By Ehren Allen, DPT/Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist
What is Scoliosis?
The quick answer is Scoliosis is a bony abnormality of the spine. A normal spine should look straight when observed from front to back. With scoliosis, there is an abnormal sideways curve of the spine. These curves are often c shaped or S shaped. The most common form of this condition is idiopathic meaning there is no known cause of the abnormal curvature.
JOI physical therapists are certainly able to assist with the management of this condition. A usual problem is a muscle imbalance which forms at the curve of the spine. Due to the abnormal curvature of the spine, certain muscles will get tight and painful and others will become weak and stretched. Also, any level of change at the spine will typically cause an increased level of pain/spasm. Good results have been shown with the use of medical laser technology and massage therapy to alleviate this issue. Your therapist will be able to treat you clinically to restore balance to these muscle groups.
Typically idiopathic scoliosis occurs in children between the age of 10-12. Because of this, the school screening or sports physical is usually the first time the problem is brought to light. People of all ages can have scoliosis, but only about 2-3 % of Americans at the age of sixteen have scoliosis. Of that 2-3%, girls are more likely to have scoliosis versus boys. The type of scoliosis affecting this age group is idiopathic meaning without a cause. Some clues to suggest the presence of scoliosis include uneven shoulders, prominent shoulder blades, an uneven waist or leaning to one side. Your doctor will then do a careful bone exam and x-ray to evaluate the magnitude of the curve. The degree of the curve angle will determine the severity of the scoliosis. The severity classifications of the curve angle are minimal, moderate, or severe.
What Can Help with the Pain Associated with Scoliosis?
Physical therapy can help to alleviate the pain and restore muscle balance to area of the spine where the curve is most prominent. Therapy can target the areas of the back that need treatment. Your therapist will utilize strengthening, mobilization, manual therapy, and postural re-education to achieve a positive outcome.
The use of modalities of electrical stimulation, laser, Graston and medical massage may help to alleviate the pain associated with muscle spasm due to this condition.
The first step is to have an evaluation by a physician who treats this condition. In most cases a conservative plan is effective, however in more severe cases, surgical intervention may be needed.
- To schedule an appointment for physical or occupational therapy, call 904-858-7045 or visit 12 area JOI Rehab Centers.
JOI Fracture and Injury Care
JOI Physicians are currently offering ASAP Fracture care. Make an appointment by calling (904)JOI-2000. This is a new option for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room if they have suffered a fracture or soft tissue injury.