What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a spinal condition in which the spine curves to the side, either in an ‘S’ or ‘C’ shape.Sideway spinal curves of more than 10 degrees by Cobb’s method of X-ray analysis

What causes it?

  • Exact cause of scoliosis is not always known
  • It may be caused by genetic factors or can occur due to medical conditions like muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy or osteoporosis
  • Scoliosis can also be of compensatory (e.g. leg length inequality, anatomical asymmetry) or postural nature (habitual, dominant handedness & muscular imbalance)

What symptoms might you experience?

  • Spinal deformity (e.g. uneven shoulders and waists)
  • Possibly leg length discrepancy and abnormal walking pattern as a result
  • Muscular imbalances due to the asymmetric spinal rotation and side bending
  • Musculoskeletal pain commonly low back pain

How is it treated?

Physiotherapy management

  • Ergonomic and sleeping posture advice
  • Therapeutic modalities such as SIS therapy, spinal traction and electrical stimulation treatment
  • Manual therapy as tolerated (therapist applies hands-on treatment to alleviate stiff joints and tight muscles where applicable)
  • Therapeutic exercises to optimize ribcage dynamics and address muscular imbalance via targeted stretching and strengthening
  • Dynamic/ proprioceptive taping (to improve posture & alleviate pain)
  • Bracing options may be recommended (especially in scoliosis with large curve i.e. Cobb’s angle of 20-40 degrees) to slow/stop curve progression

Surgical management

  • In scoliosis curve of more than 40-50 degrees, spinal surgery is usually recommended
  • Rehabilitation before and after surgery enhances post-op recovery

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