Scoliosis

Scoliosis (sideways curvature of the spine) is common and there is a range of severity, from the mild to the moderate or severe. People with a Cobb angle (the angle of curvature) beyond a certain point are offered surgery. If you don’t have a severe scoliosis this won’t be an option because the risks may outweigh the benefits.

I have a double curve scoliosis – it’s quite mild and isn’t visible when I am wearing a top. It is classified as ‘idiopathic scoliosis’. In common with most cases of idiopathic scoliosis there is a major thoracic curve to the right and in my case there is also a smaller lumbar curve to the left. I also have slightly pes cavus feet, and a cursory internet search revealed that some people think this is connected to scoliosis and others don’t. Pes cavus seems to be a fancy way of saying ‘high arched’. The ‘cavus’ bit is referring to the cave like appearance that high arches create.

I think that the combination of scoliosis and pes cavus made me more vulnerable to overuse/misuse injury. If you have scoliosis, even mild or moderate scoliosis like myself, you are more vulnerable to overuse injury, however it is possible to avoid this if you follow the well known standard steps involved in avoiding injury.  I think that if you have scoliosis you have to act as if you are an athlete and take the steps that athletes take to avoid and recover from injuries. The good news is that it is possible. The advice I would give to other people with scoliosis is to follow the general advice that I give about avoiding injury but in addition to this;

  1. keep exercising so that you stay in condition but avoid misuse and overuse of your joints and muscles, particularly of your back but of all of your joints and muscles.
  2. be very wary about changing your biomechanics, in my case I was told that I had a leg length discrepancy, but this was apparent rather than real. I believe that my body had adapted to scoliosis and using a shoe raise upset my biomechanics and led to a cascade of injuries.
  3. be careful with lifting. I won’t give detailed advice here about correct lifting technique because there is a lot of information already available about this online. I injured my back lifting a box using poor technique. If you are lifting a box I think it is wise to reduce the load by partially emptying it and keep the load close to your body.  When in doubt don’t lift. Remember, lifting can not only damage your back but your other joints as well.

I may have read somewhere that there is some evidence that scoliosis is linked to issues with collagen repair, if this is the case it highlights the importance of points 1 and 2.