Scoliosis is defined as a medical condition where your spine has abnormal lateral (side to side) curvature, like an "s" or "c" curvature. The most common places for a scoliosis to occur are in the thoracic spine and lumbar spine. (upper, mid to low back).
Early adolescence between 11-14 yrs old, is an ideal time to screen for scoliosis. If severe a scoliosis can progress through to adulthood, which is why it's a good idea to be checked and managed accordingly. (See Figure 1 for symptoms of scoliosis)
Different types of scoliosis
There are different types of scoliosis. It is the job of your health care providers (GP and Osteopath) to determine what type you may have.
1. Structural (idiopathic) scoliosis:Usually has genetic roots and family history. It usually develops in early adolescence 11-14 yrs, with a higher incidence in females than males (10:1). A scoliosis can have major impact on health if left untreated and poorly managed. Severe abnormal spinal growth can affect development of the internal organs such as your lungs and heart. In this instance referral to a third party may be needed to see the severity of curvature.
2. Functional scoliosis: Can develop in adulthood usually due to muscular imbalances, repetitive activities and asymmetrical activities such as sports (tennis, cricket swing) or poor work posture. Usually this type of curvature is muscular imbalance related and may be treated and managed with appropriate Osteopathic intervention such as manual therapy and exercise rehabilitation.
3. Pathology related scoliosis: Can arise in people with neurological conditions such as muscular dystrophy or response to quadriplegia. These conditions arise from dysfunction in the brain and spinal cord.
Figure 1. Symptoms of scoliosis apart from pain.
How can Osteopathy help my scoliosis?
As Primary care practitioners we are usually the first to spot someone with a scoliosis! Upon your first consultation at Moreland Osteopathy, we take an elaborate medical history, do our necessary orthopedic examination and assessment to see the severity of your scoliosis. Any red flags will be ruled out during your history taking and questioning with the Osteopath. Your GP will work alongside your Osteopath in determining the outcome of your condition. If a severe Scoliosis is suspected you will be referred for further scans to determine the angle/ severity of the spine. This is called "Cobb's angle". If this angle is severe, monitoring by an orthopedic spine specialist will be needed in conjunction with Osteopathy. Surgery is usually considered a last option for people with severe scoliosis.
Osteopathy may assist your scoliosis through hands on manual therapy techniques, conservative management advise, also if needed, dry needling, cupping, exercise/ stretching prescription to strengthen your spine.
Some manual therapy techniques we use to assist in the management of a scoliosis patient are: Massage, trigger point release, articulation and manipulation of joints, muscle energy technique, inhibition and many more. We use these techniques in order to give your body a chance to take charge, and help itself. Some effects of Osteopathy are to increase blood flow to your injured site, therefore decreasing pain levels.
Every treatment is tailored to you so if you prefer or respond better to certain techniques then we will take that into account. We have excellent bedside manner and aim to make you feel comfortable at all times.