Hi there: I've read all your replies, and see that Dingo has linked to a study on young athletes and scoliosis. There are several more studies out there, showing that scoliosis appears to be more common in certain sports, such as ballet, tennis, swimming etc. (sports with asymetrical loading of the spine). Javelin throwing was also mentioned.
Muscle imbalance ALONE cannot "cause" AIS. It is pretty agreed upon by all the posters so far, and the research community, that AIS is multifactoral and likely has some neurologic components.
Functional scoliosis can certainly be CAUSED by imbalance however (non deformed bones, curves in standing that disappear in supine). This categery contains some of the scoliotic athletes, people with serious trunk imbalances, leg length discrepancy and herniated discs.
As a person who spends nearly all day evaluating joints, muscles, and the integrated function of the body segments, I do agree that most people have differences in muscle balance. Often I am asked the chicken-egg question - did the muscle imbalance cause the problem, or did something ELSE cause the problem that led to the muscle imbalance? Sometimes the question is unaswerable, but the treatment approach is often - doesn't really matter which came FIRST, the point is, you've got the painful condition now, and the imbalances must be corrected to solve the problem.
Originally Posted by Pooka1
Re: point #2 above, Pooka1:
Your method for determining this is, I assume, observation of the rider with your eyes. So though you may see something "very marked" you have no way of knowing which tissues the imbalance is. In one rider, it could be a weak arm due to a rotator cuff strain, in another it could be internal scarring from their abdominal surgery that makes their pelvis turn a certain way. In another it might be "habit" or uncoordination, and not strength at all.
I do not think that points 1 and 2 lead automatically to point 3. Stong vs. weak must be detrermined from observation, followed by a comprehensive physical exam including many specific strength tests.
While I don't think imbalance CAUSES scoliosis, it is certainly a hallmark symptom of the disease, and needs to be addressed. The research community does know a lot about the integrated functioning of the musculoskeletal system, but it doesn't know a lot too .... what if muscle training to correct imbalances has an effect on the neurological system such that that effect of the as-yet-unknown cause of bony wedging could be dampenned? Bones are living tissues constantly being degraded and rebuilt and remodelled..... just a thought. Anyone seen an article on this?
- 34 year old physiotherapist
- main curve of 3 is mid-thoracic convex, approx 37 d.
- my goal: to stay as upright, strong and painfree as I can, as long as I can.