Tag Archives: treatment

Scoliosis Awareness Month

​scoliosisThe Scoliosis Research Society observes National Scoliosis Awareness Month every June as a way to highlight the importance of early detection, public awareness of scoliosis, its prevalence within the community, and the growing need for education. Scoliosis is a spinal condition, not a disease, that affects the alignment of the spine causing it to curve to the side in a “C” or “S” shape. There are many causes of scoliosis, including congenital spine deformities (those present at birth, either inherited or caused by the environment), neuromuscular problems, genetic conditions, and limb length inequality. This spinal condition affects nearly 6 million people in the United States.

While scoliosis develops predominately in infants and adolescents 10-15 years of age, adults can be diagnosed with this condition.

Early detection of scoliosis in adolescents is important as it can reduce the need for surgery in the future. Non-surgical treatments, such as bracing, can be used to treat the curvature of the spine while slowing or stopping the progression altogether. Bracing early has been found to be an effective, non-operative treatment. Not only does the patient benefit from this treatment, there are potential cost savings for the health care system as well.

For adults, scoliosis symptoms could be caused or intensified as they age. It is also possible that adult scoliosis is the progression of an early childhood condition that was not diagnosed or treated before.

Scoliosis Treatment in Adults

Treatment for adult scoliosis focuses on alleviating pain and restoring function while correcting the curvature of the spine. Exercise, periodic observation, and over the counter pain relievers can help manage adult scoliosis.

When a diagnosis occurs, one of the first treatments is to prevent further curvature of the spine. By stopping the progression of scoliosis, adults can sustain many daily living activities by maintaining range of motion, preventing deformity of the rib cage, and reducing pain during certain movements like bending and lifting.

Exercise is a crucial preventive measure. Strengthening the muscles in the back through exercise helps maintain the spine’s proper shape and allows the spinal column to have adequate support. There are a number of back strengthening exercises that you can do to improve the strength of your muscles.

A spinal muscle exercise performed by lying in the prone position and performing alternating shoulder flexions and hip extensions. (source)
A spinal muscle exercise performed by lying in the prone position and performing alternating shoulder flexions and hip extensions. (source)

Products for Scoliosis

Depending on the severity of the curvature, postural positioning through customized cushioning can also help stop the progression of scoliosis. Postural supports, such as the Contour Lumbar Cervical Back Cushion and the ContourSleep Cervical Pillow, can maintain spinal curvature or assist in the correction of curvature through individualized adjustments.

Always speak with a health care physician or occupational therapist before starting a new exercise routine or using a new product. Occupational therapists are often involved in the selection and fabrication process of customized postural cushions.

If you experience pain due to scoliosis, visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists who can work with you and your health care provider to find a solution that provides relief. We have a collection of products that offer proper spinal support, improve posture, relieve pressure on the spine, and sooth sore muscles.

National Physical Therapy Month & The McKenzie Method

Each October, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) commemorates National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM) as a way of recognizing the impact physical therapist assistants and physical therapists make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives.
Earlier this year Robin McKenzie, a pioneer of musculoskeletal disorders and their treatment, passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. Robin developed the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnostics and Therapy (MDT) in 1950.
The McKenzie Method is based on the idea of self-care and patients managing their own pain. The MDT system consists of the following:

  • Assessment: A well-defined algorithm leads to simple classification of spinal-related disorders and is unique to MTD. Disorders are addressed according to their unique nature with mechanical procedures utilizing movement and positions.
  • Treatment: In order to restore function and independence, minimize visits to the clinic and diminish pain quickly, MTD uniquely emphasizes active patient involvement and education.
  • Preventive measure: Educating patients to self-treat the present problem minimizes the risk of relapse and gives patients the skills to manage the pain themselves when symptoms occur.

Robin believed that self-treatment was the best way to achieve long lasting improvement of neck and back pain. MDT is recognized worldwide as a standard for management of low back pain as well as the basis on which Relax The Back was founded. Robin made great strides in the field of physical therapy and his legacy will live on through the McKenzie Institute International. You can find more information on the McKenzie Method and the McKenzie Institute International at McKenzieMDT.org.