Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine to the side that also
includes rotation, as defined by the Scoliosis Research Society
(SRS). This abnormal spine curvature can affect a person's
overall torso alignment and posture. While scoliosis can be
discovered at any age, it is most prominent in adolescence and more
common in women than men. Scoliosis can range from mild to
severe. The severity of the condition coupled with the patient's
age and type of scoliosis and the guidelines established by the SRS
will dictate the type of treatment that is used.
Types of Scoliosis
Scoliosis can be broken down into five main types:
Scoliosis - This is the most common form of scoliosis.
Idiopathic means there is no specific identified cause, though
there are many theories and strong evidence supporting heredity
being a factor. Additionally, in this subset is Adolescent
Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) which presents in children from 10-18
Scoliosis - This form of scoliosis is caused by a bone
abnormality during a baby's development in the womb.
Scoliosis - Caused by a medical condition of the nervous
system where muscles around the spine are weakened, neuromuscular
scoliosis is frequently seen in people with cerebral palsy, spina
bifida or muscular dystrophy.
Scoliosis- Characterized by the deterioration of the spine,
degenerative scoliosis can be the result of a traumatic bone
collapse, major back surgery or osteoporosis.
Scoliosis- Early onset scoliosis can be divided into two
categories, infantile (diagnosed birth to three) and juvenile
(diagnosed 3+ to 10 years).
Symptoms & Diagnosis
Scoliosis isn't characterized by pain, but in some cases pain
can be caused by the spine's abnormalities effecting or irritating
surrounding joints and muscles. Additionally, people with
scoliosis could notice uneven shoulder or hip height, an uneven
waistline or a general sense of imbalance between the two sides of
the body. A majority of scoliosis cases are detected during a
physical exam or school screening. An x-ray will officially
diagnose scoliosis and determine the severity based upon the angle
of curvature called a Cobb angle. The Cobb angle must be 10°
or higher to be considered scoliosis.
How a Physical Therapist Can Help
Although there are a variety of treatment options including
bracing and surgery, we're going to discuss the benefit of physical
therapy to a patient with scoliosis. It is important to
remember that depending on the severity of the condition, each
patient will receive a specialized plan of care so that they can
achieve optimum results. Your physical therapy may consist of
the following treatments: range-of-motion exercises, strength
training, manual therapy, modalities (e.g. heat, ice, electrical
stimulation), functional training and/or education. For more
detailed information on how a physical therapist can help you,
visit the PHOENIX location nearest you.
Sources: apta.org, webmd.com