When observing an individual diagnosed with ‘scoliosis’, which is defined as a lateral curving of the spine, there are generally 2 types of curves observed. 1. An ‘S’ curve, and 2. A ‘C’ curve. This post is focusing on the former being the ‘S’ curve. A ‘S’ curve scoliosis is COMPENSATORY. A movement professional should be exploring what could be fueling this compensation, i.e. leg length, subluxation, etc. The reason that the ‘S’ curve happens is because of one very sensitive region of the body. Let’s see if you can find it.
Look at the picture and ask yourself what region of the spine seems to be least affected. If you answered the neck, then you are right. The neck is rich in receptors particularly in the upper cervical spine so much in fact that it will do anything possible to orient itself to the horizon. If a region of the spine has a problem that requires a lateral lean then the motion segments above that problem area will compensate to orient the neck parallel with the horizon. Otherwise, the neck would assume a position of lateral lean almost never seen in a ‘S’ type scoliosis. Therefore, the ‘S’ type scoliosis is a compensation to allow for the upper neck to ‘right’ itself while catering to the spinal dysfunction. So is the neck the problem? No…But it is responsible for creating the compensatory curve to allow itself to right. This paradigm is helpful in understanding why the body assumes a ‘S’ curve in response to the dysfunction.