Scoliosis is a condition characterized by a twisted, curved spine. It can affect people of all ages, from young children to older adults, but it is usually first diagnosed when a child is between the ages of 10 and 15.1 In most cases, scoliosis is not a sign of anything serious. Indeed, if the condition is mild, it may not require treatment.
If your scoliosis is associated with back pain, however, then treatment may be necessary to correct the condition and reduce the pain. Remedies for scoliosis will vary depending on the age of the individual.
With babies and older children, it is sometimes possible to use a cast to stop the curvature of the spine from becoming worse as the person grows. With older children and adults, surgery may be necessary for severe scoliosis, but for milder cases, simple home management is usually an option.
What Causes Scoliosis?
The most common type of scoliosis is known as idiopathic scoliosis. This means that doctors do not know what exactly caused it. Usually, the condition is not painful, and it goes unnoticed until a routine check-up at the pediatrician or until the child is screened for the condition at school. Even if the condition is noticed, the decision may be made to “wait and see,” rather than intervene, because small curves are not usually a problem.
Sometimes, scoliosis is caused by a problem in the spine that developed before birth. Other times, the problem is muscular, and the condition can be managed with support garments.
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One fact that doctors are sure about is that sports, poor posture, or activities like carrying heavy backpacks do not cause scoliosis. Such activities can cause back pain, but they do not affect how the spine actually develops.
So, if someone in your family has scoliosis, don’t worry that you or they did something wrong. However, you can manage it and reduce the risk of it causing pain by taking good care of your back as you grow, and maintaining a good level of fitness as you get older.
Home Remedies for Scoliosis
It’s important to understand that home remedies for scoliosis will not actually change the curvature of the spine. However, what they can do is help to stop any curve that is there from becoming a problem. Natural remedies focus on building up strength in your back and core so that it is able to cope with the strain that modern life puts on the body.
Natural remedies for scoliosis include gentle exercises and stretches, as well as wearing a brace under your clothes to correct the curvature of your spine if needed. If you think of your spine as a selection of building blocks that are held together by muscles, then these treatments work by both lengthening and strengthening the muscles so that your spine can move normally.
To have good spinal health, you need:2
- Good core strength
- Good proprioception (awareness of the positioning of your body)
- Correct posture
Exercises such as pelvic tilts, abdominal presses, and even balancing on one leg can help to improve those skills.3 These are gentle movements that anyone can do and that should be possible even for people who are struggling with back pain as a result of their scoliosis.
Scoliosis with Back Pain
If you are suffering from back pain as a result of your scoliosis, then you may need to use pain relief or other self-care treatments to help yourself get to the stage where you can try other remedies for scoliosis.
It is not ideal to take over-the-counter pain relief, especially non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on a long-term basis, but you can use heat and cold packs, TENS machines, or essential oil remedies to reduce inflammation, relax tense muscles, and get yourself to the stage where you can move around more.
Exercise is good for your body and is something that everyone should try and do within the limitations of the medical conditions that they have. Studies show that physiotherapy is the main option for managing scoliosis, but there is anecdotal evidence to support the use of essential oils, such as oregano, for pain relief in people who have the condition.4 Our Vibrant blend could be a good option for people with back pain since it contains not only oregano but also refreshing ginger and spearmint.
Scoliosis Need Not Limit Your Quality of Life
Getting diagnosed with a condition such as scoliosis can feel like a heavy blow, but it does not have to be limiting. There are many people who are successful athletes in spite of having scoliosis. There are some who have even managed to make it as far as the Olympic Games in their chosen sports.5 Usain Bolt and Maritza Correia are both individuals with scoliosis, and there are plenty of famous actors and actresses with it too, including Sarah Michelle Gellar.
If your symptoms are mild, then scoliosis may be nothing more to you than a line on your medical record, just like your blood type. If your symptoms are more severe, then surgery is an option, but it is a serious step that would be best considered only if you have exhausted other remedies for scoliosis and you find that it is really limiting your day-to-day life.
If you do not notice a rapid improvement after trying remedies for scoliosis, then you should seek professional advice. If you have a child and you are worried that they are developing an abnormal curvature in their spine, get their pediatrician to have a look at them early on. The sooner the condition is caught, the easier it is to manage.6 There are a lot more options for treating young children than there are for treating older children or adults.
Photo credits: ArtFamily/shutterstock.com, ArtFamily/shutterstock.com, LunaVandoorne/shutterstock.com, siam.pukkato/shutterstock.com