Scoliosis causes one side of the spine to curve. It may affect any part of the spine but the most common regions are at chest level and lower back level.
It often shows up in kids. Treatment is not necessary in most cases, since the curve corrects itself with development. However, a combination of bracing and physical therapy is often recommended, based on the degree of curvature and the child’s age.
A very small number of scoliosis patients could need surgery. Scoliosis risks include chronic pain, shortness of breath and decreased exercise ability.
Important facts about scoliosis
Here are some key points about scoliosis. More detail is in the main article.
- Often, the causes of scoliosis are not known.
- A few people with scoliosis need surgery.
- Symptoms in infants include a bulge on one side of the chest.
- It is more common in females than in males
What is scoliosis?
A person with scoliosis will also have a C- or S-shaped curve in their spine.
It may manifest at any age, but it mostly occurs from 10 to 12 years of age or during adolescents, although symptoms may occur in infants.
The reasons for the shape change are usually not known, but some cases are associated with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, or a birth defect.
A structural curve is permanent, and could be due to a different condition. A non-structural curve is temporary, and will therefore vanish over time.
Most children with scoliosis have a mild curve that requires no treatment.
The doctor will prescribe testing of the spine curve in clinic and regularly with X-rays every 4 to 6 months.
When deciding on treatment options the doctor will consider the following factors:
- Sex: Females are more likely than males to have scoliosis that gradually gets worse.
- Severity of the curve: The larger the curve, the greater the risk of it worsening over time. S-shaped curves, also called “double curves,” tend to worsen over time. C-shaped curves are less likely to worsen.
- Curve position: A curve that is is located in the center part of the spine is more likely to get worse compared with curves in the lower or upper section.
- Bone maturity: The risk of worsening is lower if the person’s bones have stopped growing. Braces are more effective while bones are still growing.
Casting is often used for infantile scoliosis instead of bracing to help the child’s spine return to its natural position as it develops. This can be done using a cast made out of Paris plaster.
The cast is fixed to the outside of the patient’s body and will always be worn. The cast is changed regularly because the infant is growing rapidly.
If the patient has moderate scoliosis, and the bones still grow, a brace may be recommended by the doctor. This will prevent any further curvature, but will not reverse or cure it. Braces are usually worn throughout, even at night. The more hours the patient wears the brace a day, the more it appears to be successful.
The brace typically does not restrict what the child can do. The braces may be taken off if the child decides to take part in physical activity.
The braces are no longer used when bones stop developing. There are 2 types of braces:
- Thoracolumbosacral orthosis (TLSO) – the TLSO is made of plastic and designed to fit neatly around the body’s curves. It is not usually visible under clothing.
- Milwaukee brace – this is a full-torso brace and has a neck ring with rests for the chin and the back of the head. This type of brace is only used when the TLSO is not possible or not effective.
One study found that when bracing is used on 10-15-year-olds with idiopathic scoliosis, it reduces the risk of getting worse or having to undergo surgery.
Some people visit a chiropractor to reduce the scoliosis pain and discomfort.
Chiropractors manipulate the spine and offer alternative therapies. They believe that reconfiguring the spine would facilitate well-being and healing.
Chiropractic treatment for a person with scoliosis may improve the quality of life. Yet it’s not a cure. While this may help people with scoliosis feel better, it does not resolve the spine curvature.
Visiting a Chiropractor who is specialized in scoliosis is important. Receiving non-specialist chiropractic treatment can make the symptoms worse.
Scoliosis normally becomes apparent from infancy or adolescence.
Symptoms in adolescents
Appears the most common type of scoliosis in adolescents. It is known as idiopathic scoliosis in adolescents. It can affect children aged 10 years and up.
“Idiopathic” means no known cause. Symptoms can include the:
- the head is slightly off center
- the ribcage is not symmetrical, so the ribs may be at different heights
- one hip is more prominent than the other
- a person’s clothes do not hang properly
- one shoulder, or shoulder blade, is higher than the other
- the person may lean to one side
- uneven leg lengths
Symptoms in infants
In infants, symptoms can include:
- a bulge on one side of the chest
- consistently lying curved to one side (in babies)
- problems with the heart and lungs, leading to shortness of breath and chest pain (in more severe cases)
Some types of scoliosis can cause back pain but typically it is not very painful. Back pain in older adults with longstanding scoliosis is not uncommon.
