Are you often feeling stiff and sore? Have you been told by your doctor, a trainer, or a massage therapist that you might have scoliosis? So what is scoliosis, and what can be done about it?
Scoliosis is a condition that affects the spine and causes it to curve abnormally. This condition affects not only the back’s appearance but also the entire body’s structure and function. In this blog, we will explore how scoliosis impacts the structure and function of the human body.
First and foremost, scoliosis changes the shape of the spine. Usually, the spine has a natural curve. With scoliosis, the spine twists and curves to one side, making it look more like the letter “C” or “S.” This abnormal curvature affects the spine’s alignment and puts pressure on the joints, muscles, and bones of the back. As a result, scoliosis can lead to chronic pain, muscle weakness, and reduced mobility.
Moreover, scoliosis can also affect the function of internal organs. The spine protects the spinal cord, the main pathway for communication between the brain and the rest of the body. When the spine is curved, it can put pressure on the spinal cord, leading to nerve damage and reducing communication effectiveness between the brain and the body.
In addition, scoliosis can also cause a condition known as “rib hump.” This is when the ribs on one side of the body grow abnormally, causing a bump on the back. This can cause breathing difficulties and make it difficult for the lungs to expand fully, leading to reduced lung capacity.
Furthermore, scoliosis can also cause psychological problems. The condition can cause a person to feel self-conscious about their appearance, leading to low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. These mental health problems can significantly impact a person’s overall quality of life.
To determine if you have scoliosis, you can do the following:
- Watch for symptoms: Look for signs of uneven shoulders, hips or waist, or one shoulder blade that appears higher.
- Get a physical exam: A doctor of chiropractic can examine your back for any signs of curvature and perform other tests, such as an x-ray.
- Get a back x-ray: An x-ray can show the extent and location of any spinal curvature.
5 Things You Can Do To Help With Scoliosis
If you have been diagnosed with scoliosis, it’s important to take action to manage the condition and improve your quality of life. Here are some practical steps you can take:
- Stretching: Gentle stretching exercises can help to ease muscle tension and improve flexibility in the spine, which can alleviate pain associated with scoliosis. Stretching exercises like the seated twist, the spinal stretch, and the neck stretch can help to relieve pressure and improve posture.
- Core Strengthening: Strengthening the muscles in your core, such as your abdominal and back muscles, can help to improve posture and balance and reduce pain associated with scoliosis. Exercises such as the plank, side bridge, and bird dog can help to improve core strength.
- Yoga: Certain yoga poses can help improve the spine’s posture, balance, and flexibility. Poses such as the downward dog, cobra pose, and cat-cow stretch can help to stretch the spine and alleviate pain associated with scoliosis.
- Swimming: Swimming is a low-impact exercise that can help strengthen the back muscles and improve posture. Swimming can also help relieve pressure on the spine and alleviate scoliosis-related pain.
- Physical Therapy: Working with a physical therapist can help to improve posture, balance, and flexibility in the spine, which can alleviate pain associated with scoliosis. A physical therapist can also help develop an exercise program to address your needs and goals.
- See a Chiropractor: Chiropractors can identify scoliosis and suggest appropriate care. They can offer non-drug and non-invasive chiropractic treatments that effectively reduce pain by alleviating pressure on the nervous system and strengthening the core. You may find a recent blog I did on spotting the signs of an unhealthy spine helpful; you can read it HERE.
Braces For Advanced Scoliosis
Braces are a commonly recommended treatment option for scoliosis, especially for children and adolescents who are still growing.
Braces work by applying pressure to the spine and correcting its alignment. The most commonly used braces for scoliosis are the Boston and Milwaukee brace. Boston braces are made of plastic and worn under clothing, while Milwaukee braces are made of metal and worn over clothing.
Braces are typically worn for several hours a day, and the length may vary depending on the severity of scoliosis. The goal of wearing a brace is to prevent the curve from worsening while the child grows. It is important to note that braces are not a cure for scoliosis and do not guarantee that the curve will be corrected.
In conclusion, scoliosis profoundly impacts the structure and function of the human body. From the spine to the internal organs and psychological well-being, scoliosis can affect multiple aspects of a person’s life. It is essential to seek treatment and management options to address the symptoms and improve the overall quality of life for those affected by scoliosis.
If you think you or your child may have scoliosis schedule an appointment for an assessment today HERE.