FACTS AND TREATMENT OF SCOLIOSIS

Scoliosis is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. It is most often diagnosed in childhood or early adolescence. Symptoms may include:

  • one shoulder blade that’s higher than the other or sticks out more than the other
  • uneven hips
  • a rotating spine
  • Lung and heart damage. In severe cases of scoliosis, the rib cage may press against the lungs and heart
  • Back problems. Adults who had scoliosis as children are more likely to have chronic back pain than are people in the general population

THREE IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT SCOLIOSIS

  • Scoliosis risk factors include age (9- to 15-year-olds), female sex, and family history.
  • The most common symptom of scoliosis is the curvature of the spine.
  • There is no cure for scoliosis, but the symptoms can be reduce

OBSERVATION: In many children with scoliosis, the spinal curve is mild enough to not require treatment. However, if the doctor is worried that the curve may be increasing, he or she may wish to examine the child every four to six months throughout adolescence.

BRACES: If your child’s bones are still growing and he or she has moderate scoliosis, your doctor may recommend a brace. Wearing a brace won’t cure scoliosis or reverse the curve, but it usually prevents further progression of the curve.

SURGERY: Severe scoliosis typically progresses with time, so your doctor might suggest scoliosis surgery to reduce the spinal curve’s severity and prevent it from getting worse. The most common type of scoliosis surgery is called spinal fusion.

WHEN TO SEE A PHYSIOTHERAPIST:  
Scoliosis can be improved through the use of physiotherapy treatments that target muscle imbalances and other factors contributing to excessive spinal curvatures.

Physiotherapists develop a treatment plan that helps you achieve greater flexibility in chronically short and tight muscles while strengthening those that are long and weak.

These muscle imbalances cause the spine to flex laterally and affect an individual’s mobility, posture, and function. Addressing imbalances significantly reduces and can eliminate symptoms. Physiotherapy can treat scoliosis both in patients who use braces as well as those who don’t. It supports the results achieved through bracing by ensuring that a normalized spinal position is maintained as an individual eliminates the use of a brace.
Generally, it’s a good idea to have an assessment done by a physiotherapist either when scoliosis is diagnosed or suspected. If you or your child has scoliosis, call us at PCA for a comprehensive assessment and recommendations for treatment. No matter how mild or severe the symptoms, there are always options for improvement.

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