A certain degree of scoliosis malposition (curvature up to 10° Cobb) and minor scoliosis is common and only requires treatment in rare cases. However, at present we cannot predict in which patients these curvatures will deteriorate in future. Therefore it is useful in any case to gently train the back during everyday activity.
Scoliosis is a growth deformity. During youth, it develops and worsens at times of accelerated physical growth, for example during growth spurts around puberty.
It is therefore very important for scoliosis patients who are still growing to do active muscle training in order to stabilise the spinal column and keep it as upright as possible. Along with physiotherapy for strength and mobility training, you can perform daily independent back training with kybun to gently exercise and strengthen your back.
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Scoliosis is a lateral deviation from the longitudinal axis of the spinal column with rotation (twisting) of the vertebrae around the longitudinal axis and torsion of the vertebral bodies – accompanied by structural deformation of the vertebral bodies. This can no longer be straightened by the muscular system. The spinal column usually forms several, opposing curvatures that compensate each other in order to keep the body in balance (S-shape). Scoliosis can occur in all vertebrates including fish. In humans, scoliosis was first described and treated by the Greek physician Hippocrates.
The Cobb angle serves as a measurement for the assessment of scoliosis.
1. Following Lenke, the main curvatures (the most pronounced curvatures that are structurally fixed; also called primary curvatures) are named according to the height of their apex (centre of the curve):
- Upper thoracic: Apex of the curve between the vertebrae Th2 and Th6
- Thoracic: Apex of the curve between Th6 and intervertebral discs Th11/12
- Thoracolumbar: Apex of the curve between Th12 and L1
- Lumbar: Apex of the curve between intervertebral disk L1/2 and L4
2. Scoliosis is differentiated according to the curvature as follows:
- C-shaped scoliosis: Lenke type I and V
- S-shaped scoliosis: Lenke type II and III
- Double-S scoliosis (triple<em/>scoliosis): Lenke type IV and VI
The cause of scoliosis is not known in around 90 per cent of all cases. Three forms of idiopathic scoliosis are differentiated based on the age of onset:
- Infantile idiopathic scoliosis (IIS): Onset up to the age of three years
- Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis (JIS): Onset between the ages of four and ten years
- Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS): Onset after the age of eleven years
Idiopathic scoliosis has nothing to do with what is known as ‘infantile scoliosis’, which is usually only a short-term posture deviation in the first year of life.
Symptomatic scoliosis (secondary scoliosis)
The remaining 10 per cent of scoliosis cases are caused by the following:
- Malformation scoliosis due to congenital malformations of the vertebra, Klippel-Feil syndrome, spina bifida and others.
- Neuropathic scoliosis due to nerve and muscle diseases, for example cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy or poliomyelitis.
- Myopathic scoliosis due to muscular dystrophy or arthrogryposis.
- Scoliosis due to systemic diseases such as neurofibromatosis, skeletal dysplasia, osteogenesis imperfecta.
- Iatrogenic scoliosis, that is scoliosis caused by medical treatment (for example irradiation or because of scar formation after operations).
- Post-traumatic scoliosis caused by external force, amputations or tumour operations in the area of the spinal column.
- Static scoliosis due to leg length discrepancies
The progression of the curvature is directly proportional to the growth of the spine. Accordingly, the curvatures progress rapidly during the first five years of life and during growth spurts around puberty (between the ages of 11 and 15). Juvenile scoliosis occurring between the ages of five and 10, on the other hand, can remain stable for a long time until the onset of puberty.
Unexpected and rapid progression frequently occurs during growth spurts around puberty. Then, within a few months, scoliosis often reaches an extent that requires surgery. With scoliosis that occurred before puberty and that had barely deteriorated for a long time, many parents and therapists make an error in judgement so that the scoliosis is no longer monitored by a physician at the onset of puberty or therapeutic care is insufficient for the progression that can be expected.
With the most severe scoliosis, there is a risk that the vital capacity may be significantly restricted. This can overload the cardio-pulmonary circulation and cause pulmonary heart disease with a restriction in quality of life and reduced life expectancy. Limitations of this kind only occur with curvature angles greater than 80-90° Cobb.
The development of a rib hump and lumbar bulge are particularly common cosmetic problems. Back pain mainly occurs in patients with lumbar and thoracolumbar scoliosis as well as decompensated scoliosis. In patients with thoracic scoliosis, there are usually no or only minor pain symptoms. The occurrence of paralysis is not expected with idiopathic scoliosis. As a rule, this only develops with congenital or other secondary scoliosis.
Since scoliosis worsens in the majority of cases if it is not treated, early diagnosis is very important.
The onset of scoliosis is gradual and rarely causes the kind of pain that would make the affected individual consult a doctor. That is why a precautionary examination performed annually between the ages of 11 and 13 for girls or 12 and 14 years for boys, when idiopathic adolescent scoliosis typically develops, is required for early detection.
Depending on the severity of scoliosis, it is treated with physiotherapy (physiotherapeutic exercises), corsets and operations to stiffen the spine. Here one normally transitions from one treatment method to the next. 90 per cent of all scoliosis cases can be treated conservatively (with physiotherapy and corsets where appropriate) and do not require an operation.
Scoliotic malpositions up to 10° Cobb do not require treatment. Emerging scoliosis from 10–20° Cobb is treated with physiotherapy (physiotherapeutic exercises) to prevent further progression.
The objective of physiotherapy exercises in the treatment of scoliosis is to actively straighten the spinal column with subsequent muscular stabilisation.
Progressive scoliosis during adolescence in excess of 20° Cobb should be treated with scoliosis-specific physiotherapy and a corset that guides growth. The treatment goal is to prevent further worsening until growth stops, correct existing curvatures and maintain the corrections that have been achieved.
