Scoliosis and Back Pain

By Sally Ann Quirke, Chartered Physiotherapist | Filed under: Scoliosis


How Scoliosis causes Back Pain.

Scoliosis and back pain

Let’s look at the ways that Scoliosis and Back pain can be closely related.

Being a Physiotherapist and a Pilate’s instructor I am involved in scoliosis treatments as well as the related back pain issues on a daily basis. When my clients and I work well together, the results are overall very good.

So, what is scolisis? Scoliosis is a deviation of the spine. If you have a normal spinal alignment your spine will look straight from the back. You can read more about Scoliosis here.

If you look at your scoliosis from the back there is a twist in your spine at some level. When you see that twist in the spine - well it is understandable how you may potentially develop or suffer from back pain related to your scoliosis.

On one side of the twist, the muscles, ligaments, joints, discs and nerves are compressed. On the other side these structures are being overstretched. Therefore you may experience pain and symptoms related to the compression, or the overstretched structures.

From my experience in treating scoliosis over the years the most common symptoms I see are related to or caused by ligament and muscle pain. This is because these soft tissue structures are being overstretched and damaged, resulting in inflammation, thickening and fatigue. All these reactions contribute to the varying descriptions of back pain you may experience at different times.

Early intervention is so important

Addressed early, idiopathic scoliosis (where the cause is unknown or occurs suddenly) can often be reversed (see scoliosis in children). Exercise and mobilisation therapy are my treatments of choice.

However, if your scoliosis and its associated muscle and ligament pain is ignored for too long, reversing the damage becomes more difficult. Eventually, joint damage may evolve leading potentially to a lot more trouble to you and your back. Osteophytes and joint damage associated with scoliosis are not possible to break down manually. Surgery at this stage may be required to remove the extra bony nodules - if your pain is severe.

Congenital scoliosis (where scoliosis is caused by an inherited or genetic condition) also requires early intervention, but surgical intervention combined with exercise therapy is often treatment of choice in this presentation. Again, seek an early diagnosis from the outset. Early intervention may illuminate, or at least greatly reduce the risk of back pain associated with scoliosis in my opinion.

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While the content and materials contained in the articles on this website have been written & researched by Sally Ann Quirke, a professional, practising & fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) based in Ireland, they are provided for general information and educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Chartered Physiotherapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation.

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