Scoliosis (a sideways curvature of the spine) can affect the body in all sorts of different ways. Most obviously, it affects the way you look: scoliosis patients often lean visibly to one side, and they may also display an unevenness of the shoulders, legs, hips and/or rib cage.
But the visible effects of scoliosis are truly just the tip of the iceberg. A casual observer might only see the curved back, but someone who lives with scoliosis will typically experience a variety of other symptoms ranging from back pain and stiffness to fatigue, digestive problems, and even breathing difficulties.
And then there's the effect that severe scoliosis can have on one's nervous system. Remember, your spine isn't just there to hold you upright - it also houses your spinal cord, the bundle of nerves that allows your brain to communicate with the rest of your body. If the spine is greatly distorted because of scoliosis or a similar condition, this can disrupt nervous system activity in some pretty problematic ways.
The effects of severe scoliosis on the nervous system
First of all, it's important to note that mild to moderate cases of scoliosis generally don't affect the nervous system in any noticeable way. Unless you have a very pronounced spinal curvature, it is quite unlikely that you will experience any of the symptoms we're about to discuss.
However, as the curvature of your spine progresses further and further beyond what is considered normal, there's a chance that the increasing distortion of your body may end up putting pressure on nearby nerves. When this occurs, parts of your body may begin to feel numb, weak and/or painful - this happens because the pressure is interfering with the signals that travel through your nervous system. This sometimes manifests as a mildly irritating tingle in one's lower extremities, but in the worst cases, the pressure on the nerves can actually affect the patient's ability to walk normally.
Depending on the location of the irritated/pinched nerve(s), scoliosis patients may also find that they are having trouble controlling their bladder and bowel functions. Not being aware of when you need to go to the toilet is another sign that your spinal curvature may be disrupting your nervous system.
How can I avoid these symptoms?
As mentioned above, these things generally won't happen to the average scoliosis sufferer unless their curve is allowed to progress past a certain point. For this reason, the best way to minimise the risk of scoliosis affecting your nervous system is to treat your scoliosis - halt its progression and reduce your Cobb angle to a point at which the condition is unlikely to interfere with your daily life too drastically.
This can be achieved via spinal fusion surgery, but this procedure usually won't be offered to a scoliosis patient until their curve has already progressed beyond a certain point. Fortunately, non-surgical treatment methods such as ScolioGold therapy can also be very effective when it comes to reversing the progression of scoliosis and combating the various symptoms it causes.
If you or a loved one suffer from scoliosis and you would like to attend a treatment course at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, please contact us now to arrange an initial consultation.