study sample. To eliminate, as far as possible, systematic errors that could lead to incorrect evaluations and interpretations, it is necessary to implement a series of methodological strategies that are not very widespread in the rehabilitation field.” 

In physical and rehabilitation medicine, where complex procedures and multiple risk factors can be involved in the same disease, the use of observational study must be planned in detail and a priori to avoid overestimations. 

“This is why we wrote this article, to offer clear suggestions to researchers in the rehabilitation field who are interested in planning an observational study”, concludes Dr Donzelli. “We give an overview of the methods used for observational design studies and describe when it is appropriate to use them and how to do so in different scenarios”. 

The Risser sign, growth and scoliosis: let’s clear a few things up

When patients come for medical consultations or physiotherapy sessions, numerous measurements get taken and recorded, often without less expert eyes even noticing.

On the other hand, other measurements are quickly seized upon, both by parents and youngsters. Take height, for example. The sliding piece barely has time to touch the patient’s head before the patient, hopeful, blurts out: “Have I grown? Can I leave off my brace now?”

Another milestone we are promptly informed of is menarche in girls, as parents are often convinced that when their daughters start their periods, they have finished growing, meaning that their treatment can come to an end. But this isn’t always the case. On the contrary, this delicate phase can sometimes coincide with the most marked progression of the disease, making it all the more important to act with caution.

Although these are two important examples of the many factors that need to be taken into account to work out what point a youngster’s growth has reached, it has been shown that increases in height and menarche do not necessarily coincide with the individual patient’s growth peak [1] and may therefore not be helpful and/or sufficient when it comes to deciding on the best course of treatment.

Since these manifestations are secondary growth characteristics, they can only be seen as an indication that the patient’s growth spurt has begun. What they do not tell us is precisely how far on it is. There is a scientific explanation for the traditionally held belief that girls “develop earlier” than boys. In fact, because testosterone starts to be released into the body after oestrogens, boys start their pubertal growth spurt later than girls.[1]

To manage scoliosis and optimise the treatment results of the condition, it is crucial to have a good idea of the patient’s residual growth potential and the time remaining until he/she reaches skeletal maturity. An accurate prediction of the growth rate is also required to know when the deformity is likely to be most at risk of progressing. On the other hand, once it has been established with certainty that the patient has finished growing, this is the time at which preventive measures can be stopped with only minimal risk of further deterioration of the curve. [1]

There are various methods we can use to evaluate bone growth in adolescence, and one of them is called the Risser sign.

An individual’s Risser grade can be determined from an anteroposterior X-ray of the spine. An advantage of this method is that the same X-ray can be used to measure both the number of Cobb degrees (necessary to diagnose scoliosis) and the degree of skeletal maturity, thereby limiting the patient’s radiation exposure.

From 0 to 5, Risser grades are assigned based on the amount of calcification present in the iliac apophysis, and the scale thus measures progressive ossification. A Risser grade 0 indicates a low degree of bone maturity: this status is present from birth through puberty.

A Risser grade 5 means that the iliac apophysis has fused to the iliac crest, and the structure is 100% ossified: this status is present in adults  [2]. 

It would be misleading to imagine the transition from Risser 0 to Risser 5 as a continuous and constant progression that occurs over a fixed time and at a set pace. This is because growth is not constant but proceeds at different rates in the different phases. There are times when it pauses, times when it speeds up considerably, and times when it slows down.

The crucial stage in a youngster’s growth, also vital for understanding the course of their scoliosis, is the pubertal growth spurt, during which the disease can alter the shape of the patient’s back in the space of just a few weeks. From the perspective of a Risser evaluation of skeletal maturity, this stage corresponds to the transition from Risser 0 to the complete acquisition of Risser 1.

Between Risser 2 skeletal maturity and the end of the Risser 3 stage, the growth spurt slows down, but as far as the scoliosis treatment is concerned, we still cannot lower our guard: the patient should continue to receive treatment.

Scoliosis treatment is brought to an end gradually as skeletal maturity increases. Once the patient has reached Risser grade 5 (complete skeletal maturity), the treatment can be terminated safely without fearing that some of the hard-won gains might be lost 

The Risser classification varies slightly in different parts of the world, with some differences found, in particular, between Europe and America. In Europe, the successive grades tend to be assigned more cautiously, in the sense that a patient is deemed to have passed from one stage to the next only in the presence of precise levels of bone maturation. On the other hand, the American tendency is to assign the successive grades sooner.

