Idiopathic scoliosis and pelvic floor dysfunction

Jan Perkins, Alison Boyer, Allison Mcleish, Karen Grossnickle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Research suggests that trunk and pelvic floor muscles work as a functional unit for postural and continence activities. Back pain increases the risk of incontinence, and practitioners treating incontinence often treat trunk muscles, while those treating back and sacroiliac problems often incorporate pelvic floor treatments in management programmes. It was hypothesized that women with scoliosis might have pelvic floor dysfunction. Methods: Pelvic floor function was evaluated in a convenience sample of four nulliparous women with idiopathic scoliosis. Evaluation included scoliometer and perineometer measures, manual muscle testing of the pelvic floor, the Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory-Short Form 20 (PFDI-20), and the Scoliosis Research Society Outcomes Instrument (SRS-22) Findings: Half the participants reported clinically significant PFDI-20 score elevations. All had back pain, attributed to their scoliosis. Conclusion: Pelvic floor strength assessments lacked sensitivity in this population of young women, but PFDI-20 scores identified who might benefit from further evaluation. Practitioners treating women with scoliosis should be aware of possible co-existing pelvic floor disorders and of the known link between back pain and incontinence. By raising this issue or using a sensitive tool like the PFDI-20 it may be possible to identify and treat problems early, and implement pelvic floor disorder prevention programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-110
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012


  • Back pain
  • Idiopathic scoliosis
  • PDFI-20
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction
  • SRS-22


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