Management and Treatment of Scoliosis

Common conditions, Lifestyle, Scoliosis

Spine osteoporosis. Spinal cord problems on woman's back

Early management of scoliosis is the key to more successful treatment and improvement of body function. We don’t guarantee that scoliosis can be cured but we sure as hell will do what we can to influence the body in the right direction.

The body is like a garden. You can use the best soil, water regularly and provide ample sunlight but nobody can guarantee that the seeds will sprout. Our aim is to give your body the best environment and let nature work its magic.

Focused Muscle Retraining to Prevent Scoliosis Progression

Your brain is the boss. It is the ultimate centre that controls your muscles and nerves. No matter how long you hold your body in the correct position, it is of no good if your higher centre is unable to learn and organize your movements

Use a Mirror

Get visual feedback and awareness to do simple exercises for your brain to learn muscle control. It is important that you also focus on your legs, arms, head and hips as well as the body works as a whole unit.

posture

Improve Spinal Mobility

Focus on moving your back in varying positions while standing. It’s important you do small and gentle movements for constant brain signals. You should use your imagination to visualize the movements if trying to do it is too difficult and slowly work your way to incorporating them.

Twist and turn

tuck twist turn

When lying down, sitting or standing, place your arms with elbows bent to 90 degree with your thumb out. Then, gently twist your back and spine in the direction that is the easier one for you and rotate to the other side.

After you repeat this movement a few times, notice whether your back begins to move more easily if your spine begins to feel more mobile.

Stimulate the stretch reflex

The stretch reflex helps to control posture. When you bend slightly to your right, it causes a stretch in the spinal, hip and leg muscles on the left side. This activates the stretch reflex. What the reflex does, after the muscle is lengthened, is that there will be an immediate reflex contraction of the same muscle. Thus bringing your spine back to normal by adjusting and maintaining.

In most scoliosis cases, the muscles on one side of the spine are elongated while the muscles on the other side are shortened. Some might think stretching the shortened muscles will be the solution but that will actually stimulate the stretch reflex and cause further contractions.

Instead of stretching the short muscles, gently move to the side of your curve stretching the elongated muscles and let go to activate the stretch reflex.

Bending to lengthen

Correct Nutritional Imbalances

Improve the function of neurotransmitters in your brain in order to improve muscle contraction and control of posture.

Eggs/ Liver – They are rich in choline that forms acetylcholine a neurotransmitter for concentration and focus. It also plays a role in muscle coordination.

Brown rice: Serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter, plays an important role in brain activities such as learning and memory.

Spinach: Increase in folic acid that ensures your body synthesizes norepinephrine and serotonin.

Fish: Helps increase dopamine levels that are important for healthy nervous and immune system functioning

Dairy products: Increases norepinephrine a neurotransmitter that facilitates alertness, concentration and motivation.

Common Treatment Methods

  • Improving chest mobility

chest mobility

Mobilization and stretching techniques relieves the tight structures of the chest and back, helping your chest to expand.

  • Breathing exercises

diaphragm breathing Practicing diaphragmatic and deep breathing exercises will expand your chest and stretch the muscles of your chest, improving the oxygen uptake and lung function.

  • Foam roller for Myo-fascial Release

foamrolling

Scoliosis can cause chronic muscular strains, most commonly seen as trigger points in the muscles in the back, hips and abdomen. Using the foam roller will help loosen these muscles and potentially increase mobility.

  • Traction Therapy

scoliosis traction

Decompression traction therapy is another method used to treat back problems. This method is often used to treat mild scoliosis by giving the spine a chance to decompress and possibly influence it in the correct manner through stretching, exercises and manual therapy.

  • Correction exercises

exercises

Improving the muscle strength (especially in the abdominal muscles) and flexibility in the spine. To correct spinal curvature and stabilize scoliosis angle.

scoliotic curve heel

  • Insole Support

Scoliosis stemming from leg-length discrepancy due to a low arch and excessive inward position of your feet, can be corrected and stabilized using orthotics. Some may need a permanent heel lift due to an anatomical difference in leg length.

When there are differences in the alignment of your hips, you may be advised to use an insole to lift the lower side which will in turn, correct your posture.

  • Kinesio Taping 

RockTapeKinesio taping can be used to correct muscle imbalances and posture. This tape supports the muscles in their optimal length without restricting movements in your joints. It helps to adjust your posture correctly and reduce muscle strain. Due to the tape being an external support structure, it also provides proprioceptive feedback to the body when applied.

  • Forget about a perfectly straight back.

Instead, focus on having a strong healthy spine. It is natural to want a straight spine but opting for treatments that unnaturally forces your spine to be straight might leave you in unnecessary discomfort or pain. Even using braces or surgery have their limitations. A healthy spine would be one where you’re able to move in and out of different positions with ease.

