Massage Therapy for Scoliosis: Techniques, Symptoms, Signs, Prevention

What is Scoliosis?

The spine is a bony structure that runs straight down the back with a very mild curvature. It is the backbone in a human body. Scoliosis is a condition where this curvature increases and the spine resembles the letter “C” or “S.” Scoliosis can be congenital or occur later in life. Scoliosis ranges from being very mild where it is barely obvious, to extremely severe to the extent of causing disfigurement or deformity of the spine. Massage therapy does wonders in scoliosis. The main aim of the massage for spinal scoliosis is to decrease the tension present in the muscles so as to increase the blood circulation to the affected region. Given below is detailed information about Massage Therapy for Scoliosis.

Massage Therapy for Scoliosis

Signs and Symptoms of Scoliosis

  • Shoulder height discrepancy, i.e. uneven shoulders.
  • One-sided protruding shoulder blade (thoracic scoliosis).
  • Spine and pelvis is tilted towards one side.
  • Tiredness after prolonged standing or sitting.
  • Clothes don’t fit correctly.
  • Back pain may be present.
  • X-ray confirms the diagnosis.

Massage Therapy for Scoliosis

Required Equipment of Massage to Treat Scoliosis

The first and foremost equipment, which is required for a massage is a lubricant. This enables smooth gliding of hands during massage. For this purpose, massage oils can be used or simple baby oil will also suffice. Care should be taken not to use too much oil, as it will cause lack of control during massage. Apart from a lubricant, the other equipment needed is a firm and flat surface to lie upon during the massage.

Effleurage Massage Techniques for Scoliosis

  • The goal of effleurage is to initiate massage and for even oil application. It also helps in warming up the tissues in order to prepare them for deeper massages.
  • Using hands, massage lightly and firmly starting from the bottom towards the neck region.
  • Always stroke in an upward direction continuously in order to allow proper blood flow. Massaging in the opposite direction may cause damage to the veins.
  • Next, bring the hands down very slowly so as to keep the veins present in the back in contact.
  • This movement should be repeated using slow strokes and trying to cover as much as area as possible.

Petrissage Massage Techniques for Scoliosis

  • This is a kneading type of massage technique which helps in additional relaxing and warming up of the muscles. The palms or the knuckles are used in this massage technique.
  • Massage in a circular, kneading fashion on the upper and lower back region.
  • A firm, kneading pressure is applied using the hands. Half the muscle should be pulled towards you using the fingers of one hand and half the muscle should be pushed away using the thumb of the other hand. Then the direction of the massage should be changed to reverse.
  • Try to cover as much area as possible by working the hands up and down the muscle.
  • Petrissage technique can be alternated with effleurage to derive maximum benefit.

How to Prevent Scoliosis

  • Carrying heavy bags on one shoulder should be avoided. A rucksack type bag should be used and make sure that it is worn in a correct manner.
  • Adolescents or children who are still growing should undergo routine scoliosis screening to detect early development of scoliosis.
  • For athletes who are involved in one sided sports such as javelin, hurdles or tennis, they should throw or hit a few times with the other arm. This helps in preventing scoliosis in the future.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 31, 2019

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