Scoliosis is known as an abnormal sideways curve of the spine. It can cause pressure on the spinal cord, cause gait abnormality and the heart and lungs can be affected which lead to fatigue or breathing difficulties.
To this day, bracing and spinal fusions are the go-to treatment for most types of scoliosis however lately remedial massage therapy has been proven to help decrease the pain felt due the misaligned bone structure. By no means can massage to an individual with scoliosis cure them, it is simply used as a means to control the pain and help to gain some pain-free movement round the areas of restriction.
It also depends on the degree and location of the curve and the age of the individual. The younger the person the more likely the condition can worsen over time. An older individual suffering with this co ndition can benefit regular massages to help decrease pain and improve overall quality of life. By using techniques such as Swedish and Deep Tissue, a massage therapist can help increase circulation and ease symptoms.
Using massage therapy as a treatment for scoliosis isn’t just for pain relief! It can also help with:
- Sleep – A study done by Hamm in 2006 showed in addition to addressing the pain, getting a massage twice a week improved their sleeping by 25%! And in this same study the individual also showed an increase in ability conduct daily activities and not need assistance. This is because massage therapy increases in spinal muscles mobility and evens out the muscles in the back which in turn, results in more functionality.
- Mental health – When our muscles are massaged, they begin to relax, improves blood flow and the mind starts to reduce activity.
- Increased circulation to other muscles and also organs – As the muscles and fascia are moved and manipulated, this allows the blood flow to be restored to the areas that were restricted. Although massage can’t 100% improve circulation just by itself, exercise is another great way to increase circulation.
- Enhanced mobility – A study done in 2008 presented a female with mild scoliosis undertook MFR massages, 2 a week for 4 weeks and showed improve pain levels, trunk rotation, posture and even pulmonary function!
But where else would the massage therapist work other than the back where the scoliosis is prevalent? Your massage therapist can also work on the glute and hamstring area as they play a big role in hip alignment if they are tight or have active trigger points.
Myofascial release is a specialised technique that I personally usually use with my scoliosis patients. This type of technique aims to release the tension in the fascia which is the connective tissue that surrounds muscles, bones, nerves and other organs in the body. It a lot more of a softer technique, allowing the fascia to become more movable and elastic. This type of massage is usually done with little to none oil or cream to allow the therapists hands to manipulate the fascia more carefully.
Massage is a great tool to utilize with any type of scoliosis, if its to treat pain, improve range of motion, improve quality of life or even blood circulation, massage is always there for you!