Another method for assessing skeletal maturity is the Sanders classification, whose eight grades are assigned based on the assessment of hand bone growth [3]. Some studies have found the Sanders classification more precise than the Risser sign. It shows higher staging sensitivity when growth is most rapid and is therefore more reliable during certain growth phases [4]. The problem with the Sanders classification is that it requires a separate X-ray of the hand, which therefore means that it could increase the patient’s radiation exposure.

All this information clearly shows that residual growth is essential to evaluate, but at the same time, difficult to establish and interpret.

Specialists can, of course, use the classification they prefer, which will be the one that, in their experience, works best for identifying and evaluating the growth peak in adolescence. It is essential that they can correctly interpret all the data they collect, including from radiographs and patients themselves, to optimise the timing and results of the treatment. 

References

[1] Cheung JPY, Luk KD. Managing the Pediatric Spine: Growth Assessment. Asian Spine J. 2017 Oct;11(5):804-816. doi: 10.4184/asj.2017.11.5.804. Epub 2017 Oct 11. PMID: 29093792; PMCID: PMC5662865.

[2] Greiner KA. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: radiologic decision-making. Am Fam Physician. 2002 May 1;65(9):1817-22. PMID: 12018804.

[3] Sanders JO, Khoury JG, Kishan S, Browne RH, Mooney JF 3rd, Arnold KD, McConnell SJ, Bauman JA, Finegold DN. Predicting scoliosis progression from skeletal maturity: a simplified classification during adolescence. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2008 Mar;90(3):540-53. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.G.00004. PMID: 18310704.

[4] Minkara A, Bainton N, Tanaka M, Kung J, DeAllie C, Khaleel A, Matsumoto H, Vitale M, Roye B. High Risk of Mismatch Between Sanders and Risser Staging in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis: Are We Guiding Treatment Using the Wrong Classification? J Pediatr Orthop. 2020 Feb;40(2):60-64. doi: 10.1097/BPO.0000000000001135. PMID: 31923164.

Isico science corner video column

At Isico we give great importance to research, an integral part of our clinical work.  
Our newsletters always dedicate a space to the presentation and a comment when a new Isico study is published. 
From this issue on, we will go one step further, enriching each presentation with the video commentary of the first author of the research paper. We are pleased that it is just our scientific director Stefano Negrini, the first author of the article, launching the new Isico Science corner video column with a study of such great importance.

Adults: can hyperkyphosis be improved?

With the passing years, many adults start to realise, when they look at themselves in the mirror, that they are getting increasingly stooped. Some people are unwilling to accept this situation and start wondering whether they can do anything to arrest this process. The question is, can this condition be improved or is it pointless even to try?

The condition we are talking about is HYPERKYPHOSIS. If you look at a person sideways on, you see that their back is not straight, but has natural curves, whose function is to cushion the forces that act on the spine. Following the back line from the top down, we see that first, at cervical level, there is a forward curvature, termed LORDOSIS, then a backward dorsal one, called KYPHOSIS, followed by another forward curve, at lumbar level, also called LORDOSIS. When the amplitude of the dorsal kyphotic curve, measured on an X-ray, exceeds the normal range, we speak of HYPERKYPHOSIS. Usually, this curve measures between 20 and 60 Cobb degrees.
Various factors explain this considerable range. Some are positional and related to the type of examination performed (for example the position of the arms), while others are linked to the associated disorder itself, which may be characterised by marked (e.g., scoliosis) or more prominent (e.g., idiopathic hyperkyphosis, Scheuermann’s disease) curves. Elderly people often present hyperkyphosis caused by the osteoporotic vertebral collapse. As the bones become more fragile, even minor movements can cause tiny fractures of the anterior portion of the vertebrae, resulting in progressive bending of the whole back

Everyone’s back bends forward more as the years go by, regardless of whether or not they have hyperkyphosis.
Why is this?  Most people spend much of their time, i.e., many hours of most days over many years, in a hunched position, with the head looking downwards. In fact, in our daily lives, we are often in the sitting position, which encourages forward flexion of the back; furthermore, many of the activities that require us to move around (cooking, cleaning, DIY, hobbies) also involve bending forwards. For all these reasons, dorsal kyphotic curves tend to get progressively worse over time, we become increasingly stiff, and the trunk extensor muscles grow weaker, resulting in postural collapse. In short, all these factors, combined, leave us “crushed” by the force of gravity.

What are the effects of hyperkyphosis? In adults and the elderly, hyperkyphosis can increase our risk of back pain and worsen our quality of life as we find it increasingly challenging to support our back, both when seated and when standing. Another effect is impaired balance and stability when walking.

So, to go back to our original question: is it possible to break this vicious cycle through physiotherapy and, in particular, through specific exercises? 

