Scoliosis and Back Pain

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What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is an abnormality of the spine, in which the spine can curve either sideways or twist forming what appears to look like a letter ‘S’ or a letter ‘C’. Each case is determined as to how severe it is by measuring the degree of the curve. You may be suffering from scoliosis if one side of the rib cage is pushed outward and the other side is compressed, or there if there is a hump on the back, or the back appears swayed. Scoliosis affects approximately 3% of the population. Girls are diagnosed four times as often as boys and there is evidence that the condition is hereditary. The cause remains unknown and poor posture is not a cause, but rather an effect of the problem. Some medical conditions such as cerebral palsy, polio and muscular dystrophy have shown to cause scoliosis.

Early diagnosis is important to keep the condition from getting worse and children should be screened for scoliosis before and during the onset of puberty.


Relieving Back Pain Associated with Scoliosis

All adults, whether they have scoliosis or not, can have low back pain and children with scoliosis can complain of lower back pain. A scoliosis patient can improve the pain by exercising and keeping the back strong and healthy. As we age and grow older, we are all bound to experience lower back pain and eventually, we can experience disc degeneration. Additionally, various joints of the body tend to wear out with age. When these conditions occur, bone rubs against bone, which causes pain-but the pain may be due to disc degeneration or wear and tear arthritis, so determining whether the lower back pain is due to a scoliosis condition is sometimes difficult for physicians to determine.

There is much that has been learned about scoliosis in the past decade and with early detection there are many options to relieve the back pain associated with the disease. Developing and maintaining an exercise program is one of the best ways to alleviate pain and will also help to keep the muscles that surround the spine strong.

Exercising the torso region to build muscle strength is also important because it helps prevent what is commonly referred to as “throwing your back out”. Strengthening the muscles by exercising daily is especially important for people wearing a brace because toned muscles will help make the transition period after the brace is removed much easier. Studies have shown that people with scoliosis who exercised regularly had better flexibility and less spinal twisting and curvature over time than those who did not include a daily exercise program in their life. Exercise also helps with breathing which also affects the resilience of the spine.

Scoliosis, although a common and sometimes painful condition, does not have to ruin your quality of life. Educate yourself, talk to your physician, exercise regularly, and take the proper precautions so that, by supporting your back, your back can support you for years to come.

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