If a person is not treated for their scoliosis, complications may occur later in life, such as impaired function of the heart and lungs.
Different exercises can help with scoliosis and different schools recommend different approaches. However to achieve the “normal” posture, they all aim to realign the spine, rib cage, shoulders and pelvis.
Some researchers clarified in 2016 that there is growing evidence suggesting that exercise could help treat scoliosis. There is therefore a need for more research to find out which exercises are most successful.
Scoliosis can progress over time, in severe cases. For these cases , the doctor can prescribe spinal fusion. This surgery decreases the spine curve and stops it from getting worse.
Scoliosis surgery involves the following:
- Bone grafts: A surgeon will connect two or more vertebrae with new bone grafts. Sometimes, they will use metal rods, hooks, screws, or wires to hold a part of the spine straight while the bone heals.
- Intensive care: The operation lasts 4–8 hours. After surgery, the hospital will transfer a child to an intensive care unit (ICU), where they will receive intravenous fluid and pain relief medication. In most cases, the child will leave the ICU within 24 hours, but they may have to remain in the hospital for a week to 10 days.
- Recovery: Children can usually go back to school after 4–6 weeks and can take part in sports roughly 1 year after surgery. In some cases, they may need a back brace to support the spine for about 6 months.
They will need to come back to hospital every 6 months to lengthen the rods. Normally this is an outpatient procedure, so that the person is not spending the night. When the spine has grown a surgeon will remove the rods.
A doctor can prescribe spinal fusion only if they believe the benefits outweigh the risks. The danger lies in:
- Rod displacement: A rod may move from its correct position, so making further surgery necessary.
- Pseudarthrosis: One of the bones used to fuse the spine into place does not stick properly, leading to mild discomfort, and unsuccessful correction of the spine. Further surgery may be needed.
- Infection: If this occurs, it will usually treated with antibiotics.
- Nerve damage: Damage occurs to the nerves of the spine, leading to mild symptoms, such as numbness in one or both legs, to severe problems, such as paraplegia, a loss of all lower body function.
A neurosurgeon may be present during surgery for scoliosis.
Below are some of the possible causes of scoliosis:
- Neuromuscular conditions: These affect the nerves and muscles and include cerebral palsy, poliomyelitis, and muscular dystrophy.
- Congenital scoliosis (present at birth) This is rare and occurs because the bones in the spine developed abnormally when the fetus was growing inside the mother.
- Specific genes: At least one gene is thought to be involved in scoliosis.
- Leg length: If one leg is longer than the other, the individual may develop scoliosis.
- Syndromic scoliosis: Scoliosis can develop as part of another disease, including neurofibromatosis and Marfan’s syndrome.
- Osteoporosis: This can cause secondary scoliosis due to bone degeneration.
- Other causes: Bad posture, carrying backpacks or satchels, connective tissue disorders, and some injuries.
The risk factors for scoliosis include:
- Age: Signs and symptoms often start during a growth spurt just before puberty.
- Gender: Females have a higher risk.
- Genetics: People with scoliosis may have a close relative with the condition.
The UK Scoliosis Association describes five main types of scoliosis:
- Congenital scoliosis, when the spine does not form correctly before birth
- Early-onset scoliosis appears between birth and 10 years
- Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, which occurs as the child grows, leading to a curving and twisting of the spine
- Degenerative scoliosis can affect adults due to wear and tear of the skeletal system, whether or not they already have scoliosis
- Neuromuscular scoliosis stems from a problem with the muscles or nervous system
- Scheuermann’s kyphosis, where the front sections of the vertebrae grow more slowly than the back sections, making them smaller
- Syndromic scoliosis is linked to one of a range of syndromes, including Marfan’s syndrome and trisomy 21
A doctor will do a physical exam on the spine, ribs, hips, and shoulders.
