Natural Treatments For Scoliosis Pain Relief
Scoliosis, or the sideways curvature of the spine, can cause back pain. The medical community has struggled to find an effective treatment for this type of pain, with most doctors believing that surgery is the only way to reduce the curvature. If you are unwilling to have surgery, then, you are left with pain medication to mask your symptoms and leave the causes untreated.
Fortunately, there are conservative treatments that not only ease the pain of scoliosis but actually reduce the curvature as well.
Why It Hurts
While some people with scoliosis experience no symptoms, others may experience back pain, neck pain, headaches, difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time, reproductive dysfunction and difficulty breathing. The symptoms depend largely on the location and degree of curvature, but also on your behaviors. If your head is off-center or one shoulder or hip is higher than the other, you may have scoliosis.
Some are treated in adolescence with bracing and surgery to reduce the spinal curvature, while others go untreated. Adults who experience scoliosis pain may feel it from muscles, spinal discs or both. The muscles of the back try to pull the spine back into alignment so they can return to their normal length and tension. These muscles are constantly overworked, trying to support the upper body without a stable spine to help. The discs of a curved spine also undergo asymmetric loading, which can cause bulging and herniation. These disc problems are often associated with nerve impingement, causing sharp, traveling pain.
Adults may have scoliosis from birth, or may acquire it due to osteoarthritis (if one side of the spine’s joints deteriorate faster than those on the other side). Those who acquire it will have added pain due to joint inflammation and friction.
If your doctor tells you that your only option is surgery, he or she may be wrong. Scoliosis pain has been shown to decrease with chiropractic care and physical therapy. While many doctors prescribe physical therapy as part of a pain management strategy for scoliosis, combining it with other treatments is not always considered. Contrary to what most seem to think, these treatments have proven their abilities to reduce spinal curvature as well as back pain.
Physical therapy is effective for scoliosis pain when it focuses on the relaxation of chronically-strained muscles and postural retraining. Yoga, for example, may be helpful. Chiropractic care is administered to restore alignment and improve nerve function. You may be given traction treatments as well, which stretch the spine and its surrounding ligaments and muscles and increase disc space.
As with many forms of alternative medicine, studies into the non-surgical treatment of scoliotic curvature are few and small. However, the existing studies give us compelling evidence that surgery is not the only answer. A study of 19 individuals showed spinal manipulation, traction and muscular work to significantly reduce spinal curvature after 4-6 weeks.
There are a number of reasons to avoid surgery: cost, recovery time, invasiveness, risk of failure and a curve that gradually returns over the years. Talk to your doctor about a referral to a chiropractor with experience treating people with scoliosis. Talk to a physical therapist about retraining posture and restoring muscle balance. There are natural ways to relieve your pain.