There is a way that the spinal cord should curve but in some people it bends more than usual. Viewed from the back, a normal spine looks straight but in people with Scoliosis theirs looks C or S shaped on an X-ray machine. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with this disease you must be worried about many things. Top among your concerns must be running with Scoliosis. This is especially true for budding athletes who are now faced with this issue. Can one still run and do other athletic activities with Scoliosis? Find out all the answers you need.
Causes, Signs and Symptoms
According to the Children’s Hospitals of Philadelphia, 2 to 3 percent of the population is affected by Scoliosis. This means that it affects millions of people. In most cases, there is no known cause and it is referred to as Idiopathic Scoliosis. Genetics and gender (girls are more affected) seem to be risk factors. This disease is mainly diagnosed in childhood between the ages of 10 and 18. The doctor will use x-rays and physical exams to determine if a child is affected.
The signs and symptoms of Scoliosis include:
- Changes in posture.
- Uneven shoulders.
- One hip seems higher than the other.
- Back pain.
- Breathing difficulty (in severe cases).
If one has any or several of the above signs and symptoms, he or she should be checked and a diagnosis made.
Scoliosis Treatment Options
The appropriate treatment recommended by your physician will depend on the angle at which the curve is seen. For curves less than 25 degrees, only observation is needed. Regular doctor visits will be arranged to check if the angle is increasing and only then will appropriate treatment be given.
For curves at 25 to 40 degrees or smaller angles that keep growing, braces are recommended. Worn properly, braces can slow and even stop curves from increasing. They will need to be worn as long as the child’s skeleton is still growing. Proper use of these braces is very important. Combined with physiotherapy for Scoliosis, the curve angle may be reduced and the child can lead a normal active life.
45 to 50 degree curves require surgical corrections. These surgeries have possible complications that your doctor will discuss with you. Weigh the options properly before making your decision. It is advisable to try non-surgical interventions first.
The treatment option to choose will depend on the goals of the treatment which may include reducing pain, stopping progression of the curve and preventing respiratory issues.
Does Scoliosis Affect Running Abilities
Scoliosis athletes will have harder time running than people with normal spines. The curve along the spine may cause discomfort and pain when one tries to run. With pain, you cannot run as fast or as much as you want. Another issue is that some people with Scoliosis have low lung capacity which affects their breathing. If you are not breathing well, running may harm you. Does this mean that people with Scoliosis can never run? Absolutely not!
Running with Scoliosis is possible so long as proper care is taken and becoming an athlete is possible with hard work. You should consult a doctor before you start running with Scoliosis. He or she will recommend a treatment option that will allow you to run. These may include wearing braces or physiotherapy sessions to get your body in shape for running. Once the doctor as given you the green light you can start running. Remember to start slow and stop if you feel any pain and seek medical attention.
Useful Running Tips
1. Stretches and Exercise
Running should not be your only form of exercise. With Scoliosis, your muscles get really tight and the only way to loosen them is through exercise and stretching. Do warm-ups before starting the run so as to loosen tight muscles, increase oxygen supply and increase flexibility among other benefits.
2. Physiotherapist appointments
This is a Scoliosis treatment option that can help many runners get back on track. Physiotherapists in Singapore will help strengthen the muscles and increase flexibility. It treats muscle imbalance which puts your body in shape for running. This scoliosis treatment also treats posture issues and corrects movement errors. Whether you are using braces or not, you will benefit from having physio sessions.
3. Start slow
Scoliosis athletes should take it easy. Start running slow then increase the speed as you progress. The distance should also be increased gradually. Taking things too fast can cause you an injury. Build your stamina slowly.
4. Assume the correct running posture
Running should be done in an erect posture. The back should be straight, the head up and the shoulders at the same level. Assume this posture throughout the run even when you are tired. Keep your shoulders and hands relaxed at all times to avoid tightening of the back muscles.
5. Get proper footwear and footing
Just like all runners, those with Scoliosis need to have good running shoes. Invest in a good pair of trainers so your feet are comfortable throughout the run. As for the footing, you should always land on the midfoot, not on the heel or the toes. The toes should always face the direction towards which you are running.
6. Take short quick strides
Instead of bouncing off the ground and taking long strides, aim for short quick strides. The latter ensures good shock absorbance by the body. The chances of injury are really low with this running style.
The Fastest Man in the World Has Scoliosis
You know that Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world but do you know that he has Scoliosis? If he overcame this challenge and went on to become an Olympic medalist, you can too. It is possible for people with Scoliosis to run and run fast. You only need to be dedicated and make the right decisions. Bolt attributes his success to working hard. Scoliosis athletes should follow in his steps and work hard to achieve their dreams. With proper advice from doctors and the help of physiotherapists in Singapore, you can run even with Scoliosis.