Do you experience back and neck pain?
Or abnormal rounding of the back and shoulders?
Pain and weakness which radiates to the arms and legs?
If so, these are all signs you may have a medical issue which affects the spinal column.
Your spine is the core of your body. Because it’s so intimately related with so many different parts, spinal injuries or conditions can significantly impact your quality of life.
However, there are treatment solutions which can help.
At Capitol Physical Therapy, we provide physical therapy in Washington DC and the surrounding areas, and we can help you address spinal issues.
Keep reading to learn more about some of the spinal issues our therapists can help treat.
Physical Therapy Treatments For Scoliosis
Scoliosis is a spine condition which is generally found in children and teens.
It is fairly common, with approximately three million new cases diagnosed every year.
The spine has a natural curvature to it, which looks like an “S” shape from the side. If you’re looking at a spine from the side, the neck and lumbar areas should curve slightly forward, and the thoracic spine curves slightly towards the back.
If the spine curves side-to-side in an “S” shape or a “C” shape it could be a sign of scoliosis. Scoliosis is often diagnosed early in a child’s life, and regular check-ups are needed to monitor the progression of the disease over time.
Some of the common signs and symptoms of scoliosis include:
- Chronic pain
- Back pain
- Rotation of the spine
- Hips and waist which are uneven
- Shoulder blades which are uneven/one higher than the other
- Difficulty breathing due to inability to fully expand the lungs
- A general asymmetry of the body
- Pelvis, hip, and shoulder pain
In many cases the cause of scoliosis is difficult to pinpoint.
When the cause is known, it is often due to one of the following reasons:
- Infections or injuries of the spine
- Spinal bifida or other birth defects which impact the bones
- Muscular dystrophy
- Cerebral palsy
- Genetic factors
- Neurological issues
The specific treatment for scoliosis will depend on a variety of factors, including age, the severity of the curvature, and whether you are fully grown or continuing to grow.When visiting a physical therapist, common methods of treatment include:
- Strength training
- Functional training
- Manual therapy
- Range of motion exercises
- Education and information
These therapies are often used in conjunction with treatments such as bracing or surgery.
The goals of these therapies and treatments are to prevent further curvature of the spine and maintain strength and mobility.
Physical Therapy Treatments For Cervical Dystonia
A much rarer condition than scoliosis is cervical dystonia, or spasmodic torticollis.
Cervical dystonia is a painful condition in which the neck muscles involuntarily contract, resulting in the head twisting to one side.
Next we will take a closer look at physical therapy for this condition.
Cervical dystonia consists of muscle contractions in the neck, which results in twisting of the head in a number of different ways, including:
- Moving the chin down
- Moving the chin up
- Bringing the ear towards the shoulder
- Bringing the chin towards the shoulder
The cause of cervical dystonia is largely unknown.
It can appear in some individuals who have suffered head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
There may also be a genetic component.
Other risk factors can include age – it tends to be more common in people over 30, and sex – it generally appears more frequently in cisgender women than in men. This makes it both a physical therapy women’s health issue, and a physical therapy for seniors’ health issue.
Treatment for cervical dystonia is focused on relieving its symptoms.
General practices which can help provide treatment for this condition can include:
- Weight training to strengthen target muscle groups
- Stress reduction techniques
- Body awareness to practice proper posture
- Maintaining proper ergonomics and alignment through use of aids such as keyboard trays
- Developing a regular exercise program
Physical Therapy For Spinal Stenosis
Your spinal cord is a highway of nerves that send signals from your brain to the rest of your body.
Normally, these nerves are protected by bone and tissue around them.
Spinal stenosis is a condition where the spaces in your spinal cord begin to narrow.
This usually happens gradually, and at first you might not notice any symptoms. But if it progresses, it can put pressure on your spinal nerves.
There are different types of spinal stenosis, including:
- Lumbar spinal stenosis – in your lower back
- Cervical spinal stenosis – in your neck
- Foraminal stenosis – in your foramen – your bone openings
- Tandem spinal stenosis – in more than one area of your spine
Spinal stenosis is most frequently a result of aging. You can also be born with it. It can also be caused by:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Spinal tumor
- Spinal injuries
- And others
The symptoms of spinal stenosis typically start mild and progress over time.
- Difficulty balancing
- Lower back pain
- Pain while walking
- Pain while standing
- Weakness in your arms
- Weakness in your legs
- Numbness in your legs
- Numbness in your buttocks
You might feel better after sitting for a while, but even if you do, your symptoms will return once you stand up.
If you suspect you may have spinal stenosis, your physical therapist can help. After ruling out other conditions, your physical therapist will work with you to put together a treatment plan that relieves your symptoms while addressing their root cause.
Depending on your unique needs, your physical therapist may recommend:
Physical Therapy Exercises For Spinal Issues
As you can see, there are a wide variety of different issues that can affect your spine, and a variety of physical therapy treatments for spinal issues that can help.
One common treatment we use is to provide physical therapy exercises for spinal issues.
We can provide physical therapy exercises for a variety of different conditions including:
- Physical therapy exercises for scoliosis
- Physical therapy exercises for spinal stenosis
- Physical therapy exercises for lowerback pain
- Neck exercises for cervical stenosis
- Exercises for cervical radiculopathy
- Exercises for degenerative disc disease
- Exercises for herniated discs
- And more
Physical Therapy For Other Spinal Issues
Other spinal issues we can help with include:
- Herniated disc
- Spinal fractures
- Spinal stenosis
- Kyphosis (excessive rounding of the upper back)
- Disc degeneration
- And many more
Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy
Have you noticed an irregular posture in your child and you want to get it checked out by a professional?
Or perhaps you’ve noticed spinal issues and radiating pain which you want to get checked out yourself.
If you have symptoms related to your spine or back which are concerning to you, Capitol Physical Therapy can help.
One of our qualified physical therapists will meet with you to learn more about your lifestyle, background and the source of any concerns you may have.
Contact us today for more information or to book an appointment.