Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with scoliosis? Are you looking for a non-invasive treatment plan that does not require surgery or a back brace? Well we’ve got great news for you – Physical Therapy offers patients with scoliosis many options & a strong track record of helping patients to reduce their pain and discomfort along with reducing the curvature of the spine.
What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a sideways and rotational curvature of the spine. Scoliosis can affect people of all ages but most commonly first presents itself in children and adolescents. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone – it’s estimated that over three million people have scoliosis. Common symptoms include: a curved spine, leaning to one side, a protruding rib and/or difficulty sitting or standing. Scoliosis can lead to breathing problems, back pain, low self esteem and limited endurance with walking & other activities.
Did You Know That There Are Actually 2 Types Of Scoliosis?
It’s true! There are indeed two types of scoliosis – Inherited and Acquired.
Inherited scoliosis comes from your genetic makeup and there’s even a saliva test that can confirm a diagnosis based upon this genetic makeup, cool right? Inherited scoliosis is often diagnosed as a young child or teen. The goal with inherited scoliosis is to keep the curve less than 30 degrees to avoid breathing problems or problems with other organ function. Physicians may recommend all sorts of bracing, physical therapy or even surgery. The good news – we have lots of success helping these individuals reduce their curve and avoid surgeries.
Acquired scoliosis develops over time and is often the result of posture and other imbalances. Acquired scoliosis is often diagnosed in adulthood and since it’s not due to how the bones have formed, it’s often the connective tissues and muscles that are too tight and too weak in different locations that are the main drivers of this (our body is literally ‘stuck’ in a twisted position). We have lots of success helping these people too!
Watch the following video as Dr Sarah further explains the two different types of scoliosis.
6 Ways Physical Therapy Can Help With Scoliosis Pain
Physical therapy is one of the best treatment options for scoliosis because it can help:
- Decrease both the side-to-side and the rotational curvatures of the spine (and address the rib rotation & rib/pelvic shifting that goes along with this too)
- Stop the progression of and/or reduce the curvature of the spine
- Reduce or eliminate the need for wearing a back brace
- Improve breathing and reduce compression of spine/rib cage that could otherwise affect organ function
- Decrease pain and stress on the back, hips, neck & shoulders & reduce headaches too from these imbalances
- Improve posture, comfort and ability to perform & enjoy activities & exercise
The Advantages of Physical Therapy for Scoliosis
- Physical Therapy is non-invasive.
Non-invasive forms of treatment are always preferred over invasive treatments like surgery or back braces. Hands-on treatments can gently loosen and relax connective tissues/fascia and ligaments surrounding the spine. Our physical therapists are highly trained in the John Barnes Myofascial Release technique which offers a more targeted approach to loosen this fascia. We’ve had a lot of success incorporating this specific style of hands-on work to help our scoliosis patients reduce their curvature and relieve pain. Read more information on John Barnes Myofascial Release by clicking HERE. In summary: non-invasive physical therapy offers patients an option for a pain-free, medication-free, and a worry-free treatment plan designed to ease your scoliosis back pain. The caveat: Not all physical therapists are specifically trained in how to successfully help patients with scoliosis; try to be sure you’re working with a specialist and someone that has had a lot of experience and success with scoliosis if possible.
- Physical Therapy is usually less expensive
Sessions with a specialized physical therapist will cost less than surgery, medication and the rehab that will follow. Not to mention how much time off of life is required to heal and recover from surgery. With starting physical therapy for scoliosis, most PTs will tell you that you should start to feel relief within the first handful of sessions if not immediately (so it’s usually quicker too!)
- Physical Therapy is effective in treating scoliosis
Physical Therapy is the most common type of treatment for scoliosis and its effectiveness has been proven time and again via the research. Know that if you choose to pursue physical therapy for relief from your symptoms, you’re making a great decision! Specialized physical therapists such as those at our clinic are experts in treating the back and spine and will design a custom treatment plan to meet your needs and your health goals.
How Physical Therapy Can Treat Scoliosis
Physical Therapy will help treat scoliosis by using exercises and specialized manual therapies (hands-on work) to help:
- Highly specialized Myofascial Release (preferably the John Barnes Method) – Learn more HERE
- Strengthen and Stretch the muscles of the back & core
Working with a back & scoliosis specialist at Balance Within Physical Therapy, you will learn back exercises designed to work your back muscles and your entire core (hips/glutes, back, abdominals, pelvic floor & shoulders as these all greatly affect your spine). Strong core muscles are key to supporting the spine and aiding in everyday movement. Your back, pelvis, core and spine are the foundation of your body. They work hard each day to balance and stabilize your body while helping to lift, twist, bend and stretch your body throughout the day. Regularly stretching the muscles & connective tissues that attach to and pull on your spine helps to things just loose enough and will also help to restore normal motion & alignment.
- Correct Posture and Body Mechanics
Poor posture will often make your scoliosis pain worse (aka relaxing into the curve as gravity then just takes us further and further, allowing the curve to progress). Poor posture or body mechanics can occur throughout the day and night while sitting, standing and even sleeping. Our physical therapists will work with you to help you learn to correct your body posture (and most importantly – help loosen things up & strengthen you to the point to where good posture actually feels really good for your body!) Our therapists will look for ways to improve the way you sit, stand and lay down to sleep. These are all important keys to a healthy spine & to reducing that curve.
- The Goal of Physical Therapy for Scoliosis
Our goal is always to also improve physical movement, stability, strength and flexibility while also getting rid of back pain and discomfort so you can feel your best & enjoy life. Your spine is a complex system made up of bones, discs, muscles, connective tissue and ligaments; but it’s more than just that! Your spine has a whole body attached to it and your hips, pelvis, shoulders & the rest of your body also affect how your spine is aligned. Truly evaluating and treating your body as a whole and integrating highly specialized hands-on therapies is often a game changer for tricky scoliosis cases (which we love to help!) Our physical therapists will work with your unique spine to create stability and movement while working toward decreasing your aches and pains.
Curious to learn more about Specialized Physical Therapy for Scoliosis?
Wanting to pick our brains about whether we could help?
At Balance Within Physical Therapy located in downtown Delafield, we would like to invite you to a free consultation to find out more about your back pain and scoliosis pain relief options so you can decide for yourself whether physical therapy would be right for you.
Contact our team on 262-264-8701 or click here to request a free discovery consultation, where you can speak to a member of our team, and ask any questions that you have.
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