Scoliosis is a common spine deformity affecting 2-3% of the population. The deformity might be common, but facts about it certainly aren’t common knowledge. There seem to be a lot of myths about the spinal disorder.
These myths keep a large number of the population away from the correct diagnosis and eventual treatment of their symptoms.
Can you develop Scoliosis later in life? That seems to be one such scoliosis-related fact that has the public divided. Many people believe that Scoliosis is a hereditary spinal condition diagnosed in adolescence. While it’s true that most cases of Scoliosis are present at birth and the disorder becomes more prominent as the child steps into young adulthood, it’s not always the case.
Understanding scoliosis and its symptoms can help you detect the disorder early in yourself and those you love. Early diagnosis means the availability of more treatment options for you or your loved one. Here are the two main types of Scoliosis:
Idiopathic Scoliosis is diagnosed during adolescence, with some cases becoming visible at an even earlier age. It's usually present at birth and is diagnosed when the child reaches teenage years. Some idiopathic scoliosis cases can remain undiagnosed until adulthood, especially if there are no symptoms. Sometimes, other diseases can also hide its indications.
Degenerative Scoliosis occurs later in life. While heredity can certainly affect a person’s chances of developing scoliosis, it’s not the only reason a person might develop it. The aging body goes through normal wear and tear, resulting in many bone and spine-related ailments. Scoliosis is one of them.
The cartilage between the spinal bones gets worn down over time, resulting in them rubbing against each other. This friction causes slight dislocation of the bones resulting in Degenerative Scoliosis. Sometimes, other ailments such as Osteoarthritis can also contribute to developing scoliosis later in life.
Knowing the symptoms to look out for can arm you with a better understanding of the disorder. Here are some Degenerative Scoliosis signs and symptoms to be wary of
1. It Might Cause You to Lose a Few Inches of Height
Been feeling shorter than usual lately? Don’t ignore that symptom! Height loss could be an indicator that your spinal curvature is changing, often for the worst. A normal, healthy spine has three natural curves in it. It's what makes our backbone bendable and adaptable to the different poses of the human body.
Any changes in these curves disrupt the delicate balance of our backbone and adjacent muscles. Height loss is one of the symptoms that occurs when this natural balance gets out for any reason. How much will your height be affected? That depends on the severity of your condition and the treatment options your doctor recommends.
2. It Affects Your Posture and Walk
As discussed earlier, changes in the spinal curves can cause a host of issues. Imbalanced alignment of the pelvis and hips is another symptom you should never ignore. Scoliosis can affect the way you walk and carry yourself, even the way you sit.
Some of these changes are, at times, subconscious, driven by stiff back muscles or pain. Other times, it’s the curvature of your back that changes the way you poise. Just as Degenerative Scoliosis can cause changes in gait, bad posture habits can also make the deformity seem worse than it is.
Physical therapy is recommended for scoliosis patients as it’s an effective way of re-learning good posture and sitting positions.
3. It’s Not Always Painful
Who would’ve thought the absence of pain could also be a silent alarm bell? But with Degenerative Scoliosis, no pain isn’t always good news. Pain is an indicator that something is unwell in our bodies. It’s often the top reason people seek medical treatment and get diagnosed with Scoliosis.
It’s important to understand that back pain doesn’t necessarily accompany scoliosis. If you have other symptoms or are at risk because of your family history, you should get checked out regardless.
An early diagnosis can give you leverage over your condition and keep it from eventually becoming painful. If you’ve been diagnosed with other orthopedic conditions, ask your doctor about your chances of developing Scoliosis later in life.
4. Your Upset Stomach Might Be a Symptom
Just like your spine, your digestive tract is another intricate system within your body that’s connected to your overall health. As your Scoliosis progresses, it can cause stomach issues as well. Here are some common problems associated with degenerative scoliosis:
The reason is simple: your spine does more than just keep your body erect. It's your body’s message transmission system. Any imbalance in the spinal curvatures hinders the timely delivery of these messages from different body parts to your brain.
Advancing scoliosis could also affect the efficiency of your stomach in digesting food properly. So while scoliosis doesn’t directly affect your bowel, these symptoms could be related to scoliosis.
5. It’s Not Just Your Back That Hurts
While back pain is the most well-recognized symptom of scoliosis, it’s not the only part of your body that might hurt. If you have pain running down the backs of your legs and thighs, don’t ignore it. That can be a symptom of degenerative scoliosis as well.
Numbness, sharp pain, dull achiness, or inflammation in the lower half of your body can all be caused by scoliosis. You might experience leg pain for two reasons:
Recognize and Overcome Scoliosis
Scoliosis can look and feel very different for various patients. The correct diagnosis is the first step for you to overcome the condition and lead a healthy life. Feel free to reach out to one of our experts if you experience any signs or symptoms of Scoliosis.