The doctor can measure the degree of scoliosis with the aid of a tool called an inclinometer, or scoliometer.
Someone should refer the patient to an orthopedic specialist.
Imaging scans such as X-rays , CT scans, and MRIs can aid in determining curve shape, direction, location, and angle.
Back pain and kidney pain: Causes, symptoms, and more
The kidneys filter the blood, removing waste and excess fluid. These organs are located below the rib cage on either side of the body. Because the kidneys are pressed up against the back muscles, distinguishing between kidney and back pain can be difficult.
People must consider the following factors when determining if their pain is caused by the back or the kidneys:
- the source of the pain
- the nature and degree of the pain
- any symptoms that come with it
The basic characteristics and causes of kidney pain and back pain are discussed in this article. We also discuss when you should see a doctor.
When to consult your doctor
Rest, heat therapy, and over-the-counter pain medicines are frequently used to manage mild back pain at home. People should consult a doctor if they are experiencing pain as a result of a catastrophic injury.
It’s critical to consult a doctor if you have symptoms of kidney stones or a kidney infection.
Any of the following symptoms should also be addressed by a physician:
- pain that is prolonged or intense and does not improve with rest
- back pain that worsens with time
- radiating pain, numbness, or tingling down the legs or into the arms
- walking or standing is difficult
- legs, ankles, and/or feet swelling
- unexplained weight loss
- sudden bladder or bowel problems
- a heartbeat that is erratic
- shortness of breath
The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste and poisons from the bloodstream, making them vulnerable to infection and injury. Excess calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus can build up in the kidneys and cause kidney stones, which can be unpleasant if they restrict the flow of urine.
On either side of a person’s spine, kidney pain develops below the rib cage. It may also appear as if the pain originates from deep within the body.
Depending on whether a condition affects simply one kidney or both, people may suffer pain on one or both sides of the body.
Pain in the kidneys can spread to other parts of the body, including:
- the sides
Type and severity of pain
Small kidney stones frequently move through the urine system without causing significant pain. Larger stones, on the other hand, can cause excruciating pain that develops as the stone progresses from the kidney to the ureters. The ureters connect the kidneys to the bladder and are a part of the urinary system.
A kidney infection might cause a persistent dull discomfort or soreness.
Symptoms that come with it
Symptoms of kidney disease include:
- constipation or diarrhea
- cloudy or bloody urine
- painful urination
- a persistent need to urinate
The following are signs of serious kidney damage or problems:
- swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet
- irregular heartbeat
- muscle cramps
- bad breath
- metallic taste
- shortness of breath
Causes of kidney pain
Kidney pain can result from a number of factors, including:
- blood clots in the kidneys
- trauma or injury to the kidneys
- kidney infections
- urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- kidney stones
Back pain is a pretty typical occurrence. Around 80% of adults will have lower back pain at some point in their lives, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Back pain can be caused by issues with the muscles, bones, or nerves in the back.
Back pain can vary in location, severity, and accompanying symptoms depending on the cause.
Back pain can arise in any part of the spine. The majority of people, however, suffer from lower back pain.
Type and severity of pain
Muscle pain is characterised by a dull ache or soreness. Muscle pain, which can range from mild to severe and fluctuate in response to stretching, might be triggered or worsened by certain bodily motions.
Nerve pain can cause a burning or stabbing feeling that can spread to other people of the body.
Sciatica is a type of back pain caused by nerve irritation. Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is pinched or compressed, resulting in a searing pain in the lower back that spreads to the buttocks.
Vertebral fractures or an abnormally formed spine can cause bone pain. This form of pain appears out of nowhere. Bone pain can range from mild to severe, and it normally gets worse as you move.
Symptoms that come with it
Back pain might also cause the following symptoms:
- weakness in one or both legs
- inability to empty the bladder
- loss of control over urination
- diarrhea or constipation
- aches or stiffness along the spine
- sharp, stabbing pain in the neck
- finding it hard to stand up straight due to pain or muscle spasms
- walking difficulties
- numbness or tingling in the back that spreads to the limbs
- Causes of back pain
Causes of back pain
Back pain is frequently caused by spraining a muscle or ligament in the back. Overstretching, lifting too much weight, or employing inappropriate lifting techniques can all cause back discomfort.
