Scoliosis has great impact on the lifestyle. Constant pain, lack of ability to do certain activities may cause emotional and physical stress. Even after extensive research in the area, it is difficult predicting curve progression. Thoracic curves generally progresses rapidly than lumbar. Surgery cannot reverse the curve in spines. Wearing braces reduces pace of curve progression. Exercise may place better role in treatment of scoliosis. Answer to the question – can you live with scoliosis, is Yes. An estimated six to nine million people in the United States live with scoliosis. There are many organizations and collaborative efforts towards addressing this problem. The Scoliosis Research Society, an international agency has gained recognition as one of the world’s premier spine societies committed to research in the area. Good counseling helps in dealing with this problem emotionally.
More about Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a condition that causes a sideways curvature of the spine. Although it can affect people of any age, it is mostly seen in children between the age of 10 and 15. Almost 5 percent of school going kids are affected with scoliosis and this condition is believed to be the number one spinal disorder occurring among children and adolescents. Scoliosis can affect any part of the spine, but the most common regions are the lower section of the back (lumbar scoliosis) and the chest area (thoracic scoliosis).
In majority of the cases, scoliosis do not require any treatment, because the curve usually corrects itself as the child grows. But depending on the age of the child and the degree of curvature, a combination of bracing and physical therapy may sometimes be required.
Every individual’s spine has a natural curve. As mentioned above, scoliosis is a condition that causes the spine to curve toward the side. Although in most cases, the reasons for the sideways curvature are not known (idiopathic scoliosis), factors such muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida are responsible for the development of scoliosis in certain cases. Idiopathic scoliosis has a tendency to run in families but the specific genes responsible for the condition have not all been identified yet. Some people believe that sleeping on the side, taking part in vigorous sports activities or carrying heavy school bags may cause scoliosis. However, that is not the case.
While most cases of scoliosis are mild, there are cases where the spine deformities continue to get more severe as the child grows, leading to disabilities. Sometimes the spinal curve can become so severe that it decreases the amount of space inside the chest, thus affecting the proper functioning of the lungs. Scoliosis is seen more in girls than boys. Diagnosis of this condition is done by physical exam and using imaging techniques such as CT scans, X-rays or MRIs. Scoliosis cannot be cured but the symptoms can be reduced.
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Types of Scoliosis
Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of scoliosis and it is divided into the following three types depending on the age at which the deformity is formed:
- Infantile Scoliosis – Develop in children of age 3 and younger.
- Juvenile Scoliosis – Develop in children of age 4 through 10.
- Adolescent Scoliosis – Develop in children of age 11 through 18.
The other types of scoliosis include:
- Functional Scoliosis – The spine is normal, but an abnormal curve is formed due to a problem in some other part of the body.
- Neuromuscular Scoliosis – This type of scoliosis is formed when there is a problem during the formation of the bones of the spine. In this case, the bones of the spine may fail to form properly or they may not separate from each other during the development of the fetus. If the curve is present at birth, it is called congenital scoliosis.
- Degenerative Scoliosis – This type of scoliosis occurs in older adults and is caused by changes in the spine caused by arthritis known as spondylosis and conditions like osteoporosis, disc degeneration, etc.
- Left curve scoliosis – An area of research suggest that there is association of left curve scoliosis with intrinsic pathological condition. However researches are not conclusive.
Symptoms of Scoliosis
An abnormal curve of the spine is the most common symptom of scoliosis. The other signs and symptoms include:
- Head appears off center and leaning to one side
- Asymmetrical rib cage due to which the ribs appear at different heights.
- One hip or shoulder appears higher than the other side.
- Clothes don’t fit properly
- Legs have uneven lengths
- Severe cases of scoliosis may affect the proper functioning of the heart and lungs, leading to chest pain and shortness of breath
- Certain types of scoliosis may cause back pain, neck pain, rib pain, abdominal pain and muscle spasms. Thoracic scoliosis pain is one common symptom.
Scoliosis natural treatment
Studies indicate that certain exercises along with lifestyle changes and, a proper and well balanced diet can help treat scoliosis. For mild cases of scoliosis, there are several natural remedies that can help prevent the progression of the condition. Check out some of the scoliosis alternative treatment options:
In addition to the above mentioned herbal remedies for scoliosis, there are a few other natural ways to treat this condition such as:
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Acupuncture is considered to be an effective treatment for scoliosis because of its ability to release the stagnant vital energy or qi in your body. By releasing your vital energy it begins to flow freely once again, causing your muscles to relax and regain their original shape. For stimulating vital energy more effectively and for correcting scoliosis, electrical current is sometimes be passed through the acupuncture needles. This process causes the effects of acupuncture to go deeper into the body, thus promoting deeper healing and long lasting results.
