Apr 11 2017
You might be surprised to learn that most people have some degree of scoliosis. Scoliosis is defined as:
- A lateral spinal curvature greater than ten degrees.
- Forward rounding of the upper back, as seen in screening with forward bending.
- An increase in the lumbar lordosis.
Most scoliosis patients have an “S” curve – two lateral and opposite curves in the spine that make the scoliosis less obvious. “C” scoliosis is uncompensated and often the curvature is more obvious.
While some scoliosis has a clear cause; (cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy), idiopathic scoliosis is most common; that is, the cause is not known.
Girls who are 10-15 years old are most at risk for developing scoliosis. During these years of rapid growth, scoliosis screening should be performed annually. For those who have the problem, periodic spinal x-rays are important to make sure the curvature is not progressing.
Traditional therapies for scoliosis include Schroth therapy (corrective exercise), bracing and surgical interventions.
The muscular imbalances in scoliosis are complex. Asymmetrical shortenings in the myofascia of the back are only the first level of culprits that contribute to scoliosis.
Less obvious and equally important are the diaphragm (respiratory muscle) and psoas (hip flexor muscles.) Also important are the arm and leg muscles.
Perhaps you are getting the picture – while scoliosis is a problem of the spine, the whole structure is implicated.
Rolfing is perhaps one of the best methods for creating balance in the structure. It is a manual therapy that directly addresses the soft tissue tensions and asymmetries in the body. Rolfers often ask the client to breath or move in a specific way while the Rolfer uses a slow sustained pressure. As the Rolfer releases the chronic tensions in the myofascial network, posture and alignment improve.
In the basic ten session Rolfing series, the practitioner works systematically to address the whole body. Progressively, Rolfing works through the layers of fascia to balance the connective tissue system.
Soft tissue networks have a profound influence on the skeletal alignment. For the scoliosis patient, Rolfing can provide a valuable resource for reversing spinal curvature. Rolfing is also a wonderful way to help preteens and teens stay on track and avoid developing scoliosis.