ZocdocAnswersHow can I diminish the visibility of my scoliosis?

Question

How can I diminish the visibility of my scoliosis?

I'm 18 years old, 6ft tall, male and 125 pounds. I have minor scoliosis it's starting to bother me, my left side is normal looking( its straight) but my right side is curved (inwards) and thinner than my other side. My right side I can see my rib cage. Aside from surgery how can I diminish the visibility of the curve. I've been trying to gain weight lately, would that help hide it? What about yoga?

Answer

I recommend that you discuss your concern with your physician. When you say that you have minor scoliosis that is starting to bother you, I assume that you're referring to either appearance or pain, or both; my answer will try to address both. Firstly, for the sake of explanation, I'll review the basics, which you likely already know. Scoliosis is an abnormal side to side curvature of the spine, which can also have some rotational aspect to it, causing the rib cage to rotate also, resulting in a more prominent 'rib hump' on one side versus the other. Even mild scoliosis, as in your case, can be visually noticeable in skinnier patients. While mild scoliosis can sometimes be 'corrected' with bracing, this depends on how mild a curvature you have, and has to occur before you are skeletally mature (usually in your mid-teens) so that spine growth and alignment can still be susceptible to bracing. As you are 18 years old, you are already skeletally mature, and while your curve could potentially worsen with age, your curve is probably what it is going to be from here on out. As such, there is nothing short of surgery to physically diminish the curvature of your spine. You are correct that being less skinny (i.e. gaining weight) does tend to hide scoliosis better, but I certainly wouldn't trade a visible curve for being 'overweight' either. That is, healthy weight gain in the form of lean muscle mass is better than unhealthy weight gain in the form of fat. Finally, I'm glad that you brought up yoga. Like I said, nothing short of surgery can physically correct your curvature (that includes manipulations, chiropractors, etc.), but yoga is fantastic for patients with back pain. Yoga helps to strengthen your core (abdominal) muscles and stretch your paraspinal back muscles (the muscles that line your spinal column), which are often the cause of back pain due to spasm from the abnormal curvature and rotation. If these conditions should ever really apply to you or someone you know, please contact your physician or call 911 in cases of emergency.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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