Scoliosis... we've got your back!
What is Scoliosis? Scoliosis is an abnormal, curvature of the spine. Viewed from the back, a typical spine is straight. When scoliosis occurs the spine can curve in two different ways, the spine can curve to one side, either the left or right side (shaped like a C) or the spine has two curves (shaped like the letter S) normally occurring at the cervical and lumbar spine region. There are two types of scoliosis. Structural scoliosis which is characterised by permanent structural changes in the bone and usually caused by congenital abnormalities. Non-structural or functional scoliosis is generally caused by a problem elsewhere in the body, such as a leg length discrepancy or muscle spasm. 70-90% of all cases are idiopathic (unknown). Idiopathic scoliosis can be seen at any age, but is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 10 and 13 years, and is more common in females. Degenerative scoliosis is more likely to develop in adults, where degeneration in the spine and surrounding musculature can result in abnormal curvature. How do you know you might have scoliosis? The most common symptom of scoliosis is an abnormal curve of the spine. Often this is a mild change and may be first noticed by friends or family. The change in the curve of the spine typically occurs very slowly and over a long period of time and so it is easy to miss until it becomes more severe. Pain is a symptom of scoliosis .When back pain is present with scoliosis; it may be because the curve in the spine is causing stress and pressure on the spinal discs, nerves, muscles, ligaments, or facet joints. It is not usually caused by the curve itself.
Scoliosis may cause the head to appear slightly tilted to one side or one hip or shoulder to be higher than the other side and can also cause one leg to appear shorter than the other. If the scoliosis is more severe, it can make it more difficult for the heart and lungs to work properly as severe scoliosis can cause a rotation of the rib cage, which will cause shortness of breath. How can Biokinetics help scoliosis? Mild cases of scoliosis generally have minimal deformity. Such cases can therefore be treated with appropriate stretching and strenghening exercises. A biokineticist will assess what functional aspects may be contributing to the scoliosis, so that appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises can then be prescribed to manage the scoliosis and prevent further deterioration. Biokineticists can prevent the progression of curvatures in adolescents with scoliosis and in some cases even improve their curvature. Biokinetics will focus on prescribing a specific individualised exercise regimen according to the need of each person. The program will consist of isometric and other muscle strengthening and stretching exercises in order to strengthen the spine causing it to straighten out. Treatment will also focus on posture correction and stabilising the corrected muscles so that posture will be improved in activities of daily living. It is very important that the correct exercises be prescribed and done obediently, as incorrect exercises; a lack of effective management of the scoliosis and to poor compliance of the individual can lead to progression of the curvature.