Scoliosis can affect your life in many ways. From causing pinched nerve pain to hindering your ability to lead an active, independent life. Adult Scoliosis, in particular, often comes with one consistent symptom: Pain. 73% of young adults diagnosed with Scoliosis report experiencing pain to some degree.
Managing Pain With Scoliosis Bracing
The good news is that you now have more choices to manage your pain thanks to medical advancements and a better understanding of the disorder. Depending on the degree of Scoliosis you have been diagnosed with, there are some simple steps you can incorporate into your lifestyle to minimize pain.
These habits can be adopted even if you undergo other treatments for your disorder, such as medication, therapy, or scoliosis bracing. Here are the top lifestyle alteration habits we recommend to lessen the grasp of scoliosis pain in your life:
1. Schedule Regular Chiropractor Appointments
Along with scoliosis bracing, regularly visiting a chiropractor is one of the top things you can do to keep pain at bay. Early diagnosis and management can drastically improve your chances of leading a pain-free life.
Another advantage of getting checked out regularly is that only a trained professional can diagnose the exact cause of your pain. Not all scoliosis pain is the same, so it’s not treated the same way.
Sometimes, a pinched nerve might be causing your symptoms, such as sudden numbness or sharp pain. This pain differs from the dull chronic backache usually associated with scoliosis. You can also prevent your condition from worsening when you regularly get your treatment plan altered and updated by a health care professional.
2. Find the Culprit
Recognizing the triggers that make your scoliosis pain worse is a crucial part of better pain management. Instead of upping your pain medication dosage, try and identify the factors that cause flare-ups. Here are some common culprits that aggravate scoliosis pain:
If you’ve noticed that dropping temperatures often have a negative effect on your scoliosis pain, you’re not alone. Colder weather causes joints and muscles to stiffen, causing more pain.
A hot bath when the pain feels especially bad is a simple way to relax your body and loosen your rigid muscles. Or try a hot compress on your back and joints. Layer up when heading out to lessen the impact of cold wind. Readjusting your home/office thermostat can also have a significant impact on your pain during the winter months.
The average human spends about one-third of their life sleeping. The type of mattress you sleep on significantly impacts your back. Selection of the correct mattress type is even more critical for scoliosis patients.
How to know if your mattress is worsening your scoliosis-related back pain? A good gauge is observing how you feel in the morning. If you regularly wake up with stiffness in your back and sore muscles, your mattress might be the culprit.
Try a firmer mattress or a specially formulated orthopedic mattress. Some patients have had good results with sleeping on the floor as well. Discuss all options with your doctor, as they might be able to guide you on which mattress type will be best suited to your needs.
Scoliosis means your spine curvature is abnormal. Depending on this unique spine shape and bend, different groups of muscles will be affected in different patients. Each patient has different pressure points that can trigger pain. Identifying yours and avoiding over-exertion of these points can help reduce your pain.
While good posture is crucial for everyone; it’s even more pivotal for patients with a scoliosis diagnosis. The reasoning behind this is the pressure points we mentioned earlier. Your Scoliosis brace also helps straighten out your curve and improve your posture.
Poor posture can not only make the physical appearance of the patient look worst, but it can also cause the spinal curvature to progress. Resulting in more pain and exacerbating the condition.
Awareness of your posture is the first step toward bettering it. Practicing the proper posture can be as simple as frequently reminding yourself to sit and stand up taller. For those working at desk jobs, using an elevated desk can help decrease strain on your neck and shoulders.
3. Re-Examine Your Dietary Habits
The food we consume has an impact on every system of our bodies. Taking a proactive approach toward your diet should be focused on these two main goals:
Talk to your doctor about the type of foods that can agitate scoliosis pain and cause flare-ups. In most cases, excess sugar, processed foods, and meats are some foods to steer clear of.
Certain foods such as turmeric, cinnamon, and fenugreek add flavor and are great at fighting inflammation.
4. Prioritize Exercise
Exercising and stretching regularly can help increase the flexibility of your muscles and back. Make sure you are taking the time to work out a few times every week or do some simple stretches each morning when you wake up. Stretching can often be done with your scoliosis brace on. Talk to your doctor about exercise regime recommendations, as it's easy to overdo physical activity.
Make sure you recognize the difference between stiffness in your body and acute pain. In most cases, you can remedy stiffness by doing gentle stretches regularly and don’t need medication for it.
Exercising can also help you maintain an ideal BMI that can help you manage scoliosis pain.
5. Supplement the Right Way
Supplementing your diet with recommended amounts of minerals and vitamins can help maintain bone and spine health. It’s also crucial to take supplements as a preventive measure to avoid further scoliosis-related complications.
