A spine disease causing abnormal curvature to the spine, scoliosis is mostly an idiopathic disease (a disease of unknown origin) but may occur due to neuromuscular or congenital disorders. Mild to moderate scoliosis is generally asymptotic, remaining undetected until a physician discovers curvature during an examination. Curvature severity varies, with visible curvatures mostly involving the left lower back to the right upper back. Noticeable signs of scoliosis include:
- One hip or shoulder may be higher than the other
- Left or right rib cage is higher than the other
- Tilting of the body to one side
- One leg is shorter than the other
- Ribs protrude when the person bends fully forward
Muscles Involved in Scoliosis
Although the spine is solely affected by scoliosis, surrounding muscles and tendons also experience dysfunction because of their attachment and mechanical connection to the spine. Back muscles weakened because of an atypical curved spine are the external and internal obliques, the rectus abdominus and the transversus abdominus. Treatment for scoliosis depends on how badly the spine is curved or if the condition continues to worsen. Wearing a back brace is the standard treatment, with a few advanced cases requiring surgery. However, maintaining muscle strength and undergoing chiropractic treatment is important for preventing scoliosis from progressing.
Stretching Exercise for Scoliosis
To strengthen back muscles affected by scoliosis, begin this exercise by standing with your back against the wall to prevent inadvertently bending backward or forward. Lift your right arm and point to the ceiling while using your right hand to reach towards the floor. Individuals with scoliosis will experience a shifting sensation in the alignment of their spine during this exercise. Hold this stretching position for five seconds before relaxing and repeating. This type of stretching primarily targets the obliques but also works the abdominus to some degree as well.
Leg and Arm Extensions
This exercise for scoliosis uses a stability ball to strengthen back muscles and develop better posture. Sit on the ball and make sure hips are centered to provide secure support for your body weight. With your right fingertips and left toes, touch the floor for extra balance. Now, extend your left arm until it is level with your head. Simultaneously, elevate your right leg until it is level with your butt. Hold this position for a maximum of five second before lowering your arms and legs. Repeat the exercise for a total of ten reps before switching limbs and directions.
Cat Stretch and Lumbar Rotation
To perform a cat stretch, get on your hands and knee and arch your back a few inches upward. After holding that pose for several seconds, arch your back downwards and hold. Repeat this cat stretch up to 20 times. Begin a lumbar rotation by folding your arms across your chest and rotating your body using your lower back muscles. At first, twist gently until back muscles have been stretched, and then try increasing the amount of rotation you do.
How Chiropractic Techniques Help Manage Scoliosis Symptoms
Active Release Technique
Mild to moderate scoliosis responds very well to several chiropractic treatments such as Active Release Therapy (ART) and adjustments. Your Geaux chiropractor will improve flexibility, enhance spine joint motion and decrease spine joint stress where curvature alters the natural shape of your spine.
ART is a type of specialized massage therapy utilizing a hand-held tool that your chiropractor applies to certain areas of your spine. By gently but firmly manipulating soft tissues and directing pressure to these tissues, your chiropractor breaks up adhesions and scar tissue that develop over time due to scoliosis. Adhesions are tough, fibrous areas of tissue that cause pain and weakness, inhibit blood flow and restrict normal range of motion. They emerge due to trauma, overuse and constant tension/pressure applied to soft tissues over time. In addition to scoliosis, poor posture is another reason why scar tissue may develop within soft tissues composing the spine.
Adjustments restore proper positioning of spinal vertebrae to optimize nervous system functioning and prevent nerve compression. If you have mild to moderate scoliosis, undergoing regular chiropractic adjustments help reduce pain, decrease your risk of suffering complications of scoliosis, maintain spine health and possibly slow progression of scoliosis.
While no cure for scoliosis exists, both adults and children are discovering that chiropractic treatment is an effective, painless method for managing symptoms with drugs or surgery. Call Geaux Chiro today to schedule an appointment today.