Scoliosis is an abnormal curve of the spine towards the side of the body. The spine naturally has curves in the back and neck when viewed from the side, but with scoliosis, a curve in the spine will be seen if viewed from the front or back.
In general, the more severe the curve in the spine, the more likely it is to create symptoms. Double curves, or “S” curves, may worsen more than a single curve, or a “C” curve. The curve in the spine has less chance of worsening if the bones are mature, or have stopped growing. The cause of scoliosis is often unknown, but it affects girls more than boys. Sometimes scoliosis is present at birth, and it may develop from a nervous system issue such such cerebral palsy. The growth period during puberty (between age 9-15) is a common time when scoliosis can develop.
Common symptoms of scoliosis include back pain, muscle weakness in the spine, and uneven heights of the shoulders and pelvis. Other symptoms can include difficulty breathing and spine or nerve injury. The symptoms may limit activities, and often affect self-esteem. Surgery may be a part of your treatment plan if the spinal curve is severe.
Physiotherapy can help manage the symptoms, pain, and challenges such as difficulty breathing which occur from the changes in the rib cage position. Therapy can teach you stretches, strengthening, and use hands-on techniques to help loosen your tissues and strengthen the muscles of your spine.