Chiropractic has the ability to correct spinal curvature and hence is considered to be very effective in treating scoliosis. The technique works by adjusting the spine to release subluxations, which helps alleviate nerve pressure and regain the proper functioning of the muscles. This in turn helps in reducing the symptoms of scoliosis significantly. The Pettibon technique and chiropractic biophysics (CBP) are the two most commonly recommended chiropractic methods for treating scoliosis.
Aromatherapy for scoliosis involves massaging the spine and the surrounding tense muscles with essential oils such as lavender, rosemary, marjoram and clary sage oils. Massaging with these oils can relieve muscle tension and contribute to the recovery of the curvature in the spine.
Scoliosis correction exercises
Spinal curvature due to scoliosis can cause pain and debilitation to the patient. Nevertheless it is important to do regular exercise so that it helps strengthen your body, especially the back and spine. Exercise not only improves your overall health but also makes your body more receptive to the various treatment and therapy that helps straighten your spine.
Yoga for scoliosis
Yoga is helpful strengthen back and leg muscles and helps reduce stress on spine. Combined with pranayam or the breathing techniques, yoga can be effecting in correcting spine shape and reducing pain associated. Art of Living portal offers some good postures for scoliosis.
Proper nutrition, with the intake of foods rich in minerals like calcium and magnesium can help alleviate the symptoms of scoliosis. These minerals help to release the tension in the back muscles. You may also consider taking nutritional supplements to find relief from scoliosis
- Kale – Kale is a super food that is packed with nutrients that support the growth and development of your skin, hair and bones. It is rich in minerals like calcium that can strengthen your bones by increasing the bone mass and stimulating the production of collagen. Kale enhances the elasticity of bone mass, which in turn helps reduce the brittleness of bones. The regular intake of kale, when combined with the use of a back brace or other such therapies for spinal curvature issues, can greatly help speed up the treatment process and help the spine get back in shape much faster.
- Oregano Oil – In scoliosis, the curvature of the spine causes the muscles surrounding the spine to be under extreme strain. Oregano has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties that help the muscles around the spine relax, allowing more flexibility and reducing pain in that part of the body. Massaging the spine and the surrounding areas with the essential oil obtained from oregano has been found to be an effective remedy for relieving the pain associated with scoliosis pain. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of oregano oil may also improve the likelihood of the abnormal curve of the spine in straightening and returning to its original shape.
- Thyme and Peppermint – The buildup of microbes in the spine is considered to be one of the reasons for the increase in rate at which the spine gets distorted in the case of people suffering from scoliosis. The essential oils extracted from both peppermint and thyme have antibiotic properties. Rubbing these oils on the spine can help prevent the buildup of pathogens, thus inhibiting the progression of the condition. Moreover the anti-inflammatory effects of these oils help reduce the inflammation in the surrounding areas of the spine.
- Alfalfa – Alfalfa is a herb that contains high concentration of vitamin K and a number of other important minerals that support the health of your bones. Vitamin K helps improve bone density and also promotes the tight connection of bone cells. As your bones become stronger, it becomes easier and faster for the treatments and physical therapy to lessen the effects of this condition. Scoliosis, if not taken care of may get worse over time and so it is very important to slow down its progression by properly combining the various therapies with a healthy and nutrient rich diet.
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- Collard Herbs – Collard herbs are a rich source of bone friendly minerals such as calcium and magnesium and so can help improve the growth and development of the bones. These nutrients are also helpful in preventing the progression of scoliosis and also in rectifying the spine curvature to a certain extent. The regular consumption of collard herbs provide your body with adequate amounts of these nutrients and when combined with braces and physical therapy, it can help reduce the curvature of the spine.
- Arnica – Arnica is yet another herb that has been used for hundreds of years to treat various bone disorders. In the case of scoliosis, sometimes the stiffness of muscles may make the process of recovery a bit harder. Arnica can be helpful in such situations as it is capable of reducing muscle stiffness as well as muscle spasms. Massaging the spine with arnica gel can make the surrounding muscles more responsive to other treatment methods such as physical and chiropractic therapy, which in turn helps rectify the spinal curvature to some extent.
The home remedies mentioned here are simple yet effective for correcting scoliosis and they are certainly worth a try if your child is suffering from this condition. These remedies not only help in stopping the progression of the disease but also helps in correcting it slowly. An important thing to keep in mind is that spinal curvature issues differ widely in their severity and rate at which they progress. So it is always best to consult a physician before trying any kind of treatment methods.
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