Scoliosis - What to look for


With the Olympics just finished we have had plenty of chances to see “perfect” bodies. But did you know how many Olympic athletes past and present had scoliosis? Usain Bolt – Jamaican runner (you may have heard of him?!) Alexandra Marinescu – Romanian gymnast Jon Olsen – swimmer for the USA Jennifer Thompson – swimmer for the USA, one of the most decorated Olympians in history

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a term used to describe any sideways curvature of the spine, and idiopathic scoliosis, which occurs in about 2% of the population, has no known cause.

When and who to check

Scoliosis is usually seen during a child’s growth spurt – 10 – 15 years old. Girls are 8 times more likely to need treatment so it is recommended to check them at 10 and 12 years old while boys are recommended to be checked just once at 13. Scoliosis curves can get worse very quickly during the growth spurt so can seem to appear “overnight”! Bad posture, sports and heavy school bags DO NOT cause scoliosis. In fact staying active and playing sport will help the muscles.

What to look for

Interestingly back pain is NOT considered a scoliosis symptom.
  • Uneven shoulders, or protrusion of one shoulder blade
  • One hip higher than the other
  • The body tilts to one side
  • Constipation, irregular periods and difficulty breathing can also appear due to constriction of the internal organs.

What to do

When a Doctor or physiotherapist has diagnosed the scoliosis, often with an X-ray, the treatment will depend on how severe the curvature is. For severe curves braces may be used to prevent further curvature. In some advanced cases surgery may be needed. But for most people with scoliosis it will be a case of monitoring the spine and physiotherapy to improve the shape and look of the body. Physiotherapy will help to improve the muscle tone to offset the effects of the scoliosis, helping you stand straighter and improve your breathing and internal organ function. It will also help to prevent any back pain associated with the scoliosis. Or book a Free 15 minute telephone consultation to find out how we can help.
7 myths about back pain by Estelle Mitchell Consultant Physiotherpist at Bodyworks Clinic Marbella

7 things your doctor didn’t tell you about back pain

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