What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a condition affecting the position of the spine in 3 dimensions, the most notable change normally being a sideways curvature of the spine. Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis occurs in approximately 2-3 per cent of people. Scoliosis is more common in girls, with the ratio of 10 girls to 1 boy having a curve which warrants treatment. About 3 in 1000 children have curves that are large enough to need treatment. Scoliosis is often missed as it is generally not a painful condition.
How did I get Scoliosis?
Scoliosis can be congenital, meaning you are born with it, or it can develop from certain conditions such as cerebral palsy or Friedrich’s ataxia. If there is a syrinx or a tumour growing near the spine this can also cause a scoliosis to develop. In many cases there is no known cause for developing scoliosis although research is looking at genetic factors such as the uneven development of vertebral growth plates in rapid growth phases.
How do I know if I have Scoliosis?
A forward bending test called the Adam’s Test is performed as a quick screen for scoliosis. There will be other signs such as uneven shoulder or pelvis levels that will be looked at as part of postural observation. If scoliosis is suspected, an Xray or EOS scan can be performed to confirm the presence and severity of a scoliosis.
What do I do if I have Scoliosis?
Most people can manage their scoliosis without pain. If there is pain, then seeking treatment that works on muscles can often help significantly. This can include massage therapy and strength training. Scoliosis Specific exercises may be more useful than general exercise. Neuromuscular therapy can be very useful to retrain the brain and body to alleviate areas that are overloaded and potentially causing pain. In the case of Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis, the scoliosis will need to be monitored throughout adolescence to ensure the best outcome. This involves a series of Xrays or EOS scans. You may need to see a spinal specialist, an orthotist if the curve is large enough to need a brace, and a physiotherapist knowledgeable in scoliosis.
What does Physiotherapy do for Scoliosis?
Goals of physiotherapy treatment:
- Improve mobility of curves to facilitate effectiveness of brace/ability to correct scoliosis
- Improve postural strength and curve stability to slow curve progression/reduce the risk of progression to keep the curve under the surgical threshold
- Educate on self correction into functional movements and activities of daily living
- Improve alignment and muscle balance
- Reduce pain, if present
Worse Case Scenario?
Some people can have a very severe scoliosis that affects their breathing and heart function. These people will often require a spinal fusion surgery to prevent them getting to this stage. Studies show that there is pain present more often than not in severe scoliosis.
If you would like a scoliosis assessment or get started on a treatment plan, Back In Motion Como would love to help!
Phone number: 9313 3414