Back pain can also be caused by the following causes:
- injuries to the back, such as fractures or falls
- damaged, dislocated, or ruptured discs
- abnormal curvature of the spine
- poor posture
- standing or sitting for an extended period
- muscle spasms
- muscle tension
Back pain can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, including:
- cauda equina syndrome, which affects the nerves at the base of the spinal cord
- abdominal aortic aneurysm
- inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis and spondylitis
- cancer of the spine
Because the kidneys are located below the rib cage on either side of the spine and rest against the back muscles, it might be difficult to distinguish between back pain and kidney pain.
Kidney pain can be felt immediately below the rib cage on one or both sides of the back. UTIs, kidney stones, and blunt force damage to the kidneys are all causes of kidney pain.
Back pain can affect any part of the back, however the majority of people suffer from pain in the lower back. Heavy lifting, poor posture, and sitting or standing for lengthy people of time can all cause back pain. Back pain can also be caused by medical disorders such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and infections.
Knowing the difference between kidney pain and back pain can help you get a better diagnosis and treatment.
What can cause back pain while breathing?
If back pain happens while a person breathes, it might signify an underlying medical concern. In certain situations the pain is intense, and probable causes vary from inflammation or infection of the chest to spinal curvature and lung cancer.
This article analyzes various probable causes of back pain during breathing and discusses when to contact a doctor.
In certain circumstances, back pain when breathing might be an indication of a heart attack. This is life threatening and requires immediate medical treatment.
A heart attack can occur if the blood supply to the heart’s muscles suddenly becomes stopped, by a blood clot, for example.
Symptoms of a heart attack can include:
- chest pain
- a sense of pressure or fullness in the chest
- pain in one or both arms
- jaw pain
- shortness of breath
- nausea and vomiting
People experiencing signs of a heart attack should contact or see emergency services immediately.
Treatment varies according to the nature and severity of the heart attack. Typically, therapies entail procedures to restore blood flow to a portion of the heart muscle destroyed by a heart attack. When a heart attack is severe, the doctor may insert a sort of catheter through the person’s groin or wrist to unblock the blocked artery.
In certain people, the spine can become so bent that it causes extra pressure on the lungs, making breathing unpleasant.
Symptoms of scoliosis might include:
- back pain
- weakness and numbness in the hands and feet
- uneven shoulders, hips, or ribcage
- difficulty standing up straight
- problems walking
- shortness of breath
Doctors will evaluate numerous criteria when deciding on treatment alternatives, such as a person’s sex, the severity of the curve, curve location, and bone maturity. For example, a doctor may propose observation for less severe curvature in younger persons and suggest physical treatment for adults. For people with mild-to-moderate curvature, a doctor may prescribe wearing a back brace. Individuals with more severe scoliosis may require surgery to straighten their spine.
Carrying excess weight may exert extra strain on a person’s back, joints, and other regions of the body. Some people with obesity find it hard or even painful to take full, deep breaths.
Losing weight — for example, through a calorie-restricted diet and regular exercise — may help decrease back and joint pain. People who are experiencing problems maintaining a healthy weight may desire to speak to a doctor about possible hormonal causes, such as poor thyroid function.
According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer generally does not cause symptoms in the early stages. However, a typical indication of lung cancer is chest pain that usually intensifies during heavy breathing or coughing.
Other signs of lung cancer might include:
- a chronic cough
- coughing up blood or blood in the mucus
- frequent or recurring respiratory infections
- shortness of breath
- difficulty swallowing
- unexplained weight loss
- a loss of appetite
The treatment of lung cancer is dependent on a number of factors, including the following:
- the type of lung cancer
- the location, size, and stage of the cancer
- the person’s overall health
Kyphosis is a disorder that causes a person’s spine to bend forward, which can lead to a hunched posture.
This curvature can occur during adolescence, following a spinal injury, or arise from age.
