What are the symptoms of scoliosis? What are the signs? Let’s take a look …
Scoliosis has many symptoms and signs, and the condition can present itself as either mild or acute. Depending upon the type (idiopathic, congenital or neuromuscular scoliosis) and severity (trunk rotation angle and extent of the spinal curvature) of the scoliosis, what a patient experiences can be very different indeed. Sometimes it can be quite debilitating, frustrating and embarrassing for sufferers.
Many times, though, there are no symptoms or signs (especially in teenagers and children) and a curve can go completely unnoticed. Many schools now screen for the early detection of scoliosis and spinal deformities, however.
The symptoms and signs of this spinal disease include but are not limited to the following:
• The inability to sit still or straight.
• A head that appears to be off-centre.
• A body that appears to lean more to one side.
• A leg that looks shorter than the other.
• A shoulder that seems higher than the other, or a shoulder blade that protrudes.
• A rib cage that seems higher on one side of the body.
• A waist that looks uneven.
• An aesthetic difference in the spine compared to others, i.e. it doesn’t look straight.
• Hips that seem to be misaligned, or one that is more prominent.
• Mild or acute pain due to overall misalignment.
• Dull muscular pains, shooting pains, bulging discs, slipped discs and aggravated spinal nerves.
• Lumbar scoliosis that sometimes causes lower back pain.
• Scoliosis pain related to twisted or malformed vertebrae.
• Impaired physical movement.
• Delayed nerve response.
• Urinary incontinence (inability to control the bladder).
• Bowel incontinence (inability to control the bowel).
• Erectile dysfunction (failure to achieve/maintain an erection).
• In severe cases, a heart and lungs that work in an impaired way (trouble breathing, etc.).
A few key considerations:
Contrary to popular belief, pain is not the most common scoliosis symptom, and there could be an underlying cause that needs to be treated. Never ignore these symptoms. During puberty, the body grows at its fastest. Therefore, a curvature of the spine can progress relatively quickly during this time. Significant curvature is much more common in girls; they are said to be 8 times more likely to have curves that progress to the point that they require urgent treatment.
Recognising the signs and symptoms of scoliosis is critically important and can make a huge difference in the outcome of a patient. Early detection enables treatment before the condition progresses and causes more problems. Never ignore scoliosis symptoms and signs.
Have you tried scoliosis exercises?
If you have an abnormal curvature of the spine, you might want to.
Scoliosis, a spinal disease that affects millions around the globe, can cause a variety of problems (health and otherwise), whether you have idiopathic scoliosis, congenital scoliosis or neuromuscular scoliosis. It is important to know exactly what your diagnosis is, so that you can treat it effectively.
Observation, bracing and surgery are the standard medical treatment options, but exercise can also be helpful – both as a corrective measure and a prevention method. Besides, exercising is an excellent way to keep the body and mind healthy in general.
Try these seven exercises for scoliosis.
Scoliosis Exercises: 7 Ways to Correct Spinal Curvature
This movement is designed to strengthen the lower back. It also increases overall core strength and, in turn, helps to restore the natural curvature of the spine. The superman places a great deal of stress on the lower spine, particularly the erector spinae. This exercise is ideal for correcting posture and preventing injuries caused by abrupt movements. It is recommended that one perform this movement sporadically throughout the day, especially those who sit for extended periods of time.
2. Sphinx Pose
More a stretch than an exercise, this common yoga move stretches and lengthens the spine, chest, lungs, shoulders, and abdomen. In severe cases, trouble breathing is a serious scoliosis symptom. The sphinx stretch can alleviate this difficulty. For best results, hold the stance for as long as possible, without discomfort. To add variety, place a pillow under your arms, or support your head with your hands. The sphinx is considered a beginner movement, making it one of the easier scoliosis exercises.
3. Tricep Raises
Most effective when performed with hand weights, this motion strengthens the shoulders. Tricep raises provide isolation and resistance, which help fight the symptoms of scoliosis. Isolated movements are beneficial for correcting body imbalances because they stimulate more muscle fibres. This exercise can be modified by choosing a weight based on strength levels. One can also perform the move with their arms in various positions, which allows for the stimulation of different muscles.
This is one of several scoliosis exercises that stimulates the entire body. Because it forces you to keep a straight back without bending or arching, the plank can restore posture and keep the spine aligned. It is a vital exercise for isometric training, as it promotes resistance. Planking targets the midsection and stabilises the muscles. It also increases flexibility. The plank forces one to hold their own body weight and is a more advanced exercise. Never hold the position beyond discomfort.
5. Advanced Reach
Advanced reaching challenges balance and alignment by having you lift an opposite arm and leg, forcing your core to hold your weight. This is also an exercise that promotes isolated movement. The advanced reach can be performed by positioning yourself on all fours, or on an exercise ball. Note that use of the Swiss ball does make the movement more challenging. One should do at least 10 repetitions daily for results. Be aware of your breathing when performing this spinal correction move.
Similar to the superman, the hyperextension does not allow you to use your arms for balance, deeming it a bit more trying. Its purpose is to build core muscles, particularly those in the back. Like the superman, though, hyperextension scoliosis exercises target the erector spinae. One can perform variations of this movement by using a bench or chair. If you choose to attempt one of the variations, it is recommended that you use a spotter until you are comfortable with the hyperextensions.
7. Cat and Dog Stretch
This stretch requires transition of the back from an arch where the abdomen is pulled upwards to an arch where it points downward towards the ground. Creating this rhythmic back movement promotes strength and flexibility, combating scoliosis spine curvature. While doing this movement, be careful not to let your spine slant in the wrong direction. Although this exercise is considered elementary and looks simple, mastering the correct breathing techniques is necessary for satisfactory results.
Reducing Scoliosis Symptoms
Depending on the patient’s case, performing the above scoliosis exercises daily can strengthen muscles and trick them into restoring their natural positions, correcting—at least to some extent—curvature of the spine. Note that exercise may not be suitable for every scoliosis patient, so always consult a medical professional before starting or committing to a new physical training program. It also helps to periodically switch shoulders when carrying a heavy bag or item.
Apart from exercising daily to correct (and prevent) scoliotic curves, it is also important to maintain a healthy diet. This includes getting in enough proteins, calcium and vitamin D, all of which affect bone development. Adequate nutrition, while not a cure, is an effective prevention method that comes highly recommended. With the right combination of scoliosis exercises and diet, and medical management where necessary, one can decrease their symptoms and chances of spinal surgery.