Scoliosis: Part 1

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is described as a medical condition whereby a person’s spine curves either laterally or rotationally in a C-shape or an S-shape. Commonly it starts when boys and girls reach puberty. Most research show girls showing signs of scoliosis around 11 years of age while boys show signs a little later around 12. In clinical practice however, some children develop deviations as young as 9 years old due to poor posture at school and the use of iPads, tablets, mobile devices and laptops.

What does Scoliosis look like?

Scoliosis could present in many ways. Most younger patients have aches or pains in their upper back and lower back. Some report daily headaches or headaches after a long day at school. Commonly seen are slight deviations in the child’s upper back or shifting of their body posture as well as one shoulder raising higher than the other. Parents should look out to notice if the child’s clothes are not hanging properly and if they have a shoulder blade that is slightly protruding on one side more than the other.

How do we diagnose scoliosis?

There are some simple ways to test for scoliosis at home. Examinations of the child’s range of motion in his/her thoracic spine and lumbar spine (upper and lower back) would show imbalance and inconsistencies when compared left to right. In clinic we perform the Adam’s test which acts as a good general screening tool. This test can be performed seated or standing and can reveal deviations in the patient’s upper and lower back. A scoliometer or inclinometer is another easily performed screening.

However, I would always recommend patients suspected of having scoliosis to get x-rays done. X-rays are the easiest and definitive way of measuring a patient’s scoliosis progression. This is done by measuring The Cobb angle between the most tilted vertebrae at the top and bottom of the curve.

Am I at risk of scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a genetic condition that if one parent has, has a 30% chance of passing on to their children. 2:1 chances to the female. In clinic however, I see an equal number of male to female patients when it comes to scoliosis. Some vary from a slight deviation (less than 15 degrees curvature) to mild-moderate scoliosis (20-30 degrees). Genetic scoliosis would be considered Idiopathic scoliosis where the condition arises from an unknown source or beginning.

There are however cases of non-idiopatic scoliosis. This could be congenital where there is a malformation of the vertebrae at birth such as a hemivertebrae, unilateral bar or blocked vertebrae. This could also be linked genetically but malformations could also be caused by certain toxic agents or diseases. Neuromuscular scoliosis is where the spinal column muscles are injured or weak. This includes spina bifida, cerebral palsy and other spinal cord injuries. Other kinds of non-idiopathic scoliosis could be caused by a weakness in passive stabilizers such as post-operative patients, Marfan’s syndrome and inflammatory diseases.

Who can help me with my scoliosis?

At Healthworks, we have a team of chiropractors, physiotherapists and physical trainers who are experienced and have helped many scoliosis patients and cases live a healthy, balanced and regular life with scoliosis. Scoliosis is NOT a disease that has to cause you pain and discomfort! As we say at Healthworks, if you have scoliosis, your spine is simply bent not broken! Come see us and let us help you today.

Scoliosis: Part 12019-07-23T05:51:01+08:00

Walking To A Better Health

Physical inactivity has led to many health problems, physically or mentally.  It increases all causes of mortality, double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression and anxiety. At Healthworks, physical inactivity is a leading cause for neck and low back pain. With today’s technology, we no longer have the need to move. Everything that we want is just a click away and will arrive to our doorstep within a few minutes. Walking which is a simple yet easily forgotten exercise, helps us to combat physical inactivity. So here are few health benefits that walking can help.

Walking which is a cardio exercise, helps to improve the function of the cardiovascular system. It works like beta-blocker medication to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure (at rest and also when exercising). Next, it improves the muscles’ ability to draw oxygen from the circulating blood. This reduces the need for the heart—a muscular organ itself—to work harder to pump more blood to the muscles, whatever your age.

Walking is also a great exercise and helps you lose weight. American scientists designed an experiment where obese patients walked together (a concept known as the ‘walking bus’) to their destinations in and around the city. After 8 weeks, their weight was checked, and more than 50% of the participants lost an average of 5 pounds. Therefore, it might be a good idea to start walking to and from your nearby destinations, instead of driving your car.

Cancer is prevalent amongst people who have a sedentary lifestyle. Scientists have found that walking can help in weight loss, thereby reducing the risk of cancer. Walking has been found to be helpful for those undergoing cancer treatment by reducing the side effects of chemotherapy. It can also lower the risk of breast cancer.

By walking an average of 30 minutes a day, you will be able to maintain your day-to-day functional capabilities. Most people with chronic pain who are not engaged with any form of exercises are usually limited in their functions.  Walking like other exercises increases the endorphin production in your body. Endorphins inhibit your pain by binding to the opioid receptors in your brain, and they work similar to opioid pain medications like oxycodone or morphine. This means that walking not only helps you maintain your functional capabilities, but it can also reduce your experience of chronic lower back pain.