It is still recommended to monitor the scoliosis twice a year with or without treatment.

Watching Out for Functional Scoliosis

Common conditions, Lifestyle, Scoliosis

Scoliotic curve

Have you ever seen it yourself or been told by someone that one of your shoulders is not in line with the other? Most people would have seen it but probably have no idea what it is. The condition is called scoliosis. It causes abnormal curving of the spine making your hips and shoulders appear uneven.

scoliosis

When do experts define scoliosis as functional scoliosis?

Functional scoliosis:

You most commonly see an exaggerated curve of the upper back (thoracic spine towards right or left side) and an excessive curving of the lower back (lumbar spine hyperlordosis).

Functional scoliosis involve compensatory curves which develop due to:

  • Leg-length differences or pelvic tilting
  • Incorrect postural response (muscle imbalance)
  • Transient or temporary, often due to painful response of your back pain

scoliotic spine

Can you get it sorted?

The curve of the spine is a consequence of faulty lifestyle or injury and often can be corrected .The curve does not twist and can be corrected by changing position and postural correction.

Look at your posture in the mirror.

  • Does your head tilt and do not line up over the hips?
  • Do you have protruding a shoulder blade?
  • Is one of your hips or shoulders higher than the other, causing an uneven hem or shirt line?
  • Any uneven neckline?
  • Are you leaning more to one side than the other?

Does scoliosis cause pain? What is so bad about it?

Most scoliosis is painless and more often than not, it goes unnoticed. However, with more advanced curves, pain arises due to other problems.

Common symptoms caused by scoliosis:

  • Excess fatigue – Fatigue is common while sitting or standing for prolonged hours but with the addition of scoliosis, extra strain is put on the body.
  • Poor body mechanics – Shortened muscles on one side of the curve causes spasms, tightness and incorrect movement patterns.
  • Respiratory problems – Restrictive rib structure may cause lung problems due to lack of full expansion of your chest. This may cause difficulty in breathing and the body may have trouble getting enough oxygen in more severe cases.
  • Inflammatory joint conditions – Arthritis is seen in the spine. The joints lose their cartilage that cushion the spinal discs. They get inflamed and bone spurs are formed. If spinal disc presses on the nerves, severe pain can develop which may require immediate medical attention.
  • Disc degeneration and low back pain – Due to degeneration, the disc between the vertebrae may become weakened and rupture. Treatment may involve removal of the old rods and extension of the disc fusion into the lower back.
  • Emotional Effects in Adults – Due to the increase in adults developing scoliosis, there is also an increase in problems of general health. Social, emotional and possibly mental health due to the physical appearance and social stigma of scoliosis.
  • Height loss – Fusion of the spinal disc in severe cases may cause height loss. However, much of the growth takes place in long bones, which are not affected.

How bad it can get?

scoliosis angle measure 

Mild Spinal curves less than 20 degrees is seen in about 80% of people with bad back or uneven hips. Experts recommend that curves beyond 20 degrees should be monitored in the event the condition worsens. These measurements of the length and angle of the curve are usually measured from a recent x-ray for optimum accuracy.

Why did you develop Scoliosis?

Physical stress or injury

Maintaining a wrong posture throughout the day puts an uneven load on the spine causing tight muscles of the body. This muscular changes compresses the joints and can cause injury over time.

exaggerated posture

In such conditions, if you engage in sports like tennis or dragon-boating where often it involves only one side of your body. One side will become overloaded and tend to be dominant. The imbalance causes muscles to be overused and the injury can worsen due to joint stress. The spine will adapt to this new posture as it’ll follow the path of least resistance causing a functional scoliosis to occur.

posture in tennis

Your spinal curves changes when after an extended period, some muscles get tightened and shortened on one side while lengthened and weakened on the other side of your body. This gives an uneven appearance even standing up straight. Problems like lack of muscular control and coordination while engaging in high impact activities may also cause injury and muscle imbalances. Scoliosis is most common among dancers, gymnasts, swimmers and single-handed sports enthusiasts.

Do you have weak bones?

Bone problems can be caused by a lack of estrogen (during menopause), Vitamin D (sunlight), calcium and impact (exercise). These can cause a decline in bone density. Experts recommend measuring bone mineral density and seeking ways to improve your lifestyle to prevent further damage.

Detection and Correction

Early observation and intervention can help correct your curves. Most scoliosis curves are mild and are mainly due to incorrect postural conditions. All you need is a little input on lifestyle changes in order to improve the mobility in your spine and maintain good health.

The truth is, our body has an extraordinary capacity to self-correct and adapt.