The condition known as scoliosis can have many effects on the human body, one of which is muscular imbalance. The back muscles located either side of the spine can be heavily impacted by a sideways curvature, and in many cases, the patient will find that the muscles on one side are weaker than those on the other side.
Why does this happen?
Scoliosis sufferers often have one weak side because the muscles on that side of the body are underused. Conversely, the muscles on the other side will be overused because they are having to work harder to make up for the curve. Both underuse and overuse can be problematic.
The spine in the image above curves to the left. This forces the muscles on the left side of the body to work harder (potentially causing them to become stretched and overused), while the muscles on the right side will gradually grow smaller, tighter and weaker from underuse.
The effects of muscular imbalance
So is it really a problem when one side is weaker than the other? Well, yes it is – for one thing, the imbalance can result in a great deal of pain and discomfort, as some muscles are overworked while others begin to atrophy.
Muscular imbalance can also create significant issues for scoliosis sufferers who participate in sports
and other physical activities. The imbalance (together with the reduced mobility that is another common symptom of scoliosis) may prevent the patient from performing to the best of their abilities.
Treating the imbalance
Many scoliosis treatment
methods focus primarily on reducing the patient’s Cobb angle
, and while this is key, it’s also important to treat the effects of scoliosis, such as muscle imbalance. A well-rounded treatment programme should include physical therapy to help the scoliosis sufferer achieve a better muscular balance, as this will, in turn, reduce pain/discomfort and enable the patient to move more easily while enjoying a better quality of life in general.
Case Study: Pain in right side
This patient came to us after experiencing pain and asymmetry while working out in the gym. She was having pains down the right side of her body and, when she came to the Scoliosis SOS clinic we were able to detect that her pain was being caused by a spinal muscle imbalance. After only 2-weeks of treatment, her pain completely disappeared!
See the full interview here:
The Scoliosis SOS Clinic’s ScolioGold treatment method is geared towards treating every aspect of scoliosis. We use a wide variety of non-surgical techniques to reduce the patient’s spinal curvature and improve their overall quality of life.
Just because you’ve been diagnosed with scoliosis, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change the way you live. Even individuals with fairly pronounced spinal curves can enjoy a high quality of life as long as their condition is treated and their symptoms properly managed.
If you’re concerned about the challenges that come with a curved spine, perhaps we can help to reassure you. Here are the stories of three people who know what living with scoliosis is really like – all of them have undergone treatment here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in London and their experiences hopefully demonstrate that, as problematic as this condition can be, it doesn’t have to drastically alter your life!
15 years old // London
Phoebe was diagnosed with scoliosis as a pre-teen. When her mother noticed that her hips looked uneven, she went to the GP and – after being referred to a specialist – was told she had a 30-degree curve in her spine. The doctor thought she had finished growing, but when she returned a year later she had grown a lot more, and this had caused her scoliosis to progress by 15%.
Phoebe was told that spinal fusion surgery would reduce the visibility of her curves, but as she herself states in the video below, she “wasn’t worried about anything to do with looks”. She was, however, concerned about the pain that she experiencing; it wasn’t too bad to begin with, occurring only when she bent down, but that occasional pain gradually progressed until was a big part of Phoebe’s life. She was also concerned about the effect that scoliosis might have on some of her favourite activities – would her spinal curve limit her ability to row and run?
Phoebe came to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic for treatment and was pleased to find her pain beginning to recede. We are pleased to report that she is still a keen runner and rower, and when she does experience pain/tension as a result of her scoliosis, she finds that massage and Kinesio tape are great for relieving these symptoms.
22 years old // Essex
Rowan first visited our clinic in 2012. He works as an IT technician, and thus spends a lot of time sitting at a desk. This can be bad for anybody’s posture, but when you already have a curved spine, full-time desk work can be very problematic indeed.
For Rowan, one of the most important parts of living with scoliosis is concentrating on his posture. The treatment he received here at Scoliosis SOS made him a lot more aware of his posture, and he now makes sure to sit/stand up as straight as possible wherever he is. He returns to our clinic regularly to make sure he doesn’t slip into any bad habits, and we’ve taught him a number of stretches and exercises to help him relieve aches and pains when they occur.
68 years old // Cambridgeshire
Carol is a very enthusiastic hiker who frequently goes on treks in other parts of the world. She got in touch with Scoliosis SOS because she was suffering from what she describes as “conspicuous” scoliosis with “a lot of pain”.
Scoliosis posed a number of problems for Carol, not least the possibility that she might have to hang up her walking boots. Her doctor informed her that, while she’d had a good run, it would not be a good idea for her to carry on putting stress on her body by walking miles and miles over rough terrain.
Here’s what she had to say after completing a treatment course at our clinic:
“My pain disappeared, my back looked much better. Friends said so, family said so…the pain’s gone.”
When the above video was filmed, Carol had recently returned from a trek to Nepal, where she camped and used tree branches to help with her stretches!
Worried that scoliosis will have a big impact on your life? Contact Scoliosis SOS today to discuss your condition and arrange a consultation.