© 2003 Andrew Thompson
The spine has four natural curves which form a type of 'suspension' to help cushion the spine, hips, and head from the stresses of movement.
The two rearward (kyphotic) curves are located in the thoracic and sacral regions, while the two forward (lordotic) curves occur in the lumbar and cervical regions.
However, a sideways (scoliotic) curve is not a natural condition. Such curves can appear as a 'C' shaped single curve, or an 'S' shape as shown in the photograph.
These curves can be attributed to many causes, but perhaps the most common are muscular tightness, congenital defects, and degenerative bone or disc disorders.
In all cases, a suspected scoliotic condition should be examined by a GP so they may determine the appropriate course of action. If the condition is deemed to be due to muscular or fascial tightness, a course of physical therapy will be prescribed. This may include Remedial Massage, Physiotherapy, Acupuncture, and Core Strengthening.
The patient pictured demonstrates the classic 'S' formation. With the aid of x-rays and MRI, his GP determined that the condition is degenerative. Note the shape of the spine in relation to the vertical line, and the angle of the shoulders and hips as the various spinal and gluteal muscles attempt to keep the head upright.
Unfortunately, as the muscles continue to wage their own private battle, they place extra forces on the spine, exacerbating the scoliotic condition. This is where physical therapies come into play.
With corrective exercises, stretching, and muscle and fascial manipulation, spinal stress can be significantly reduced, and help prevent the condition worsening.
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Have a brilliant day,