The spine is referred to as S-shaped due to the three gentle curves as seen in the diagram. This is to balance the head over the body’s centre of gravity and thereby provide stability. Proper alignment is essential for a healthy spine. If the alignment is poor, movement may be restricted or over-exaggerated at a particular level with eventual painful degeneration occurring over the areas of increased pressure. Basically, your spine is very similar to the alignment of a car. Prolonged poor wheel alignment will cause more serious wear to your tyres. The sooner it is corrected the better. When looking at someone’s back, it should appear straight as seen in the diagram. However, when there are curves in a sideways direction it is known as scoliosis. This is more evident when viewed on an X-ray. The main types of Scoliosis are postural and structural.
With this form of scoliosis there is no physical deformity of the spine. For some reason or another, the individual is holding that particular position though it can be rectified by simple means such as sitting upright, or correcting a leg length discrepancy.
Structural Scoliosis involves more permanent changes to the vertebrae (segmental bones of the spine) such as disease affecting nerves, bones, muscles or ligaments. Prolonged poor posture can lead to structural changes in and around the spine which cannot be corrected.
Can anything be done to prevent scoliosis?
Yes. It is very important to monitor children’s postures when they are growing, with the most critical period being between 8 and 15 years of age during their growth spurts. It is a good time to have them assessed to see if any abnormality is present and therefore can be controlled if detected early enough.
WHAT CAN PHYSIOTHERAPY DO FOR YOU?
Physiotherapy can be helpful for both of these main types of scoliosis. Firstly, the physiotherapists at Central City Physiotherapy can perform a complete postural assessment on you or your child to establish where problems may lie. Then your physiotherapist can give you a variety of exercises and/or other treatments specific to your condition can be implemented to minimize or correct the Scoliosis. Some techniques include joint mobilisation and strapping to assist in obtaining more control of your posture. They will also provide advice on the best posture and correct techniques for activities of daily life. Your physiotherapist will also be able to refer you to the appropriate medical specialist if appropriate.