Lastly, working out in a gym or going to specific gym class might cost you, walking however is an exercise which doesn’t require any monetary expenses. All it needs is your time. You can do it on your own time and you can do it mostly anywhere which allows you to walk.

If you have any question based on this article, feel free to WhatsApp us at 018-9828539 or visit us at our website at www.myhealthworks.com.my.

Walking To A Better Health2019-07-16T02:50:09+08:00

Paediatric Physiotherapy

Paediatric Physiotherapy is now available in Healthworks.

Our physiotherapist is specifically trained to improve the quality of life and daily activities of children, aged birth through adolescence, who are experiencing functional limitations or disability due to trauma or who may suffer from various conditions ranging from cerebral palsy to neuromuscular disorders.

Few frequently asked questions:

1. What is Pediatric Physiotherapy?
Paediatric Physiotherapy focuses on child development, particularly in relation to the development of movement.

2. Who can benefit from Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy can benefit anyone who has difficulties with their physical skills:
• Cerebral Palsy
• Gross Motor Delay
• Coordination Problem
• Down Syndrome
• Spina Bifida
• Hypotonia
• Torticollis
• Genetic Disorder

3. What role can parents play?
Parents and caregivers are encouraged to join in the sessions. Some physiotherapy program have components where parents and caregivers can be involved in.

To find out more or to schedule an appointment for your child, please contact us at 03-6211 7533 or email contact@myhealthworks.com.my.

Paediatric Physiotherapy2019-08-20T06:14:07+08:00

Low Back Pain Series: Why Do We Have Back Pain?

Our low back is made up of bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and discs. Any injuries to these structures will result in pain or discomfort at the low back region. In more severe cases, individuals will experience symptoms such as numbness, tingling, shooting pain and tiredness radiating down their legs.

  1. Muscle or ligament strain

Muscles and ligaments of the body is involved in active movement of the low back. A constant bad posture during sitting, standing or lifting heavy weights can strain the back muscles and spinal ligaments. The low back is made up of few layers of muscles, each with their own specific functions. With weak deep postural muscles, they become fatigue much quicker. Hence, the superficial muscles will have to work harder to compensate for the weakness. This will lead to overuse of the superficial muscles- causing muscle spasms, myofascial trigger points formation and general tightness of the low back.

  1. Discs

The intervertebral discs can be found in between two spinal vertebrae, it acts as a shock absorber to decrease the pressure on spinal vertebrae. A healthy disc is high in water content and it is contained within strong fibrous structures. However, due to degeneration- as a result of overuse, or aging and sudden trauma, the disc material can leak out of the fibrous tissue and irritate a nerve. This condition is commonly known as a slipped disc. There are several stages of slipped disc, each with its own diagnostic criteria and specific sets of symptoms. Further information can be found on two other articles titled Disc Herniation on our website.

  1. Bones

Any disease of the bone such as arthritis, skeletal irregularities and osteoporosis can lead to low back pain too. Arthritis in the spine can lead to the narrowing of spinal canals affecting the nerve that passes through them. This condition is called a spinal stenosis. A curvature of the spine otherwise known as scoliosis can also lead to muscle imbalance, resulting in pain and discomfort. With osteoporosis, our bones become more brittle and porous. Hence, they might result in compression fractures.

People of all ages, gender and races can develop low back pain. However, several factors as listed below might contribute to the higher prevalence of low back pain.

  • Age

As mentioned in the first chapter of this low back pain series, our probability of acquiring low back pain increases with age. Starting around 30 and 40 years old.

  • Low physical activity

Weak, unused low back muscles can lead to low back pain.

  • Excess weight

An increase in body weight puts extra stress on the structures of the lower back.

  • Diseases

Some types of arthritis (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc) and cancer can contribute to low back pain.

  • Bad posture during lifting

Lifting heavy weights in the wrong posture can lead to strained muscles as a result of awkward position. The muscle is working in the wrong biomechanics.

  • Smoking

Smoking affects our cardiovascular health, this reduces blood flow to the lower spine. This hinders delivering of nutrients to the discs, directly decreasing the disc health.

Stay tuned for the final chapter of this low back pain series where I will discuss ways to prevent low back pain. As a chiropractor, we strongly believe that prevention is better than cure.

Feel free to contact us at contact@myhealthworks.com.my or 018-9828539 for further inquiries.

Low Back Pain Series: Why Do We Have Back Pain?2019-07-03T06:58:11+08:00
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