Many people think that scoliosis is just a curvature of the spine, but curvature is just one of many signs and symptoms of idiopathic scoliosis. Understanding this helps us address the cause of scoliosis progression, rather than the symptoms.
The 5 most common symptoms of scoliosis and how to intervene.
Detecting scoliosis can be tricky. Symptoms are often subtle during the early stages, which can make them easy to ignore. In children, the development of scoliosis often goes unnoticed until they reach adolescence and enter a phase of rapid growth. In adults, it can be even harder to spot. One study found that the condition went undetected in 67% of adults with back pain and scoliosis, particularly when the curvature of the spine was mild. Even patients with moderate to severe curvature went undiagnosed in more than 10% of cases.
By knowing what to look for, you will be more alert to slight changes that may signal an abnormal curvature of the spine. By detecting the defect at an early stage, there is more time to correct the problem before it becomes serious. All forms of scoliosis involve some degree of spinal curvature, but recent research into genetic testing for scoliosis has revealed new insights into the root cause of this condition.
Family history of scoliosis.
The risks of developing scoliosis are – to some extent – higher if a sibling, parent or grandparent has it. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, approximately three in ten patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis have a family history of the condition. Other research has shown that of all the factors related to the development of scoliosis, genetics accounts for about 38%. Several conditions can also increase the risk of scoliosis:
- Significant trauma or birth defect, such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy
- abnormally rapid growth spurts
- Childhood trauma
The first visible signs of scoliosis can be seen in a person’s posture. Growth of the spine along its curve leads to misalignment of the shoulders, waist, and hips. Although the changes may be subtle, a lack of symmetry in posture often appears before the spinal curve itself becomes apparent.
It is important to note that abnormal posture is only one of the symptoms of scoliosis, not its cause. Although we don’t know what causes the initial defect of scoliosis, we do know that the progression of a curve occurs because the brain does not recognize that the posture of the body is out of alignment. As a result, he fails to direct the muscles to correct the curvature of the spine and the spine continues to grow abnormally.
Subtle changes in posture can make clothing appear ill-fitting or asymmetrical. For example, a drooping shoulder or sloping hips often cause one shirt sleeve or pant leg to sit lower than the other.
In most cases, scoliosis does not limit movement or cause noticeable back pain until the curves become severe.
For people with scoliosis, the pain caused by this condition can severely limit daily activities. The combination of non-drug pain therapy, appropriate nutrient therapies, and a scoliosis-specific rehabilitation program can relieve pain and prevent progression of curves.
Feeling tired after long periods of sitting or standing can also indicate scoliosis. The more pronounced the curves, the more the surrounding muscles have to work to keep the body aligned and balanced. They therefore wear out more easily. Also, severe scoliosis can put pressure on the rib cage and eventually limit the ability to breathe, which can lead to chronic fatigue.