Scoliosis is a common spine condition that involves side bending and rotation of the spine. It is a dangerous, painful disorder that contributes to a wide variety of injuries. It is particularly sneaky, however, as it usually develops slowly and gradually. For that reason, it can go undetected for long periods of time. This makes it especially important to be aware of when and how the disorder typically presents itself.
Scoliosis usually begins to form during adolescence, a time of physical development. While many cases are generally painless in the early stages, undetected, untreated cases often lead to chronic back pain. These cases also greatly increase the likelihood of intervertebral disk and facet joint degeneration. In addition, sport related injuries are much more common amongst people with scoliosis as the body is forced to compensate for a restricted range of motion.
Two Types of Scoliosis
There are two general types of scoliosis: structural and functional.
Structural scoliosis usually develops during adolescence and involves bending and rotation of the spine. This type of scoliosis has the potential to become a permanent, irreversible defect if it is not treated before the body is finished growing and developing.
Alternatively, functional scoliosis is strictly a bending of the spine. It is the result of unaddressed muscle tightness and imbalance. With functional scoliosis, the spine may straighten when bending forward to stretch or when lying down.
While both can cause pain and injury, the potentially permanent, degenerative nature of structural scoliosis makes it the more dangerous of the two. It is important to note, however, that, despite its irreversible nature, it is still important to treat structural scoliosis past adolescence. Treatment can help decrease symptoms and prevent or stave off age related degeneration.
Common Symptoms of Scoliosis Include
To catch scoliosis early on, it is important to make yourself familiar with common symptoms of the disorder. These symptoms include:
- Back pain. An obvious one, we know. Still, it is worth mentioning! Curvature and rotation of the spine could make you more susceptible to muscle spasms and strains, local inflammation, and degenerative intervertebral discs and facet joints. It also increases likelihood of back related injuries.
- Reduced range of motion. The misalignment could reduce the spine’s flexibility, which may be especially noticeable when bending forward. The rotation and side bending caused by scoliosis can limit your ability to rotate the back and waist. This can become a prominent issue while playing sports that require increased rotation, such as golf and tennis. However, it can also impact sports like running, cycling, and cross-fit. In addition to impacting performance, it can lead to increased risk of back, hip, and knee injuries as the body compensates for the restricted range of motion.
- Difficulty breathing. If the spine rotates too far, the rib cage can twist and tighten, making it more difficult to inflate the lungs. Additionally, if the ribcage twists as well, it can also hamper the heart’s ability to pump blood.
- Changes in the way you walk or run. When the spine twists and bends sideways, it could pull the hips out of alignment. The extra work needed to compensate for the incorrect position could cause certain muscles to tire sooner. In addition, the misalignment can result in increased wear on the hip joints and knees, making walking and running painful and more tiring than usual.
- Ill-fitting clothing. This one may come as a surprise. However, it can often act as a pretty clear indicator. Changes in posture may cause one shirtsleeve or pant leg to hang lower than the other. Alternatively, you may notice a pulling or lack of symmetry at the neckline or hemline.
The most effective form of treatment for scoliosis involves an integrative approach. Some components of an effective comprehensive treatment plan include:
- Massage, Cupping, & Acupuncture. These elements help address muscular and myofascial connective tissue imbalances that pull the spine out of alignment.
- Chiropractic Care. Chiropractic can help to realign the spine and address rotation.
- Pilates, Gyrotonic, Yoga. These exercises are perfect for gently stretching and strengthening muscles, allowing your body to retain proper posture and operate with effective, healthy patterns of movement.
If you believe you could be suffering from scoliosis or have received a prior diagnosis, it is important that you seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Beverly Hills Posture offers a comprehensive treatment approach that will allow you to develop long term strategies for managing your disorder. Our doctors and practitioners work hand in hand to offer the best treatment possible, allowing you to focus on healing and protecting your body in a stress-free setting.
Give us a call to schedule your evaluation today!