When the spine is viewed from the back, ideally a straight vertical line is seen . However, there are times when minor deviations are present such as when someone has Scoliosis.
What is Scoliosis
Scoliosis,( crooked or curved back )is characterized by an abnormal (sideways) curvature of the spine(like the shape of a C or S) accompanied by the shifting of the vertebrae. The spinous process of the vertebrae turn toward the dip or hollow of the abnormal curvature. When a person with this condition is bending over, the ribs tend to stick out on the outer side of the increased curvature.
Scoliosis is the most common deformity of the vertebral column seen in girls that are in their puberty. Below are a few types of scoliosis and there causes:
1. Hypothec Scoliosis: When there is an uneven or disproportional weakness of the intrinsic back muscles.
2. Hemivertebra Scoliosis: Failure of half of a vertebra to develop and a difference in the length of the lower limbs.
3. Habit scoliosis: Believed to be the result of a habitual standing or sitting in an incorrect position.
In the case of hemi-vertebra, if the length of the lower limbs are not equal, a pelvic tilt will occur to compensate for this difference, which may lead to a functional static scoliosis.
When a person is standing, an obvious inclination or tendency to lean to one side may be a sign of scoliosis that is caused by a herniated IV disc. When the scoliosis is entirely postural related however, it’s no longer obvious or usually disappears when the vertebral column is flexed to the maximum.
On occasion, some individual may have a combination of Kyphosis (hunch back) and scoliosis, a condition ( referred to as Kyphoscoliosis), in which an unusual diameter of both the front and back of the thorax produces, a severe restriction of the thorax and lung expansion(Swartz, 1994).
Treating Scoliosis in Young Adults
In young individuals with scoliosis(an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine) bracing is usually the chief non-operative therapy. However, for older adults, most of the times they have to undergo surgery to have internal devices such as Harrington rods implanted, since bracing is rarely effective for them.
Scoliotic Back Pain
Scoliotic condition usually doesn’t cause back pain. However, like any other normal individuals people with scoliosis may experience non-specific back pain.
If and when the pain a scoliosis patient is experiencing is due to their abnormal curvature, according to one (Winter ), because the spine is curved, the load placed on it will be unevenly distributed and highly concentrated in the concavity of the curve. When discs and joints are loaded unevenly, they tend to degenerate unevenly, and at a much faster rate than they would normally. In these cases, scoliotic patients who have been experiencing back pain in the (mid-back) or (lower back), this is usually due to the abnormal spinal curvature which is causing an uneven loading of discs and joints.
The Use of Exercise
The use of exercise for lower back pain in scolosis patients is somewhat questionable, because either device — the external bracing or internal fixation — would limit ROM and general mobility if exercise were to use in an attempt to relieve pain.
For the same above reasons, therapeutic exercise alone may not be very effective in straightening the spine or correcting scoliosis curves. Moreover, inappropriate exercise prescription can worsen a scoliotic condition. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that exercise leaders obtain advice from a physical therapist, an orthopedic surgeon, a chiropractor or other appropriate medical personnel prior to giving or prescribing exercises in an attempt to straighten or correct a scoliotic curve.(Hurley & Frank, 1989)
P.S. The Neo G Kids Dorsolumbar Support below has been specifically designed for the younger wearer to assist with the recovery of muscular sprains and strains and associated inflammation or spasm by distributing pressure evenly through the spine. It’s believed that it may also helps with mild scoliosis and kyphosis by encouraging correct alignment of the dorsal and lumbar spine.
Article Sources: Winter Dr. National Scolosis Foundation; Moore & Dalley, Clinical Oriental Anatomy;
Hurley & Frank, 1989. Health Fitness Instructor’s Handbook.