If you’ve recently been diagnosed with scoliosis
and your spinal curvature is – for the moment – still relatively small, you may be wondering how your condition will affect you as it progresses (i.e. as the curve becomes more pronounced).
As your Cobb angle
increases, the curve in your spine may impact your day-to-day life in a variety of different ways. However, please bear in mind that no two cases of scoliosis are completely identical, and some symptoms that appear prominently in one patient may not appear at all in the next! There is no guarantee that you will experience all of the below effects if your spinal curve continues to grow; the aim of this list is to give newly-diagnosed scoliotics a general idea of what to expect as the condition progresses.
How will scoliosis affect my appearance?
The visual symptoms of scoliosis include:
- Visibly curved back
- Leaning to one side
- Shoulders sitting at different heights
- Uneven hips/waist/legs
- One shoulder blade / one side of the rib cage protruding more prominently than the other
The visibility of these symptoms varies hugely from one patient to the next, although a greater curve will generally result in more immediately visible prominences and unevenness.
What will scoliosis feel like as it progresses?
As your curve grows, you may experience any or all of the following physical symptoms (again, severity varies massively from one case to the next):
- Back pain
- Pain in other parts of the body (e.g. legs, neck)
- Reduced flexibility
- Muscular imbalance (i.e. a weakening of the muscles on one side of the body)
- Compromised breathing
How will scoliosis affect my everyday life?
Mild cases of scoliosis usually don’t have a significant impact on the patient’s mobility – it is reasonably rare for scoliosis to become so advanced that it qualifies as a disability
. However, while you should be able to get around without too much difficulty, your spinal curvature may cause problems if you participate in sports (or other physically demanding pursuits) on a regular basis. As noted above, scoliosis can limit flexibility/range of movement and create a noticeable muscular imbalance, and these symptoms can be hugely detrimental to one’s performance in certain sports.
If you experience pain as a result of your spinal curve, you may need to start taking pain relief medication as it grows larger. The type and strength of the painkillers you take will depend on the degree of pain you are feeling – be sure to consult your GP if necessary, as they will be able to prescribe certain medications that are not available over the counter. Chronic pain can have a significant impact on a person’s overall quality of life, making it harder to work, socialise and relax, but taking pain relief medication can help to minimise that impact (although most painkillers come with risks and side-effects of their own).
Most of the above symptoms/effects of scoliosis can be halted, minimised, or even eliminated completely through proper treatment. Treatment options include bracing, surgery, and physical therapy programmes such as the ScolioGold treatment courses we provide here at Scoliosis SOS – click here to find out more.
The most important thing to keep in mind when seeking information on your curved spine
is the fact that no two curves are the same. In fact, even perfectly healthy spines have some level of curvature, although this slight curve does not pose a problem unless it grows to be abnormally severe. Curvatures can occur in different parts of the spine and develop into a variety of shapes depending on the direction and location of the irregularity.
Previously on the Scoliosis SOS blog, we discussed the characteristics of hyperkyphosis
, a spinal condition which causes the upper
region of the spine to curve forwards, creating a hunched appearance. Hyperlordosis, on the other hand, occurs in the lower
(lumbar) spine, causing the patient to have an excessively arched posture in the lower part of the back.
To explain in more detail, here’s a closer look at the causes and symptoms of hyperlordosis.
What causes hyperlordosis?
The first thing to note about hyperlordosis is that it can impact people of all genders and ages – although it is rare in children. The condition is frequently caused by bad posture, along with a number of other contributing factors and conditions, including:
- Spinal injury
- Sitting or standing for extended periods of time
- Uneven muscles, particularly a weak core
- Injuries and trauma gained while dancing
What does hyperlodosis look like?
Hyperlordosis causes the inward curve in the lower back to become exaggerated, causing the stomach and bottom to appear pushed out, and the inward curve to resemble the letter ‘C’ when viewed from the side. To find out how this differs from the appearance of scoliosis and hyperkyphosis, read our guide to different curvatures of the spine here
Can hyperlordosis be treated?
In the majority of cases, hyperlordosis is not a sign of a more severe condition, meaning that it can be treated and managed with physical therapy and exercises designed to strengthen the back, correct the curve, and improve overall posture. Here at Scoliosis SOS, we are able to provide tailored treatment programmes that are specifically designed with the individual needs of our patients in mind, allowing us to provide the best possible treatment.
If you have recently been diagnosed with hyperlordosis and you would like to find out more about our non-invasive treatment methods, please feel free to contact the Scoliosis SOS team today.
If it is your ambition to join the British Army, you may be concerned about whether your curved spine will scupper your chances of achieving this goal. Today, we’d like to put your fears to rest.
Army Entry Requirements
The British Army’s entry requirements state that all would-be soldiers looking to join a UOTC (University Officers’ Training Corps) must satisfy the Army’s medical requirements. Certain conditions – such as deafness, blindness, and the absence of one or more limbs – are deemed ‘immediate barriers’, meaning that anyone with these conditions is automatically disqualified from entry into a UOTC. The rules are more flexible for other conditions; for example, if you have ever suffered from diseases like malaria, pneumonia, heart disease, or tuberculosis, this may disqualify you from signing up, but the final decision will depend on the details of your specific case.
Back pain, in addition to being a common symptom of scoliosis, is one of the factors that can potentially disqualify a person from entering the British Army. However, it’s worth noting that none of the effects of scoliosis are immediate barriers, and generally speaking, your spinal curve should only keep you from joining the Army if it has a significant effect on your mobility and/or your overall health.
24-year-old Matthew Gilson from Somerset wanted to join the British Armed Forces, but he feared that this ambition would have to be laid to rest when he was diagnosed with scoliosis. He found himself suffering from intense back pain, and this forced him to put his demanding training regime on hold for a while.
However, after completing a 4-week ScolioGold treatment course
here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, Matthew’s pain levels had receded massively, and his posture was better as well. This improvement allowed him to re-apply for the Army and continue following his dream of serving in the military.
If you require scoliosis treatment, please contact Scoliosis SOS today to find out how our non-surgical treatment courses may be able to help you.