The answer is yes! The initial objectives of the treatment are to reduce the stiffness of the dorsal spine and strengthen the trunk muscles that oppose the force of gravity, so as to facilitate postural recovery, and to integrate the correction into daily life. Indeed, from the outset, the treatment approach based on specific exercises encourages patients to learn the crucial “self-correction” movement that allows them to achieve optimal realignment of the spine in the sagittal plane without compensating for this at other levels of the spine (reference: Exercise for improving age-related hyperkyphosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis with GRADE assessment. Ponzano M, Tibert N, Bansal S, Katzman W, Giangregorio L. Arch Osteoporos. 2021 Sep 21;16(1):140. doi: 10.1007/s11657-021-00998-3. PMID: 34546447)

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Once the improvement has been obtained, it needs to be made stable and lasting. This involves reducing the frequency of the specific exercises and integrating them with other types of physical or sporting activity, all the time continuing to maintain the correction in daily life.  

Together, all this translates into less pain, better physical function and a more attractive back.

Giulia, the story of a record-breaking Paralympic champion

It was her smile that first made us want to hear her story.

Giulia Terzi, 26, recently came back from the Tokyo Aquatics Centre with five Olympic medals from five races (two golds, two silvers and a bronze) — a new Italian and European record. Within the space of just weeks, she was also awarded, with top marks, a degree in law, to add to a previous one in political science. All in all, she is a real wonder woman, blessed with truly enviable determination and perseverance.
“When I asked her how all this makes her feel,” says Isico physiotherapist Martina Poggio, who had the privilege of interviewing her, she said: “It’s like a dream that I am still struggling to take in. It is the culmination of countless sacrifices. Each time I pick up my medals and look at them, I am reminded that hard work, sacrifices and everything you have to give up really are worth it, and can take you to the top, even though it can be hard to believe it at the time.”

Giulia also explained: “I went through some very difficult years. I was diagnosed with congenital scoliosis at the age of just 3 years, and therefore embarked on an exercise-based treatment at a very young age. When I was 14 years old, I spent 9 months wearing a plaster cast and that was followed by 4 years of bracing. Between 2015 and 2018, I had three operations, and as a result of medullary complications that arose subsequently, I am now in a wheelchair. I have found that the secret is to have the right people around you, trust those who love you and, whenever you need it, ask for help.  No one is invincible and some days and periods are more difficult than others, but with the love and support of family, friends and the right people, you can overcome anything! My parents and siblings have been crucial in helping me get through the hard times, I owe them so much!”

Giulia has a great Instagram profile, full of content, where she writes: “In my case, scoliosis has meant casts, braces, three operations, and titanium rods in my back with all that that entails. But, more than all of this, the word scoliosis, to me, means lots of other things as well. It means a bond, that special bond created through the looks you exchange with those around you, who see how hard you have to fight every single day, fight back tears when you are being taken off for surgery, but also look at you with so much pride whenever, despite everything, you achieve an objective. Scoliosis means pain, sleepless nights spent trying to sleep on a table or the bedroom floor. It means resilience, because all of this has, after all, allowed me to develop into a much stronger person, teaching me to endure fatigue and to pour ever more determination into making my dreams come true, because nothing has been allowed to get in the way of those! It also means love, for the people who have been by my side since the start, and ice creams that could not be enjoyed outdoors, in a park, but had to be eaten in a hospital bed, laughing about it, like it was the normal thing to do. When you find yourself facing a difficult situation, it’s so easy to let yourself get dragged down by negative comments, words and fears, but in the end, it is the energy and determination with which you pick yourself up that shows you for the person you are and that, whatever your problems, that must always win through.”

I prefer to quote Giulia’s exact words because I really believe that only someone who has gone through this experience themselves can really understand what it is like for our youngsters having to wear a brace day after day, rising bravely to the challenges that scoliosis brings” Martina Poggio says. 

“I wanted to turn a spotlight on Giulia, because she is a great example and her story illustrates perfectly the importance of fighting every day and not giving up on your dreams.”

The scientific literature reports perioperative complication rates of between 5% and 20%, depending on the surgical approach and the type (severity) of the complications themselves (Weiss, HR., Bess, S., Wong, M.S. et al. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis – to operate or not? A debate article. Patient Saf Surg 2, 25 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1186/1754-9493-2-25). The rate of neurological complications after posterior fusion is 0.32%.

Unfortunately, Giulia is part of that very small percentage, but her case is a crucial reminder of the fact that every difficulty can also bring new opportunities. This is a message aimed both at those youngsters who, through exercises, are trying to make sure their condition does not worsen to the point of needing bracing treatment, and also at those who are wearing a brace in the hope of managing to avoid surgery.

