7 Things you should know about Scoliosis

 

Although a myth has persisted for many years that there isn’t a link between a curved spine and pain, doctors now recognize that scoliosis does, in fact, increase the chance of back pain in youth and adults. While it may seem counter-intuitive, exercising can actually help reduce and manage scoliosis back pain rather than make it worse.

UNDERSTANDING SCOLIOSIS PAIN

Before we can go into how working out and keeping limber can offer pain relief, let’s dig into the basics of back pain from scoliosis.

IS IT TRUE THAT SCOLIOSIS CAUSES BACK PAIN?

Rather than directly causing pain, scoliosis is often associated with pain because of how the body adjusts to living with a curved spine. Other areas of the back and body are often compromised, like our back muscles. When our muscles reach their max, pain starts to shows up like a check engine light in a car. Something isn’t working as it should. Some bodies can maintain function for long periods of time before pain shows up, while others with scoliosis might not have any pain.

WHERE DOES THE PAIN COME FROM?

When it comes to living with scoliosis, there are two anatomical explanations for pain.

  • Musculoskeletal pain is related to how the skeleton changes with scoliosis — like straining and overworking muscles — and is very common with idiopathic scoliosis.
  • Nerve pain is often experienced by people with degenerative scoliosis. As a spinal disc deteriorates, the body has trouble holding itself up, which can start to pinch nerves and cause sharp, radiating pains or numbness in the neck and lower back.

DOES THE SEVERITY OF PAIN VARY?

Scoliosis pain symptoms vary widely, and the amount of pain isn’t necessarily related to the severity of spinal curvature. Mild cases can be painful while severe scoliosis patients don’t have pain at all. Although, generally speaking, the larger the misalignment, the greater intensity of pain. For adolescents, it can sometimes be more painful if the torso and shoulders are shifted over the hips, due to the increased burden upon the muscles on one side of the body. Adults typically experience more pain if they have a forward head posture.

HELPING SCOLIOSIS BACK PAIN WITH EXERCISE

Now that you know more about the basics of back pain and scoliosis, here’s what you should know about using exercise to build strength and live more comfortably.

HOW CAN EXERCISE HELP WITH SCOLIOSIS PAIN RELIEF?

Unlike the advice from many years ago, we now say that sports and movement are a positive thing for people with scoliosis. In addition to keeping joints moving in the spine, arms and legs, exercise also strengthens the muscles affected by scoliosis. This reduces musculoskeletal pain because the body is able to better adapt to the spinal curve without maxing out muscles on one side or the other.  However, there are certain exercises and activities that can be detrimental and should be avoided.

HOW DO THE EFFECTS OF EXERCISE COMPARE TO BRACING OR SURGERY?

In many ways, exercise has the opposite effect of bracing, which offers short-term relief but leads to pain in the long-term because the body doesn’t build the strength it needs to maintain alignment after treatment. And when it comes to surgery, you might be surprised to learn that the latest research says there isn’t evidence that scoliosis surgery is better at relieving pain than non-surgical methods. The CLEAR approach uses exercise in complement to chiropractic adjustments and other non-surgical treatments.

WHICH SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES ARE SAFE FOR SCOLIOSIS?

A scoliosis diagnosis doesn’t have to mean giving up the activities you enjoy! Collisions sports and those with highly repetitive motions are more risky when it comes to spinal trauma, but a doctor or physical therapist with expertise in scoliosis can help you assess your case specifically. Swimming, road biking, dance, yoga, short distance hiking and running, and low-impact exercises and activities are all good options! Learn more in our big list of scoliosis workout question and answers.

WHAT ARE SOME BACK EXERCISES FOR SCOLIOSIS?

Because scoliosis back pain is closely tied to back muscles, stretching is a great place to start. Many stretches are performed simply standing, sitting or on the floor. We’ve also outlined six back exercises for scoliosis that help promote good spinal health. The most effective exercise program for your scoliosis will be one that’s developed with a medical professional who understands your curve, posture, muscle tone and the other specifics of your case.

 

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with scoliosis, it’s very common to experience back pain as the body tries to self-correct in ways that overwork your muscles. Maintaining or building strength through sports and exercise is a part of living a healthy and active life with the added benefit of reducing your scoliosis pain and discomfort.

  • Reference Clear Scoliosis www.clear-institute.org

June Scoliosis Awareness Month

June is Scoliosis Awareness Month

Scoliosis affects up to 13% of the population.  At United Health Chiropractic we specialize in scoliosis rehabilitation.   Dr. Schroeder is the only CLEAR Scoliosis certified Chiropractor in ND, tailoring individual exercises to improve function and reduce pain in the spinal curve of patients with scoliosis.  Call today for a free phone consultation to learn how our approach can help you.  Bring your child in for a free screening for the entire month of June.

To evaluate if you or your loved ones may be affected  with scoliosis check the following warning signs. 

While Standing:               

·         Shoulders are different heights, or one shoulder blade is more prominent.

·         Head is not centered over the pelvis.

·         One hip appears higher or is more prominent.

·         Rib cage is uneven.

·         Waist is uneven (one side appears more curved than the other).

·         The entire body leans to one side

doctor-inspecting-back-of-a-child

 

Scoliosis, do you have or know some that has Scoliosis?

IMG_8870

 

Scoliosis occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty.
Most cases are mild with few symptoms. Some children develop spine deformities that get more severe as they grow. Severe scoliosis can be painful and disabling.
Chiropractic treatment is proven to help reduce and stabilize the curve. Dr. Schroeder is the ONLY Certified CLEAR Scoliosis Doctor in the State of North Dakota

Back to School Backpack Safety

Back to School Backpack Safety

backpack

It’s that time of year again, BACK-TO-SCHOOL!  As practical as backpacks are, though, they can strain muscles and joints and may cause back pain if they’re too heavy or are used incorrectly.

Problems Backpacks Can Pose

Although many factors can lead to back pain, such as sudden increased participation in sports or exercise, poor posture while sitting, and long periods of inactivity, some kids have backaches because they’re carrying around an entire locker’s worth of books and school supplies all day long. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) recommends that kids carry no more than 5% to 10% of their body weight in their backpacks.

A heavy backpack filled with books can pull a child backward, even when place on the shoulders correctly. To compensate, a child may lean forward, flexing or arching the back, which causes the spine to compress unnaturally. This puts extra stress on the muscles and joints of the low back which try to accommodate the poor posture and heavy load. This can lead some kids to develop shoulder, neck, or back pain.

Kids who wear their backpacks over just one shoulder — as many do, because they think it looks better or just feels easier — may end up leaning to one side to offset the extra weight. They might develop lower and upper back pain or strain their shoulders and neck.

Improper backpack use can also contribute to poor posture. Girls and younger kids may be especially at risk for backpack-related injuries because they’re smaller and may carry loads that are heavier in proportion to their body weight.

Buying Tips for a Safe Backpack
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) offers the following tips to help prevent the needless pain that backpack misuse could cause the students in your household.

  • Make sure your child’s backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight. A heavier backpack will cause your child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back, rather than on the shoulders, by the straps.
  • The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
  • A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child’s back.
  • Bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry-and the heavier the backpack will be.
  • Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps. Lugging the backpack around by one strap can cause the disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low-back pain.
  • Wide, padded straps are very important. Non-padded straps are uncomfortable, and can dig into your child’s shoulders.
  • The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child’s body. Straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to dangle uncomfortably and cause spinal misalignment and pain.
  • If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child’s teacher. Ask if your child could leave the heaviest books at school, and bring home only lighter hand-out materials or workbooks.

Chiropractic can help! Regular adjustments for kids can prevent injury and strain on a child’s back.