• Karla Langheinrich, MSPT

SCOLIOSIS: THE YES/NO’s



Scoliosis, as we are familiar with, is an abnormal side to side curve of the spine.

The spine normally curves at the top of the shoulders and at the bottom in the lower

back. Idiopathic scoliosis is the most commonly seen in young adolescents, usually a

congenital condition made worse by certain activities/sports, posture and core

weakness. So as a parent, you are told by your child’s pediatrician that he/she has a 20

degree curvature of the spine after having an x-ray... What do you do??? Well, I am

currently treating a very sweet girl with a >40 degree curve and her parents are trying to

avoid surgery. Here are some of the Do’s and Don'ts when it comes to scoliosis.


NO’s:


● Do not wait to seek intervention. Early intervention may be the key to

slowing the progression of the spinal curve, especially in young

adolescents who are still growing.

● What do most teenagers do? They TEXT, TEXT, TEXT and TEXT! You

would think that this should not affect scoliosis, but in reality the posture

associated with texting, forward bending head position can trigger the

progression because it puts pressure on the spine and encourages poor

posture.

● Sports that require repetitive thoracic extension play a part in the

progression of the curve. For example competitive swimming, ballet and

gymnastics will cause the thoracic spine to flatten, High impact sports

and those that cause spinal compression, such as football, long distance

running and horseback riding are definitely detrimental.


So now that I have mentioned some of the Don’t Do’s... Are there any Can Do’s?


YES:


● Most important one is do not wait! Early intervention regardless of degree

of curvature should be at the top of the list.

● Stretching will help with discomfort and maintain good posture.

  1. Hanging from a long bar for long periods of time.

  2. Bending in the direction of the curve.

  3. Prolonged chest stretch in a doorway.

● Core Strengthening exercises are very important to support the spine and

improve posture.

● Muscle retraining techniques are very successful in treating scoliosis and

delaying the progression of the curve.


To be continued.... Schroth Method for treating scoliosis by:


● Restoring muscular symmetry and alignment of posture

● Breathing into the concave side of the body

● Teaching you to be aware of your posture

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