Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Different Approach to Scoliosis

There are two types of scoliosis. Functional scoliosis is the most common. That is when tight soft tissues give the appearance of a spinal curvature. This is the most common and is 100% correctable. There is also structural scoliosis. Structural scoliosis is when the length of each leg bone is different on each side. This type of scoliosis is rare.

My husband was diagnosed with scoliosis as a baby. He walked around with a lift in one shoe for most of his life. When he was a baby, the doctor pulled one leg down to meet the other leg and told his parents he would grow out of it. If his legs were a different length, the doctor would not have been able to get his legs to meet. However, he did not grow out of the pattern on his own. He was told that getting surgery to put in a metal rod was his only option. He did not choose that option.

Flash forward to when he was in his late 30's. I did some manual therapy on the muscles that affect uneven hips, since it was catching up with him and causing side pain. It did straighten out his spine and corrected his leg length difference.

Flash forward a few years later. His spine stays straight, but the pain is not any better. By this time, I learned a new evaluative tool called, "Neurokinetic Therapy". Neurokinetic therapy is muscle testing that tests what your brain knows your muscles are doing. Neurokinetic therapy evaluation showed muscle tightness consistent with spinal curvature. Bingo! His brain still thinks that he is walking around with scoliosis. His brain does not know that his spine is straight and has been for quite some time. This is the only therapy I have used on him that has given him any pain relief. I will continue to work with him on retraining his brain so that he can remain pain free.

If you have or suspect that you have scoliosis, get proper assessment from a highly skilled manual therapist, before considering anything more invasive. Surgery is only a good idea for those who really need it.  Also, walking around with a lift in one shoe helps structural scoliosis. Walking around with a life in one shoe makes functional scoliosis worse, because the tight soft tissue has to continue to adapt.