Scoliosis is a condition affecting the curvature of the spine, either to the right or to the left. Left untreated, it can often lead to chronic pain and deformity. Most instances of scoliosis are idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown and therefore we don’t know how to prevent it. (This begins most often in children.) However, adults may also develop scoliosis as the spine naturally degenerates with age — a condition known as adult degenerative scoliosis. The good news is this form of the disease may be preventable by establishing good posture habits before it becomes an issue.
When adult degenerative scoliosis develops, bad posture is usually the culprit, especially posturing that favors one side of the body over long periods of time. For example, if you have a habit of placing most of your weight on one foot while standing, or if you consistently carry a heavy bag over one shoulder and not the other, you’re effectively training your spine to favor one side of your body. When the vertebrae naturally degenerate with age, this may cause the spine to curve accordingly. Thus, correcting posture is one of the best ways to prevent the onset of adult degenerative scoliosis. To that end, here are a few tips to help you develop better posture habits.
Optimally, the spine is designed to support the weight of the head evenly. By practicing keeping your head squared with your shoulders while sitting or standing, your posture will improve. A good rule of thumb is to keep your ears aligned with your shoulders. When standing, either carry your weight on both legs equally or give each leg equal time.
If you work at a desk job or in front of a computer, your posture is automatically at risk. Try using an ergonomic chair with proper lumbar support or consider switching to a standing desk.
Sitting in place for long periods of time almost always leads to posture problems. Moving around once in awhile to break that cycle will help. A regular exercise program will help even more, as your core muscles get strengthened and become more limber when you exercise.
Heavy bags create posture problems even in children; heavy purses or shoulder bags continue the problem into adulthood. Either stop carrying the bag or make it as light as possible. If you must carry one, make sure you alternate shoulders so you don’t favor one over the other.
Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center is here to encourage ongoing spine health and preventative medicine whenever possible. To learn more about how to prevent adult degenerative scoliosis, call us today at 404-256-2633.