SCOLIOSIS, a curvature of the spine away from the mid-line of the body when viewed from behind, can vary from mild to moderate or severe. Most cases of scoliosis are “acquired” or functional, often starting during the teenage years. A small percentage of cases is congenital (present at birth), and another small percentage of cases is associated with connective tissue disorders, such as Marfan’s syndrome, as well as neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, dystonia, and spinal muscular atrophy.
Scoliosis of the functional or “acquired” type may be caused by faulty posture while sitting or standing several hours at a time, trauma to the neck or back anywhere along the spine, asymmetric activities at work or play, such as playing a musical instrument, or pursuing activities that require the use of one side of the body more than the other, and so forth.
Trauma, such as whiplash injury, broken ribs or clavicles, an imbalanced gait after leg or foot injuries, and head or neck injuries can lead to functional scoliosis at any age.
Weak musculature along the spine as we age and move less may also lead to scoliosis.
With scoliosis, the spine acquires an improper curvature in a corkscrew like fashion. We tend to think of scoliosis as a sideways (lateral) curving of the spine. However, the spine also twists (rotates) as it curves, somewhat like a corkscrew.
This creates a distorted space inside the ribcage, that may make it difficult to take full breaths, swallow and/or digest food, and of course pursue everyday activities, as well as sports and hobbies. Moreover, living with scoliosis may manifest in musculoskeletal pain, increased menstrual pain, and interfere with sleep and regular bowel movements. Pregnancy and giving birth may be more challenging as well.
As scoliosis develops, whether from trauma or poor posture, the connective tissue (fascia, ligaments, and tendons, etc.) which weaves and envelops every cell, tissue, organ, muscle and other body structure (blood and lymph vessels, nerves, meridians, and so forth), congeals (“shrink wraps”) around the deformity. This creates a stranglehold, in this case around the spine, that prevents it from straightening itself out.
Energetic unwinding of the spine, joints & muscles, which combines craniosacral therapy with acupressure and soft tissue work, can help to release the tension and distortion in the connective tissue, giving the spine more room to straighten itself out and remain that way. During the course of the therapy, the body is being re-educated to use the muscles supporting the spine in a more efficient and symmetric fashion.