Kyphosis can also cause back pain, edema, and balance concerns. Symptoms may become worse with time, which can lead to difficulties breathing or eating in some people.
Treatment for kyphosis might entail attending physical therapy, wearing a brace, and using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen. For severe kyphosis, a doctor may propose surgical therapy, such as a spinal fusion.
When a blood clot forms in an artery supplying blood to the lungs, it is known as a pulmonary embolism. This can obstruct blood flow, posing a life-threatening situation.
After a person has a pulmonary embolism, pain in the upper back and pain when taking a deep breath are common symptoms.
Other signs and symptoms include:
- chest pain
- coughing, and possibly coughing up blood
- a rapid heartbeat
- leg swelling
A pulmonary embolism is a medical emergency, therefore anybody experiencing these symptoms should get help right once.
The goal of treatment is to keep the blood clot from spreading and to prevent additional clots from forming. Anticoagulant drugs to dissolve the blood clot and surgical procedures to remove or bypass the clot are the most common options.
Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, which is made up of two thin membranes that border and protect the chest and lungs. This inflammation can make it difficult to breathe and create acute pain in the shoulders and back.
Shortness of breath, coughing, and a fever are some of the other pleurisy symptoms that people may encounter.
Pleurisy treatment is determined on the underlying cause. Antibiotics, for example, may be prescribed by doctors to treat bacterial infections. They may also recommend various anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving drugs.
Pneumonia is an infection that causes fluid to fill the small air sacs in the lungs. It can happen in either one or both lungs.
Pneumonia symptoms vary in intensity, but people who are breathing or coughing may have chest, stomach, or back pain.
Other signs and symptoms of pneumonia include:
- fever and chills
- coughing up phlegm
- shortness of breath
- a loss of appetite
The type of pneumonia a person has will determine the treatment choices available. Antibiotics may be prescribed if bacteria are to blame for the illness. Supportive therapies are available when a virus is to blame. Pneumonia that is severe enough to necessitate hospitalization is possible.
When should you see a doctor?
Back pain that is severe, chronic, or worsening should be seen by a doctor. This is especially important if the pain is accompanied with tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.
Seek medical help right away if you’re experiencing back or chest pain as a result of:
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- severe coughing or coughing up blood
- dizziness, lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness
- pain in one or both arms
- swelling in the legs
- weakness or numbness
Back pain that makes it difficult to breathe might indicate a significant underlying disease or even a medical emergency, so it’s important not to dismiss the symptom.
Back pain that is severe, chronic, or worsening should be seen by a doctor. Anyone experiencing symptoms that might signal a heart attack or pulmonary embolism should seek medical help immediately.
What is Nerve flossing?
Nerve flossing is used to treat disorders involving nerve irritation, such as sciatica and piriformis syndrome. Nerve flossing is a sequence of easy exercises that gently mobilizes pinched or inflamed nerves.
Nerve flossing may help reduce discomfort and improve range of motion in several disorders.
Read on to know more about how nerve flossing operates and some basic exercises that people may do at home to aid with sciatica and piriformis syndrome symptoms.
Nerve flossing is a series of activities that help to mobilize the nerves softly. Nerve flossing is also known as nerve gliding or neural gliding by doctors. People can simply execute the workouts at home because they are easy and generally do not require any equipment.
Nerve flossing can be used in conjunction with other therapy approaches to help ease the symptoms of disorders including sciatica and piriformis syndrome.
People can undertake a number of nerve flossing activities to target different nerves in their bodies. Depending on the ailment that people are seeking to address, each workout will be different.
What is the process behind it?
Nerve flossing helps to reduce painful symptoms produced by inflamed or constricted nerves by mobilizing the nerves.
Nerve flossing exercises can also aid in the development of overall strength and flexibility.
Nerve flossing may be beneficial:
- expand the range of motion
- reduce the damage to nerves.
- reduce the discomfort
Nerve flossing can be used alone a natural remedy for nerve pain, or in conjunction with medicine and other treatment approaches.
Sciatica nerve flossing
The sciatic nerve goes from the lower back to the toes, passing through both legs. Sciatica is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is a painful condition that affects the lower back, legs, calves, and feet.
