Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Posture 203: Scoliosis

Scoliosis is medical term for a curve in the spine (usually in a S or C shape).  Sometimes this is minimal and other times it is highly noticeable.  

How do I know if I have it?  In grade school or at the doctor's office they typically do the Adams forward bend test to check for a healthy spine.  Gait or postural analysis may be done also.  They are checking to see if your shoulders and hips are in alignment.  With scoliosis usually one is higher than the other.  If you take your pants to be hemmed and one side has a leg length difference this can also be an indicator.  Most people experience back problems or fatigue throughout the day causing an x-ray or MIR to be done.  Pregnancy may also make the curve worse. 

Everyone has some type of muscle imbalance.  Scoliosis makes this more noticeable.  Gravity is constantly decompressing the spine.  Make sure to do some activity such as ballet, yoga, Pilates or recreational sports to balance the body.   

Healthy spine                w/Scoliosis
Types of scoliosis:

  • Idiopathic (65%): may be genetic, mostly found in females or young girls, worse during growth spurts 
  • Congenital (15%): occurs in the womb and birth when the baby's ribs or spinal bones don't form properly
  • Neuromuscular (10%): brought on by nervous system problems such as Polio, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida or cerebral palsy
Learning how to stabilize well will teach your client what good posture should feel like.  This means trying to stay symmetrical while standing, seated and lying down.  Other good things to work on would be lateral flexion, rotation and flexion (as long as there isn't a rod or fusion of the spine).  Stretch and strengthen the weaker side to improve their quality of living.

Read Curves, Twists and Bends to learn more about scoliosis and helpful exercises to correct muscle imbalances.

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