Scoliosis is a complex and often misunderstood condition that affects millions of people worldwide. One of the most common concerns for individuals with scoliosis is the pain associated with this spinal deformity. So let’s talk about what does scoliosis pain feel like and explore the various symptoms associated with scoliosis.
So what does scoliosis pain feel like?
Understanding the Nature of Scoliosis Pain
Scoliosis is characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine. This deviation from the spine’s natural alignment can result in discomfort and pain for those living with the condition. To comprehend scoliosis pain, it is crucial to consider the biomechanical aspects of this disorder.
Imagine your body as a fish in the ocean, blissfully unaware of the water surrounding it. Similarly, our bodies are constantly subjected to gravitational forces from the air, even though we don’t consciously perceive it. The air exerts pressure on us all the time, and we are designed to manage this force with a straight spine.
However, when scoliosis enters the picture, the spine deviates from its usual straight alignment. This deviation causes gravity to exert uneven pressure on the body, resulting in pain. Scoliosis pain is primarily localized to two key areas of the body: the lower back and the region between the shoulder blades.
Scoliosis Pain Locations
- Lower Back Pain: The lower back pain associated with scoliosis is often attributed to the excessive strain on the sacroiliac joints. These joints, connecting the sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of the spine) to the pelvis, can become compromised due to the uneven gravitational forces acting on the spine. The strain tends to be more pronounced on one side of the lower back than the other.
- Pain Between the Shoulder Blades: Another common site for scoliosis-related pain is the area between the shoulder blades. This pain is a direct consequence of the twisting of the rib cage. Remember, the ribs are attached to the spine, and as the spine twists due to scoliosis, the rib cage follows suit. The stress on the area where the ribs connect to the spine results in discomfort and pain.
It is important to note that scoliosis pain typically manifests more intensely on the right side of the body and to a lesser degree on the left. This asymmetry is largely attributed to the way the ribs are forced into abnormal positions due to the spinal curvature.
Treatment Options for Scoliosis Pain
The good news is that effective treatment options are available to alleviate scoliosis pain and improve the quality of life for individuals with this condition. A comprehensive approach to managing scoliosis pain typically involves stabilizing the sacroiliac joints and addressing the issues in the shoulder blade area. Here are some of the treatment methods commonly employed:
- Scoliosis-Specific Exercises: Scoliosis-specific exercises are tailored to each patient’s unique condition. These exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles around the spine and promote spinal stability. By doing so, they help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with scoliosis.
- Scoliosis Bracing: In some cases, a specific type of bracing called a Scoliosis Orthopedic Belt (also known as a Serola Belt) may be recommended. This belt is worn around the hips to provide stabilization. The unique nature of the ligaments in the pelvis allows for the pelvis to align and stabilize over time, often requiring patients to wear the belt for just a few weeks.
- Chiropractic Care: Chiropractic care focuses on spinal alignment. Chiropractors use manual adjustments and techniques to correct the misalignments in the spine caused by scoliosis. These adjustments can help reduce pain and improve mobility.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is another crucial component of scoliosis treatment. Therapists work with patients to improve their range of motion and flexibility. They may also teach scoliosis-specific exercises to help manage pain and promote spinal health.
- Postural Training: Proper posture is essential for individuals with scoliosis. Postural training helps patients maintain a healthy spine alignment, reducing the strain on the affected areas and minimizing pain.
Recognizing the Signs of Scoliosis
Understanding the signs of scoliosis is essential for early detection and intervention. While pain is a common symptom, there are also visible signs that can help identify scoliosis. These signs include:
- Uneven Shoulders: Scoliosis often leads to one shoulder appearing higher than the other due to the twisting of the spine.
- Asymmetrical Hips: One hip may extend out more than the other, creating an imbalance in the pelvis.
- Protruding Shoulder Blade: When a person with scoliosis bends forward, their shoulder blade may stick out prominently due to the twisting of the rib cage.
- Waist and Hip Irregularities: The waistline may appear uneven, and the hips may seem lopsided, further indicating the presence of scoliosis.
Parents play a crucial role in recognizing scoliosis signs in their children, especially if they have scoliosis themselves. Early detection can significantly impact the management of the condition and potentially prevent it from progressing to more severe stages.
In conclusion, scoliosis pain is a complex issue caused by the biomechanical strain on the spine due to its abnormal curvature. The pain primarily manifests in the lower back and the region between the shoulder blades, with the right side typically affected more than the left. However, with effective treatment methods such as scoliosis-specific exercises, bracing, chiropractic care, physical therapy, and postural training, individuals with scoliosis can find relief from their pain and improve their overall quality of life.
Understanding the signs of scoliosis is crucial for early detection and intervention. Parents, in particular, should be vigilant in recognizing these signs to ensure that their children receive prompt and effective treatment if scoliosis is suspected. By addressing scoliosis pain and its associated symptoms, we can help individuals lead more comfortable and fulfilling lives while managing this condition.
Dr. Strauss is the director of the Hudson Valley Scoliosis Correction Center in New York. He has been actively engaged in scoliosis treatment for the past 30 years and has authored two books on the subject, Your Child Has Scoliosis and The Truth About Adult Scoliosis.
He is Vice President of the CLEAR Scoliosis Institute and a lecturer for their introductory and advanced workshops. He is certified in scoliosis bracing and in the use of scoliosis specific exercises. Dr. Strauss is a graduate of the ISICO World Masters of Scoliosis.His postgraduate studies also include a Masters Degree in Acupuncture as well as training in Grostic, Pettibon, CBP, Clinical Nutrition, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Manipulation under Anesthesia, and Electrodiagnosis.
His scoliosis practice has treated patients from 25 states and 32 other foreign countries.If you have questions about childhood and adult scoliosis and how it can be successfully treated without surgery subscribe to our channel!