Scoliosis of the spine is a condition that causes a person’s spine to be curved in an “S” or “C” shape due to a congenital deformity or as a secondary result of conditions such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy or physical injury. When deciding how to treat a patient’s scoliosis, a physician considers many factors including the severity of the curvature, the possibility of progression, and the the impact the condition has on the patient’s lifestyle. While surgery and bracing can stop further progression and help straighten the spine, massage therapy is a common choice to relieve pain and pressure in the spine and to relax muscles in the area.
Patients with scoliosis often suffer with chronic neck, back and shoulder pain, “pins and needles” feelings, sore muscles and chronic lower back pain. Massage therapy has been shown to relieve the muscle pain and tightness caused by scoliosis, to increase blood flow to the area relieving the pins and needles feeling, and to provide improved flexibility and mobility. Massage therapy also can alleviate stress that chronic pain can bring and provide the patient with increased relaxation and improve daily functioning.
A 2006 case study by Michael Hamm, LMP, of a patient with scoliosis showed definitively that treatments consisting of Deep Tissue, Neuromuscular, and Muscle Energy techniques provided substantial improvements to the patient’s sleep patterns, pain, and functional limitations. Appropriate application of these therapies combined with traditional correction and prevention methods as prescribed by a physician can reduce and alleviate the pain, stress and decreased function caused by scoliosis.