10/9/2015 0 Comments
Affecting the spines of children, teenagers and adults, an estimated six million people suffer from some form of scoliosis in the United States. While the human spine features several natural curvatures to allow for movement and flexibility, scoliosis is diagnosed when there is an abnormal curvature of the spine. Scoliosis is rarely fatal, but it can severely impact a person’s quality of life, both physically and psychologically. Although not one of the treatment options for correcting this condition, massage therapy can help relieve some of the resulting back pain, shallow breathing, sciatica, headaches and insomnia brought on by this aberrant spinal structure.
Spinal CurvesCurves are a normal part of the spine’s structure. Looking at the spine from a lateral view, a properly formed spine resembles a soft ‘S’ shape to maintain balance over the pelvis. From a posterior view, a normal spine will appear vertically straight from the neck to the sacrum.
Scoliosis is diagnosed when a posterior view of the spinal column reveals lateral bends. A scoliosis curve to the right side of center will form a compensating bend back to the left side, and vice versa. Scoliosis usually occurs in the thoracic or lumbar areas of the back. A normal spine has a vertical curve measuring less than 10 degrees. By measuring the curve’s angle using the vertebra at the apex of the curve as a starting point, a scoliotic spine measures curves of 10 degrees in mild cases and up to 90 degrees in the most severe cases.
Distribution and Causes Most cases of scoliosis are considered to be of unknown origin, otherwise known as idiopathic. Statistics confirm that scoliosis is more prevalent in girls than in boys, and develops in adolescence in eighty percent of all cases. While it is also found in adults, most professionals assume that these scoliosis diagnoses were missed during childhood.
Sometimes, scoliosis can be a result of physical trauma or stress, such as a car accident. Rarely, congenital or infantile scoliosis occurs when severe spinal deformities are present at birth. While all of the following theories have not yet been validated, research has indicated that possible causes of scoliosis include:
While Rolfing®, yoga, acupuncture, structural integration and exercise have a history of improving scoliosis symptoms, two massage therapy techniques also can help this condition such as Cranial-Sacral Therapy and Deep Tissue Massage:
Alternative treatments are not suggested to replace a traditional physician’s prescription. However, massage therapy can help reduce some of scoliosis’ related symptoms. Appropriate application of cranial-sacral therapy and deep tissue massage can provide a respite for continuously over-stretched fascia and muscles, thus lessening the stress on a wrenched spinal column.
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