“Another important aspect of this story, worth underlining, is the important role played by sport,” Poggio points out. “As Giulia says, “sport is fundamental, because it helps you experience lots of different worlds and get to know loads of people. But it also presents you with many challenges and helps you overcome barriers. My particular scoliosis-related barrier was the idea that “I can’t…”.
Instead, what sport teaches you is that you can! And you also learn that this is partly thanks to the support you get from being part of a group that believes in the objective you have set yourself and helps you to achieve it.”

“It can certainly be difficult fitting in sports training, studying and physiotherapy” says Giulia, reflecting on a typical day in her life. “However, I think that health has to be the number one priority and that, to stay fit and well, you need to show the same level of commitment to your treatment as you do to your other pursuits. Studying is another key area that shouldn’t be neglected. Education is crucial when it comes to building your future and chosen career, and studying is clearly the key contributor to this objective. The trick is to be organized: I do two hours of swimming in the morning, followed by a gym or physiotherapy session. Then I go home to study. I do another couple of hours in the pool in the afternoon, and then in the evening it’s back to my books!  It’s a tough schedule, but this year I managed to win a gold medal at the Paralympic Games and graduate in law, earning top marks with honours, so all in all I would say that all my sacrifices have paid off!”

Many of our youngsters who do competitive sport are familiar with the challenges Giulia describes. When they are told that they need to wear a brace full time, their main concern is making sure they can go on practising the sporting activity they have dedicated so much to. The physicians at Isico agree that it is hugely important to ensure that wearing a brace does not interfere too much with these young people’s lives. Indeed, everything possible is done to make sure that they can go on training every day, in spite of the treatment they are receiving.

We asked Giulia what advice she has for youngsters dealing with scoliosis and its challenges on a daily basis, and she replied: “Don’t let barriers and prejudice stop you. Unfortunately, you are bound to meet some, but we all have hidden resources. If you can discover those, you can develop into a great man or woman. Learn from your sport, and on difficult days try and find at least one reason to be happy! Everything is easier with a smile on your face!”

We end with another valuable consideration taken from Giulia’s Instagram profile. She says: “I think that you really need to embrace pain fully. Don’t try and block it out: let it in and learn to live with it. It needs to take its time and work in its own way. It has to develop before it weakens. After that, the scars will fade, but only with time. It doesn’t make sense to try and hide them. People can’t always be invincible. Instead, I firmly believe that those who sometimes allow themselves to be fragile are actually stronger.”

Isico among the attendees of the November SRS webinar

A new webinar for professionals is scheduled for November 7, part of the cycle of those organized in recent months by the SRS (available on the pages of the society’s website).

Two specialists from Isico, our scientific director, Prof. Stefano Negrini and Dr. Fabio Zaina, Isico physiatrist will be taking part in this online event titled Current Status of Bracing in Adults and Adolescents:An SRS-SOSORT Collaboration.

Join the SRS Non-Operative Committee and the Society on Scoliosis Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Treatment (SOSORT) for a webinar analyzing the current evidence and practice guidelines for bracing for adolescent and adult patients with spinal deformity.

This webinar will provide a systematic analysis of the current evidence and best practice guidelines for bracing management of patients with spinal deformity in both adolescents and adults. With variations in brace design and documentation of long-term benefits, use the consensus discussed to clarify your current practice and brace selections.
There will be an update on the current training of Orthotists, including specialization, fabrication, fitting and deformity correction.

To register please visit the page of the SRS website

Digital Transformation at ISPO: Isico is there

The theme of the international online conference of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO), scheduled from 1 to 4 November will be “Digital Transformation in an Evolving World”: the World Congress will explore how digital transformation affects all aspects of using and working with assistive technology, from booking a clinic appointment and electronic health records to computer-aided design, microprocessor-controlled prostheses or orthoses, or video conferencing and social media.

 During the event, Prof.Stefano Negrini, Scientific Director of Isico, will present one poster, Modular Effective as Custom-Made. A Matched Case-Control Study of Modular Italian MI-brace vs Very-Rigid Sforzesco Brace in AIS” and two oral presentations “Introducing Pelvis Semi-Rigid Material does not change Short-Term Very-Rigid Sforzesco Brace Results. A Matched Case-Control Study in AIS” and “Reducing the Pelvis Constriction Changes the Sagittal Plane. A Retrospective Case-Control Study of Free Pelvis vs Classical Very-Rigid Sforzesco Braces”. 

Furthermore, Prof. Negrini will also hold a workshop on November 2nd on Innovations in the Design of Hard Rigid Braces for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Treatment in collaboration with Guerrino Rosellini and Fabrizio Tessadri of the orthotist’s shops ITOP and Orthotecnica.