Scoliosis – Typical Signs and Recommended Treatment

16/07/2019

Scoliosis can appear at any age, but it most commonly occurs just prior to hitting puberty. It is a condition characterised by abnormal curvature of the spine, and the reason for this occurrence is not well understood. Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common form, but conditions including cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, birth defects and spina bifida have also been linked to the development of some categories of scoliosis.

Whilst it is normal for your spine to curve forward and backward, sideways curving is not normal and you will need to manage your condition carefully. In this blog post, Erko Physio share some information on idiopathic scoliosis and the range of treatment options available to you.

When Does Scoliosis Occur?

Idiopathic scoliosis mainly occurs during childhood or adolescence, but it can also occur later in life.  Scoliosis is classified according to the age of onset:

  • Infantile – infants less than 2 years old with a recognisable curvature of the spine. In some cases, many of the curves can resolve with age.
  • Juvenile Idiopathic – curvature developed between the ages of 2 and 10 years.
  • Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis – curvature developed during adolescence. More girls are affected by this condition than boys.
  • Degenerative Scoliosis (or Adult Onset Scoliosis) – curvature may occur later in life. Often the cause is unknown, but aging and natural spine degeneration may be contributing factors.

Signs of Scoliosis

It can be easy to miss the signs of scoliosis, particularly within children. The first signs are normally noticed by a paediatrician during a routine check-up, and they may recommend an official scoliosis diagnosis.

Curves normally appear around the thoracolumbar and thoracic region of the spine. Typical symptoms might include difficulty with deep breathing, soreness or tightness along the spine or hips/shoulders of differing height.

Diagnosis

Early diagnosis is important, as this will allow early intervention and limit the progression of the condition. Spine screening is recommended to take place between the age of 11-14, and here at Erko Physio we can carry out these examinations. We will take a close look at your spine as well as your pelvis, rib cage, shoulders, legs and feet to check for any abnormalities. If necessary, we will refer you for X-rays or an EOS scan to confirm the diagnosis and gain a better understanding of the severity of your condition.

Treatment

Spinal physiotherapy will be the best course of treatment except in severe cases, which may require surgery. Physio treatment is aimed at reducing the symptoms, and it may involve:

  • Relaxation of the muscles through soft tissue release
  • Tailored exercise program centred around pain management and joint mobilisation
  • Joint mobilisation and manipulation to relieve compressed/tight joints
  • Postural assessment

Your physiotherapist will develop a treatment program which caters specifically to your needs and the severity of your condition. It is also important to remain in close contact with other health professionals involved in the management of your condition. If the curvature of your spine is beyond what is acceptable, they may recommend a scoliosis brace be fitted to help straighten the spine.

Erko Physio – Your Partner in Condition Management

Scoliosis can be difficult to live with, but the good news is that your symptoms can be managed. In many cases our patients are able to return to their normal daily routine following appropriate treatment aimed at reducing inflammation and pain levels. We’ve been providing dependable physiotherapy services to Sydney’s inner west and east since 2009, and our team have a strong understanding of scoliosis based on practical experience and evidence-based research.

Schedule a session with Erko Physio today, we’ve got you covered.