Discuss your supplement regime with your doctor, and never start medication without your doctor’s go-ahead. Here are some supplements that are usually prescribed for Scoliosis patients:
Start Managing Your Scoliosis Pain Today
Scoliosis pain doesn’t have to stop you living your best life. Managing scoliosis pain is easier when you have the right support system. Our experts at Align Clinic can help you manage your condition. Book an appointment today to learn how you can manage your pain to lead an active life.
Scoliosis affects a significant number of the population, with more than 4 million registered patients in the USA alone. While the condition affects children, young adults, and older generations, adults are more likely to require life-long care for the disorder.
The disorder presents itself in many different ways. Since Scoliosis affects the back, uneven muscles are usually the most prominent symptom. It could cause abnormal curvature of the back, lopsided shoulders, waist, or unaligned hips. Often, breathing issues and back pain are also reported by patients that suffer from the condition.
The condition may appear physical, but it also profoundly affects the psychological health of the patient. Young adults with a Scoliosis diagnosis are up to 40% more likely to suffer from mental health complications than their peers.
The condition can be treated in many ways to help better the back's curvature and manage pain. Bracing, physical therapy, surgical correction, and Schroth Therapy are some ways a patient’s back can be restored to a more normal position.
What is Schroth Therapy?
Katharina Schroth developed the Schroth method as a non-invasive treatment method for Scoliosis. As a patient of the condition, she noticed that the indent left in a rubber ball after air was pressed out of it resembled her deformed back. And when the air was again let in, the depression disappeared.
So, she started to experiment with different breathing methods. She noticed how filling her chest with air changed how her body looked and felt. Coupled with gentle exercises, the breathing techniques started to gradually have a more prominent effect on her physical appearance and pain levels.
The basic elements of Schroth Therapy are derived from that same principle of using air to fill out a cavity within the body to help better the curvature of the spine. The versions of Schroth therapy practiced today result from the dedicated research of three generations of the Schroth family.
What is Rotational Angular Breathing?
All muscles present in the back are connected to the bend of the spine. Any abnormality in this curvature could result in weakened back muscles on one side of the back. While the muscles on the other side get over-exerted and overworked. This uneven distribution of exertion leads to the symptoms associated with Scoliosis.
Rotational Angular Breathing, also known as corrective rotational breathing, aims to boost muscular symmetry in the patient’s back through guided breathing techniques.
These specially formulated exercises focus on the core and trunk as well as body positioning as a whole to establish corrected posture. During these exercise sessions, patients learn techniques for improving and maintaining their posture, ultimately strengthening their spinal musculature.
How Can Rotational Angular Breathing Help Scoliosis Patients?
The benefits of Rotational Angular Breathing within Schroth therapy extend to the psychological health of the patient, as well as pain management and improvement of the general quality of life. Here are some advantages of RAB and Schroth Therapy:
It’s crucial to understand that each patient’s scoliosis is just as unique as other aspects of their personality. The type and intensity of exercises performed during Schroth therapy will depend on the symptoms and the extremity of the Cobb angle the patient presents with.
Typically, sessions can last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. Exercise equipment such as poles, bands, or wall ladders is used. They aid the patient in finding the optimal angle to position themselves correctly.
Many low-impact exercises are performed under the guidance of a chiropractor, physical therapist, or Schroth therapy practitioner. Patients are assisted in standing, sitting, and lying down while simultaneously performing breathing exercises.
During the ‘inhalation’ part, your therapist will teach you to compress the back muscles on the bowed side of your spine while elongating the muscles on the opposite [concave] side. Exhalation or stabilization will help maintain this improved spinal positioning. Pay attention to how your body feels, your back in particular.
Recognizing and repeating this posture in daily activities is how RAB helps combat Scoliosis.
How to Maintain Schroth Therapy Exercises at Home?
Schroth Therapy will only be effective if the patient maintains core principles of posture and breathing during daily activities. Remember, your practitioner is like your teacher; the more you practice on your own, the sooner you can see improvement in your outward appearance and regain your confidence.
Improving spinal symmetry is as much mental work as it is physical. Learning optimal postures and methods of breathing for your unique condition can help you be more aware of your body and take control of Scoliosis.
Ask your practitioner for video recommendations you can watch and follow along at home. Put signs around your home in places you pass by frequently to remind you to work on your posture. With regular practice, better posture and breathing will slowly become second nature.
Ready to Overcome Scoliosis?
Scoliosis can be tricky to deal with, especially if you want non-surgical correction for your condition. Many elements, such as pain and spinal curvature, can affect the outcome of Schroth therapy for you.
One key element that’s within your control is selecting the right Schroth therapy practitioner and program for you. Our trained experts at Align Clinic will customize each exercise to better your chances of overcoming Scoliosis. Give us a call or book an appointment and take control of your health today.
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