According to research, nerve flossing can help alleviate sciatic pain and enhance hip range of motion.
Nerve flossing for piriformis syndrome
The piriformis muscle connects the bottom of the spine to the upper leg and is a tiny muscle. The sciatic nerve is quite close to the muscle. This indicates that piriformis syndrome might be caused by any compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve.
The buttocks, hips, and hamstrings can all be affected by piriformis syndrome. Sitting or walking up steps may well be unpleasant for some people.
By increasing range of motion and flexibility, nerve flossing may help ease painful piriformis syndrome symptoms.
Exercises to help with sciatica
Here are some exercises for sciatica that people can do at home.
Sciatica nerve flossing exercise
- Lie on the floor with both knees bent, feet flat on the floor and hip-width apart.
- Rest the head on a flat cushion or small book.
- Relax the upper body and tuck the chin in slightly.
- Place both hands behind the left knee and pull it in toward the chest.
- Slowly straighten the knee until feeling a stretch.
- Hold for 5 seconds while breathing slowly and deeply.
- Slowly bend the knee back into the chest and then lower the foot back to the starting position.
- Repeat with the right leg and do 5 times for each leg.
- Keep the upper body relaxed throughout, and make sure the stretch feels comfortable.
- People can also try lifting both knees and holding them in toward the chest.
Seated sciatic nerve floss
- Sit upright in a chair, with knees hip-width apart, feet flat on the floor and facing forwards.
- Extend the right leg, with the foot flexed toward the body.
- Extend the neck up and back to look up at the ceiling.
- Lower both the neck and leg down gently, so the chin tucks into the chest, and the leg goes slightly back past 90 degrees.
- Extend and lower the neck at the same time as extending and lowering the leg.
- Switch legs and repeat exercise 10 times for the left leg.
- Do 10 repetitions on both legs 2–3 times each day.
Other exercises that may help sciatica
- Lie down with the stomach on the floor and the legs outstretched.
- Bend the elbows by the sides, with the forearms flat on the floor facing forward.
- Keep the neck straight and look at the floor throughout the exercise
- Push into the floor with the hands while arching the back, so that you feel a slight stretch of the stomach muscles.
- Keep the hips on the floor.
- Hold this position for 5–10 seconds while breathing slowly and deeply.
- Gently lower back down into the starting position.
- Repeat the exercise up 8–10 times.
- Take care not to bend the neck back at any point.
Exercise for piriformis syndrome
Below are some piriformis syndrome exercises that individuals can do at home.
Nerve flossing exercises for piriformis syndrome
- Lie flat on the back with both legs extended.
- Bend the left leg and hold the left knee and foot.
- Bring the left leg across the right side of the body toward the right shoulder and hold for 5 seconds
- Gently lower to the floor and repeat the exercise with the right leg.
- Repeat 5 times on each side.
- Do this exercise 2–3 times per day.
Other exercises that may help piriformis syndrome
- Sit upright in a chair, with knees hip-width apart, feet flat on the floor, and facing forward.
- Lift the left leg and rest the ankle on the right knee.
- Gently hold the left knee with the left hand and the right ankle with the right hand to keep the leg in place.
- Engage the core and slowly lean forward with the upper body, keeping the back straight
- Hold for 30 seconds, then return to an upright seated position.
- Repeat the exercise with the opposite leg.
None of the workouts listed above should be painful. Anyone who is in excruciating pain should stop doing the exercises and seek medical advice. If symptoms do not improve after a few weeks, people should consult a doctor.
Before doing these exercises, anyone concerned about their safety should consult a doctor or physical therapist.
Nerve flossing is a set of easy exercises that may be done at home.
Nerve flossing helps to relieve pain and increase range of motion by gently mobilizing the nerves.
Nerve flossing, in combination with any other treatment recommended by their doctor, may be a useful treatment for problems such as sciatica and piriformis syndrome.
People should visit a doctor if they are unsure whether nerve flossing is the best solution for them. If patients experience extreme pain while performing nerve flossing activities, they should stop immediately and seek medical advice.