Under favourable conditions (corsets of high quality with good primary correction and a high level of compliance with the prescribed times for wearing the corset in therapy), conservative therapy (i.e. a corset in conjunction with physiotherapy) during adolescence can still achieve a virtually complete straightening of the spinal column or avert an impending operation in case of more severe curvatures.
An operation is indicated only when all conservative treatment options have been exhausted and adequate therapeutic success has not been achieved and can no longer be expected. During adolescence, the indication to operate depends on the tendency of the condition to worsen as well as the effectiveness of an alternative corset fitting. Without alternative therapy, it does not begin at less than 40° Cobb. Higher rates of disability and mortality are only expected when the curvature exceeds 80–90° Cobb. Because of these limitations, an operation is required as a rule with curvatures from this magnitude and up after growth is complete. At Cobb angles higher than 60°, the success of corrections through surgery decreases rapidly with a concurrent increase in surgical risk. Neuropathic or myopathic scoliosis is operated on much sooner (from a Cobb angle of 20°), since conservative treatment is not expected to succeed due to the lack of muscular stabilisation ability.
- It is especially important with scoliosis that tension in the core and superficial back musculature is relieved because this continuously increases pressure on the spine which causes even more severe lateral ‘buckling’.
The kybun shoe can relieve muscle tension through walking on the soft, elastic sole. This effect is felt after just a few minutes of walking in the kybun shoe. Over the long term, the muscular tissue will tense up far less thanks to active walking in the kybun shoe, especially the superficial musculature which is prone to tension.
- Thanks to the natural rollover of the feet on the soft, elastic kybun shoe sole, the body is automatically straightened, which means the spinal column becomes more extended, relieving strain.
- Once the back musculature is more relaxed and the spine more upright, a good basis has been established for the effective training of the stabilising back musculature (with kybun and physiotherapy), which in turn counteracts scoliosis. Symptoms such as pain are alleviated and, as a result, scoliosis therapy can be performed independently every day without expending additional time.
Long-term, positive effects on the back and the entire body:
Muscle strengthening and stretching in the kybun shoe
The kybun shoe has a soft, elastic sole that does not limit foot mobility but provides full freedom for unrestricted movement in all directions. Standing on the soft, elastic surface with the associated instability in the kybun shoe trains the muscular system and straightens the body. A one-sided relieving posture is prevented. The load on both sides of the body is even, which counteracts tension. The foot can move freely while walking the way nature intended. By eliminating the heel, the foot sinks deep into the sole even on hard, flat surfaces. This stretches and relaxes the musculature.
Upright posture on the kybun mat
Sitting for long periods of time, especially with poor posture, puts one-sided strain on the muscles and spinal column. Underused muscles get weaker and shorten over time. On the other hand, muscles under excessive one-sided strain respond by tensing up. This leads to neck, hip and back pain, and subsequently to further malpositions.
The muscles are stretched, relaxed and trained on the soft, elastic mat of the kybun mat, which brings the body into a natural, upright posture. This releases tension and imbalances. The standing and posture muscles are strengthened in a targeted manner. Back pain can be relieved by switching between tensing and relaxing the muscles.
Specific initial reactions with scoliosis:
Your body assumes a new posture when walking in the kybun shoe or standing on the kybun mat. You stand more upright than previously in ‘normal’ shoes with their stiffer soles. This is an unaccustomed challenge for your back, which has to get used to the different distribution of pressure. Therefore you can expect to tire faster when you walk in the kybun shoe or stand on the kybun mat than you did on a hard surface (in ‘normal’ shoes).
If you experience new, unfamiliar back pain in the kybun shoe, this is a sign that great demands are being placed on your body by using the kybun shoe. We advise you to perform the kybun exercises in this case and, if that is not sufficient, to take a short kybun break so your back can recover.
Once your back musculature is strong enough and your back is more relaxed, the initial reactions will be alleviated and you will be able to walk in the kybun shoe for increasingly longer periods.
Click here for the general initial reactions experienced by kybun mat and kybun shoe beginners: Initial reactions
For information about the special kybun shoe exercises or the basic kybun mat exercises, please click here: kybun exercises
The following adaptations to the standard implementation of interval walking are important in case of scoliosis :
- Focus on slow exercises
- Training the core stabilising musculature
- Always look straight ahead (improves posture)
- With slow exercises: imagine there is a thread attached to your head which is being pulled up
- Straightening the upper body
- During fast exercises: Clasp your hands in front of your stomach
- more energetic rotation of hips, back and shoulders
- Please wear the kybun shoe at the retail outlet for at least 5–10 minutes to give your body some time. You will feel how your body responds to the kybun Shoe and you can get advice to help you find an appropriate shoe.
- Walk as much as possible in the kybun shoe and do not spend too much time standing.
- We advise you to perform the kybun exercises regularly every now and again. They loosen your musculature and you are less likely to assume a passive posture, which puts strain on the back.
- Choose a kybun shoe with the slightly wider second generation sole. It provides you with greater midfoot stability. Ask your kybun dealer to show you the various models.
- If you experience severe fatigue even with the kybun exercises, feel pain or in case of lateral/medial rolling on the kybun sole, we advise taking a short kybun shoe/kybun mat break until the symptoms go away.
- Be sure to maintain an upright posture, avoid taking excessively long steps and keep your gaze forward (do not look at the floor). You should walk straight on the kybun shoe sole and correct any lateral/medial rolling of the ankle joint!
- Should your back pain continue even though you are following the application tips, please seek advice from your kybun dealer.
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