With an estimated 6 million Americans being affected by scoliosis, it is a condition that affects the physical and emotional lives of many individuals.
Scoliosis can affect infants, adolescents and adults alike; however females are more likely to suffer from a scoliotic curve that requires treatment.
The vast majority of these curves are classified as idiopathic or of an unknown cause People with scoliosis can suffer from pain in their neck, mid back and lumbar spine depending on where their curves are and their severity. Oftentimes the condition will present with one shoulder or hip being notably higher than the other side.
Those with the scoliosis can suffer from weakness and experience decreased tolerance of both recreational activities and everyday household tasks, particularly those that involve bending and lifting movements. Scoliosis can also affect breathing upon exertion or even at rest. This depends on the severity of the curve and its presence in the mid back where rib mobility may be affected.
Adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis and curves with increased angles are almost always prescribed back braces meant to help slow the progression of the curve. Adolescents with smaller scoliotic curves often develop pain later on during their adult life as a result of compensating and being unaware of the segments of immobility in their hips, pelvis, spine, shoulders and neck throughout the years.
Manual Physical Therapists take a comprehensive orthopedic approach to treatment, taking into account all of the areas stated above. An integral aspect of this approach is the functional techniques utilized to assist the patient with joint and soft tissue dysfunctions, along with deficient neuromuscular strength and endurance. For example, with low back pain and decreased spine mobility caused by scoliosis, soft tissue and joint mobilizations to the ribs and sacroiliac joints can improve mobility of the lumbar spine and thereby improve painful symptoms as well.
Manual Physical Therapists not only work to work to assist the patient in understanding where their pain is coming from, but also what the contributing factors behind their specific pain presentation may be. In addition to providing postural recommendations for sitting, standing, and sleeping, your therapist will also provide self-management strategies designed to facilitate the overall rehabilitation process. Also included in this education is body mechanic training so that the patient may learn how faulty mechanics contribute significantly to their symptoms and how safe mechanics make you inherently stronger and ultimately experience less discomfort.
People suffering from scoliosis who seek manual physical therapy will receive safe and appropriate flexibility and strengthening exercises to improve their tolerance of everyday and recreational activities so they can return to a healthy physical lifestyle again!