In January of this year, we treated 13-year-old Isabella from Leeds, a keen runner and rugby player who had been experiencing back pains.
Back in 2016, a friend of Isabella's mum whose own daughter had scoliosis suggested that Isabella might have a curved spine as well. This friend instructed Isabella to bend forward and touch her toes, and she was able to identify the signs of scoliosis (this is called the Adams forward bending test).
Isabella had an X-ray and an MRI scan, which confirmed that she did indeed have idiopathic scoliosis. The scans revealed that Isabella had an 'S'-shaped curve with a Cobb angle of 30° at the top of her spine and 15° at the base of her spine. At this point, Isabella was given two options: wear a brace, or have surgery. She didn’t want to do either of these things, and so she and her family started looking for alternative treatments online. That’s how she came across the Scoliosis SOS Clinic.
Isabella completed a 4-week course with Scoliosis SOS. She initially thought that it would be hard work, but found that the corrective stretches and exercises got easier as she went along. Isabella met lots of people at our clinic who could relate to her condition and helped her learn a lot about her own spine. When we asked Isabella if she was still experiencing pain after playing sports following her Scoliosis SOS treatment, she said that "the pain has gone now" – an amazing result!
You can see an interview with Isabella about her treatment experience here:
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Individuals with idiopathic scoliosis don't always experience pain as a result of this condition, but there may be a loss of back strength depending on the severity of the spinal curvature. With the right exercises, however, this can be overcome - for instance, it may be beneficial to place greater emphasis on enhancing the strength, range of motion, and length-tension relationship of the working muscles on either side of the vertebral column.
Range of Motion
Defined as the 'measurement of movement around a specific joint in the body', range of motion simply refers to how freely a particular part of your body can move. In the case of idiopathic scoliosis, an 'S' or 'C' curve can result in shortened musculature on the concave working muscles of the spine. These differences can dramatically decrease the unilateral range of motion at different joints in the spine, leading to reduced mobility and irregularities in one's posture.
Back strength is essential for balance, posture and the transmission of power throughout the body. Each of these factors can make a big difference to everyday activities such as going up and down stairs, picking up objects, and standing up from a sitting position. Incorporating back strengthening exercises into a corrective scoliosis treatment programme can significantly improve functional strength and postural symmetry.
Defined as the 'ability of a joint to move freely through its range of motion', flexibility is an important consideration for scoliosis therapists as it plays a vital role in restoring a regular length-tension relationship in the patient's tightened skeletal muscles. Improved flexibility can result in enhanced postural symmetry, improved performance, reduced pain, and minimised risk of further injuries.
The video below showcases an effective back strengthening exercise that you can try at home:
Regular exercise is vital when attempting to correct and alleviate the symptoms of scoliosis. The exercise in the video above is just one of many that can aid in improving the strength, flexibility and range of motion in your spine.
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