19 Feb SCOLIOSIS
Scoliosis, coming from the Greek word “skoliosis” meaning “crooked” or “bending”, is a common spinal condition where the spine curves or twists laterally into an ‘S’ or ‘C’ shape, no longer maintaining a normal straight column.
- Visibly curved spine
- Uneven shoulder height causing leaning to one side.
- Difference in hip height/position – one sticking out.
- Ribs sticking out to one side.
- Head not “centre” with rest of the body
- Back pain
There are two types of scoliosis:
- Structural – the patient presents a physical curve in the spine due to one or a few of the spinal vertebrae being wedge-shaped.
- Functional – the patient’s spine appears to be curved; however, the apparent curvature is an adaptation to an asymmetry or irregularity elsewhere in the body.
COMMON CAUSES OF STRUCTURAL SCOLIOSIS:
- Idiopathic – this is the medical term meaning “of a cause that is not known”. There is a cause, perhaps even more than one, but it is simply not yet understood. Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of scoliosis in infants, juveniles and adolescents.
- Degenerative – The most common type of scoliosis in adults and is due to the wear and tear on the discs and joints of the spine, typically affecting the lumbar spine (lower back) more often than the thoracic spine (upper back).
- Neuromuscular/Myopathic – scoliosis developing in patients who cannot walk as a result of a neuromuscular condition (e.g. muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, etc.)
- Congenital – meaning “present at birth.” A rare condition resulting from the abnormal development of the spinal vertebrae in utero.
COMMON CAUSES OF FUNCTIONAL SCOLIOSIS:
- Muscle spasms
- Difference in leg lengths
- Inflammatory conditions
Structural scoliosis is typically considered more serious and permanent because the spine cannot straighten out on its own and going without treatment can potentially result in further spinal deformity. Functional scoliosis, on the other hand, results from a temporary cause and the spine structure is still normal so identifying and treating the underlying cause will relieve the patient of the scoliosis.
The treatment of scoliosis typically depends on the extent to which the spinal curvature is affecting the patient’s daily life, and whether the condition is worsening over time. Patients are typically able to live normal lives and perform most activities, however, an osteopath can assist in increasing a patient’s range of movement by mobilising the thoracic and lumbar spine and the rib cage. Mobilisation is also beneficial to the pelvis, especially in cases where the patient has legs of different length.
An osteopath can assist in the stretching and massaging of the chest muscles, hip flexor muscles and other areas of the body which is helpful to release tension. They also evaluate and restore correct posture and breathing patterns, and recommend specific exercises and stretches for the patient to do in the comfort of their own home.
While osteopathy is not likely to completely cure a patient of scoliosis, it is a useful tool in the management of the condition as well as pain reduction in the back and neck.
An Osteopath in Camberley can help resolve your back pain issues. We are also available in Frimley & Guildford. Improve your quality of life today.
Essential Osteopathy. 2018. Scoliosis. [online] Available at: <https://www.essentialosteopathy.co.uk/blog/back-pain/scoliosis/> [Accessed 20 January 2021].
Surrey Osteopathic Care. 2020. Scoliosis – What Can Be Done? — Surrey Osteopathic Care. [online] Available at: <https://www.surreyosteopathiccare.co.uk/blog/scoliosis-what-can-be-done> [Accessed 20 January 2021].
The Spine Hospital at The Neurological Institute of New York. n.d. Scoliosis. [online] Available at: <https://www.columbiaspine.org/condition/scoliosis/> [Accessed 20 January 2021].