Given that scoliosis
is a disorder of the spine, you might assume that the pain experienced by some scoliosis sufferers is exclusively concentrated in the back. But a person with a curved spine may also notice a degree of shoulder pain
in addition to (or instead of) the more common back pains.
Why does scoliosis cause shoulder pain?
When a curved spine causes shoulder pain, it usually happens because the curve is located near the top of the spine and the muscles in this region are working harder than normal to control - and compensate for - the unusual angle. This puts a strain on those muscles, which may be felt as an ache or pain in the shoulder.
How severe is the pain?
The important thing to remember is that no two scoliosis patients have exactly the same experience. Even two people with exactly the same Cobb angle
may report drastically different symptoms: one may feel no discomfort at all, while the other may be in such extreme pain that they require medication just to make it through the day.
The above applies to shoulder pain just as much as it applies to back pain. Shoulder pain (when it arises as the result of a spinal curvature) is usually limited to an achy or uncomfortable feeling - some scoliotics report feeling like they have a 'knot' in their shoulder - but it can be more severe in some cases.
How can shoulder pain be treated?
Extreme pain arising from a curvature of the spine may be treated using pain relief medication (various strengths may be prescribed depending on the severity of the pain).
However, we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic have found that an exercise-based physiotherapy regime - namely our own ScolioGold programme - can be very effective for relieving back and shoulder pain. We use a combination of methods, including Kinesio Taping
and myofascial release
, to reduce pain and inflammation while improving mobility and generally helping the patient to live a more comfortable life.
Phoebe from Crystal Palace is one of the many scoliosis sufferers whose shoulder pain we have helped to alleviate. Watch the video below to find out what she thought of her time at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic:
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