Many of us have heard of scoliosis, and are aware we have the condition, but likely don’t know exactly what it is, if it needs to be treated, or if the condition is worsening. Hopefully I can answers some questions or concerns for you.
What is Scoliosis ?
Scoliosis by definition is an abnormal curvature of the spine, often observed as an “s shaped curve." We often think of scoliosis as a condition which begins in childhood, and remains stable for the remainder of ones life. We now know that scoliosis is actually a condition which can progress or worsen over time, dependent on factors such as our lifestyle and daily activities. There is also adult onset scoliosis which can begin at any time (after adolescence), and often occurs secondary to other conditions such as degenerative disc disease.
How is Scoliosis diagnosed ?
Scoliosis is usually confirmed through a physical examination, an x-ray, spinal radiograph, CT scan or MRI. The curve is measured by the Cobb Method and is diagnosed in terms of severity by the number of degrees. A positive diagnosis of scoliosis is made based on a coronal curvature measured on a posterior-anterior radiograph of greater than 10 degrees. In general, a curve is considered significant if it is greater than 25 to 30 degrees.
What causes pain in scoliosis?
Pain resulting from scoliosis can come from a variety of structures such as trunk muscles or soft tissue, spinal vertebrae or facet joints, spinal disc, and nerve root compression or inflammation. Many of my patients who suffer from low back pain, also have concomitant scoliosis creating imbalances in the the spinal soft tissues & hips contributing to their symptoms.
When should I get treatment for my scoliosis?
If your curve is greater than 20 degrees, your doctor will likely prescribe bracing and physical therapy treatment. If you have not had a formal diagnosis or referral, but have back pain you could benefit from pilates to address your symptoms.
How does physical therapy or pilates help my Scoliosis ?
Pilates therapeutic exercises using both the equipment and mat based exercises can improve your scoliosis condition by assisting with the following :
1. Decreasing pain , tightness , and muscle spasm
2. Correcting & improving posture
3. Improving Core control & spine stability
4. Reducing trunk muscle asymmetry & imbalances
If you have any questions or concerns about your scoliosis, please feel free to reach out to us for help!
Here I am performing a few basic spine stabilization exercises beneficial for scoliosis: