Feeling Crooked? Could Be Scoliosis…

13 Jun, 2019

What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is when the spine curves to the side. Normally, a typical spine looks straight when we look from behind. The spine of an individual with scoliosis may look like a “C” or “S” shape. The spine can also twist at the same time. This twisting can pull the ribcage out of position and affect the lung function.

There are two general categories of scoliosis:

Structural scoliosis occurs when the spine has an actual physical curve and the curve is permanent.

Functional scoliosis occurs when the patient appears to have a curve in their spine but it is actually caused by another condition, such as leg length difference or muscle imbalance.

Scoliosis can affect people at different points in their lives. It can happen:

  • Before birth (congenital)
  • In young children (early onset)
  • In older children and teenagers (idiopathic)
  • In adulthood (degenerative)

What causes scoliosis?

In most cases the cause is unknown. Sometimes the scoliosis is secondary to a neuromuscular condition, such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy. Scoliosis can also develop as part of a syndrome, such as Marfan syndrome.

What are the signs and symptoms?


  • Abnormal curvature of the spine when look from behind
  • Head not centred over body
  • Uneven shoulders
  • Uneven hips
  • One shoulder blade more prominent than the other


  • Upper and/or lower back pain
  • Muscle pain around the spine
  • Problems with breathing

What are the treatment options and how can Gen Physio help?


Bracing is a common treatment option in young children and teenagers which aims to reduce the increase in spinal curvatures. Bracing is an effective way to prevent the curve progressing to a degree that requires surgery.

There are bracing options for older adult with scoliosis, but those braces have a different purpose. The main goal for adult bracing is to reduce pain and improve ability to perform daily tasks


Surgery is only recommended when the spinal curvature reaches a certain degree and when a person’s quality of life is significantly affected. The goals of surgery are to prevent your scoliosis getting larger and to correct the curvature as much as possible.

How Gen Physio and Allied Health can help

  • Physiotherapist can help with relieving symptoms using manual therapy, massage or other modalities. They will perform a detailed assessment to identify the area of muscle imbalance and other factors that contributes to spinal curvatures. They can then teach you some techniques that can correct the muscle imbalance and slow down the progression of scoliosis.
  • Exercise is very important to maintain optimal strength, improve core stability and flexibility. Our Exercise Physiologist will assess you thoroughly and develop an exercise program that is suitable for you.
  • Uneven leg length is one of the common issues with scoliosis. Podiatrist can assess your gait and foot posture and prescribe suitable insoles to compensate the difference in leg length. Podiatrist can also help with nail care if you have trouble bending down.
  • Occupational Therapist plays an important role when the patient with scoliosis has an underlying neuromuscular condition. They can prescribe a suitable cushion to maximise your posture. For elderly patient with degenerative scoliosis, our Occupational Therapist can provide some recommendation on assistive devices/ equipment which can help you to remain independent in your own home.

What to do now?

If you, friend or family member is suffering from Whiplash associated disorder give us a call at Gen Physio and Allied Health, we have a friendly team of professionals that are dedicated to changing the lives of our clients. All of our clinicians are mobile and come to your own home to conduct an examination. Give us a call on 1300 122 884 to book a consultation today.

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