Scoliosis or Functional Scoliosis?
Scoliosis, do you have it?
You likely do. But did you know there are 2 types of ‘scoliosis.’ Unless you have been diagnosed by a health care professional, you likely don’t have structural scoliosis. A good definition of structural scoliosis is found here https://www.spine-health.com/glossary/scoliosis “Scoliosis is a condition involving an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine. It can be caused by congenital, developmental or degenerative problems, but most cases of scoliosis actually have no known cause called idiopathic scoliosis.”
Now most of us have a functional or nonstructural scoliosis. But what does that mean?
“Nonstructural scoliosis involves a temporary change of spinal curvature,” as explained in this article: https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=10387 A functional scoliosis usually comes from our lifestyle and habits. In my recent article on handedness, Read it here, I explained that our handedness creates a pattern of movement or movement tendencies that create imbalances, resulting in twists, high hips, low shoulders, etc. Another factor affecting functional scoliosis is repetitive movements we perform. To become more efficient in repetitive movements, our body adapts to optimize those movement patterns. For example, as a society we sit way too much and look at screens. To adapt to the positional demands of sitting and looking at screens, our bodies flatten our low spine, round from our sitz bones, push our hip bones forward, as well as reach our neck forward and round our shoulders. This postural adaptation makes sitting at a desk in front of a computer easier, but it doesn’t make it easier to get up from the desk and walk around, or shovel the snow outside, or play with your kids or bring in the groceries…in other words, when our bodies adapt to sitting and looking at screens, all other forms of movement are hindered by that postural adaptation.
Furthermore, the body does the same thing with repetitive motions. For instance, if I always lead with my right arm, my body adapts and twists my right ribcage forward. Because my ribcage is twisted left, I get heavier on my left leg to create stability. This causes my right hip to lift, affecting all the balance and strength muscles on my right hip.
Why does this matter?
Well, these twists and side bends affect the loads placed on the body, affecting the transfer of force through the body, effectively stopping it at places that are not aligned. When the transfer of forces is stopped, the structure takes the force and this accelerates the wear and tear on the connective tissues, the muscles, and the bones.
This is why balance movement is so important.
This is also why having a comprehensively trained Pilates teacher is important so you have support to help realign your body to move better. Comprehensively trained Pilates instructors are educated to identify functional scoliosis or handedness patterns and have the knowledge to help you correct them.
At Pilates in Guelph, we believe in the importance of helping you find balance in your body to achieve optimum health and happiness.
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Are you a Pilates instructor or Personal Trainer who wants to learn more about scoliosis, handedness and functional scoliosis? Join me this month for Body Harmonics Scoliosis and Handedness continuing education course in Guelph. https://www.bodyharmonics.com/training_programs/handedness-and-scoliosis/