How Does Scoliosis Affect the Body?

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), scoliosis affects at least 2% of the population. This condition can develop in infancy or early childhood. But how does scoliosis affect the body?

This article explores what scoliosis is, how it affects the body, and how to best treat this condition.

What Is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition that affects the alignment of the back. While your spine has a natural curvature, an abnormal curvature veers lateral or sideways. If the curvature is lateral or at least ten degrees, you have scoliosis.

This condition may affect only a section of the spine, or it can stretch from one region to another. The curvature results from a subluxated joint and annulus on the concave side. This abnormal twisting plays an integral role in changing how the spine functions.

When you bend forward, your body should move straight down. However, when you have scoliosis, your spine won’t move in the same way as if it was straight. The curved spine will need to pivot on the subluxated levels, and the opposite structures will need to move more than normal to achieve the desired spinal movement.

Related: Lower Back Pain When Sneezing

What Are the Effects of Scoliosis on the Body?

how does scoliosis affect the body

Scoliosis can negatively affect your body in several ways, from skeletal deformities to mental health issues. Let’s explore some of the common scoliosis side effects.

Skeletal Deformities

Scoliosis can lead to noticeable asymmetries in the skeletal system, manifesting itself through the following external signs.

  • Uneven eye tilt
  • Inconsistent leg lengths
  • Asymmetrical hip alignment
  • Unevenly hanging clothes worn on the body
  • Protruding ribs on one side of your body
  • Slanting shoulders resting unevenly from left to right
  • A protruding shoulder blade that sticks out more prominently than the other

Painful Muscle Imbalances

There are three common types of scoliosis:

  • Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type and has no identifiable cause.
  • Congenital scoliosis is present at birth.
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis is a direct effect of another underlying muscular or neurological problem.

The underlying disorders that lead to neuromuscular scoliosis may include spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and spinal cord injuries. The conditions cause the muscle to pull against the spine or lose its shape, eventually resulting in scoliosis.

Reproductive Issues in Females

Studies suggest that there is a link between scoliosis and irregular menstrual cycles. Other studies show that low progesterone levels and other female hormones may cause scoliosis. This correlation could explain why girls are ten times more susceptible to adolescent idiopathic scoliosis than boys.

Mental Health Impairment

The visible skeletal deformities resulting from scoliosis can also take a toll on your mental health. According to a study published in the Official Journal of the Danubian Psychiatric Association, individuals with scoliosis experience high levels of the following.

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Eating disorders
  • Anger and aggression
  • Self-harm and suicidality
  • Negative body image and body dysmorphia

Inefficient Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Circulation

Another common side effect of scoliosis is the impediment of CSF recirculation to the brain. Spinal complications, especially those that affect the neck, usually cause tension headaches. However, low levels of CSF in the brain can escalate a simple tension headache into a severe migraine.

Digestive System Issues

The unnatural curvature of the neck due to scoliosis can cause esophagus constriction, making it difficult to swallow. Scoliosis also causes compression of the stomach and intestines, resulting in the following digestive complications.

  • Constipation
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Inefficient absorption of essential nutrients
  • Fullness feeling before nutritional needs are satisfied
  • Uncomfortable stomach acid build-up, leading to nausea and acid reflux
  • Weight loss

Scoliosis can also result in osteoarthritis and degenerative complications in the spine, knees, and hips. In a more severe case, it may also compromise or cause severe damage to your internal organs.

Final Thoughts

Scoliosis causes the spine to curve abnormally, and it can have a range of adverse physical effects. The common side effects include skeletal deformities, muscle imbalances, reproductive issues, and mental health problems.

This condition can also cause digestive problems and long-term effects such as osteoarthritis and degenerative complications. If you struggle with scoliosis and are looking for a lasting remedy, Sunrise Chiropractic can help.

At Sunrise Chiropractic, we have over two decades of experience helping people deal with the effects of scoliosis in Citrus Heights, CA, and the surrounding areas.

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