Statistics from the USA suggest that 2 to 3 teenagers in every 100 will have developed a condition of the spine known as scoliosis. The figure in Australia is likely to be similar. In that age group the syndrome is referred to as Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis or AIS. It is an abnormal curvature of the spine that begins in later childhood or through adolescence.
On X ray the spine takes on an elongated S shape rather than growing straight. The bone segments of the spine, called vertebrae, take on a slightly rotated pattern. The condition coincides with the adolescent growth spurt. It may stabilize and has few symptoms besides a slightly abnormal posture, often picked up by parents due to one shoulder being more elevated. This mild spinal curvature is equally common in boys as well as girls. In other cases, it continues to progress with time.
That version is more common in teenage girls than boys. The reason for that is not known.
Scoliosis can sometimes be part of other conditions. Some of those may be genetic. However, AIS generally occurs without signs and symptoms affecting other body parts. The milder versions do not cause pain or
movement issues. Family members or the teenager themselves, may notice one or more of the common signs of the condition such as an unevenness in the height of the shoulders, hips, or waist.
Occasionally one leg may appear longer than the other. A small number of affected teenagers develop a more severe, pronounced, and progressive spinal curvature. This may have impact on their breathing.
The term “idiopathic” means that the cause of this scoliosis is unknown. AIS more than likely develops from a combination of genetic and environmental factors and perhaps unique to the individual. Some studies have suggested that the abnormal spinal curvature may be due to hormonal problems, abnormal
bone or muscle growth, and/or unusual nervous system abnormalities. It is also likely that other factors exist that are yet to be identified. There are some suggestions that genes may be involved. AIS can be sporadic, meaning that it occurs in people with or without a family history of the condition. While the
inheritance pattern of AIS is unclear, having a close family member such as a parent, brother, or sister with it, increases a child’s risk of developing the condition.
Dr Ryan has had many years’ experience in helping patients of all ages, deal with scoliosis. He uses osteopathic methods and occasionally acupuncture to help with pain or range of movement (ROM) issues that may be related to the scoliosis curve. He is also experienced in the use of the unique methods based on the Isogai Dynamic Therapy model. This was developed by an osteopath, Dr. Kimiyoshi Isogai in Japan during the 1950’s and 1960’s. It is based on assessing and correcting abnormalities in the angle of the ball and socket joints of the hips where they may be seen to be the trigger for the abnormal curve development. It also uses gentle exercises designed to use the bodies healing mechanisms to correct the postural impacts
of the condition. The approach is based on the understanding that that a pelvic abnormality through hip joint strain alters the balance of the human spine. If this condition is untreated, it can make the person more prone to injury. Following years of research, Dr. Isogai found that a tilted pelvis is most often caused by a misalignment of the hip joints rather than differences in the lengths of the bones of the legs. One of the tenets of ‘Isogai-Dynamic-Therapy’ model is that correction of the hip joint angles will help to eliminate or reduce any difference in leg length. A tilted pelvis leads to the development of a sideways curve in the spine. This is known as an idiopathic scoliosis.
Sessions with Dr Ryan involve a combination of simple osteopathic correction of the hip angles and the teaching of easy to follow exercises at home.
References: The background information for AIS was accessed in February 2024 from Medline Plus, a USA Government web site
Images above are Courtesy of Freepik
The work of Dr Isogai was published in English in 1982. Unfortunately it is out of print. It may be available in secondhand book shops.