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Decreased Mobility of the Spine

By Editorial Team (2)
February 14, 2022

Degenerative Disc Disease & Scoliosis

Each section of the spine has its own degree of mobility. The sections with the greatest mobility are the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) areas. The thoracic spine area (from the bottom of the neck to the base of the rib cage) is relatively mobile. The sacrum (the area just above the tailbone) and coccyx (the tailbone) cannot move at all. In many cases, limited mobility is a protective reaction of the body, which means the body tries to prevent the spine from being exposed to excessive stress and injury. The decrease in the ability to move often occurs following an injury.

Mobility may decrease slightly, as it does in the early stages of degenerative disc disease and scoliosis. It may also virtually disappear, as it does, for example, in diseases like ankylosing spondylitis, ankylosing hyperostosis.

When this condition occurs, the patient cannot turn just one section of the spine, he or she has to turn his whole body. It is also difficult to stoop, so they prefer to crouch down.

What is Scoliosis and Degenerative Disc Disease?

There are many people out there that have decreased mobility of the spine, and this condition is most often caused by scoliosis and degenerative disc disease. Although different factors and circumstances can bring about the decreased mobility of the spine, scoliosis and degenerative disc disease are the two most common ones. Both scoliosis and degenerative disc disease will be discussed in this article. To start, what is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is defined as a medical condition involving the irregular curvature of a person’s spine. This curvature is most often sideways and can either be in the form of a C- shape or an S-shaped curvature. This sideways curvature can indeed cause a decreased mobility of the spine in a person as it is not what a spine would usually look like.

Degenerative disc disease, on the other hand, is characterized by a pain and radiating weakness in the back that is caused by a degenerated disc or vertebra in your spinal cord. Disc degeneration usually occurs as a natural part of aging, but can sometimes be accelerated by stress and or a previous injury.

Most Common Causes of Scoliosis

Medical practitioners and specialists are still at a loss on what causes scoliosis, and scoliosis, up to know is still considered as an idiopathic condition. This means that in most cases involving scoliosis, (approximately 80%) have an unknown cause. But in the case where the cause of scoliosis is known, these are the most common causes of the condition:

This belongs to the remaining 20% cases of scoliosis where the causes are actually known:

  1. Non-Structural Scoliosis – Non-structural scoliosis involves a spine that is although curved, still remains fully functional as far as the person having the condition is concerned. This type of scoliosis is caused by a minor underlying condition which when treated, will revert your spine the way it was before scoliosis. 
  2. Structural Scoliosis – this type of scoliosis, on the other hand, produces a rigid curvature in the spine, which mostly means that it cannot be reversed. Structural scoliosis is most often caused by any one of these following conditions:
  • Past Injuries – past injuries, as well as trauma and infections that happen near your spine, can expedite the process of having scoliosis, and in most cases can even cause it.
  • Congenital Disorders – these types of disorders commonly include spina bifida, which means the irregular formation of the bones that can get worse as a person undergoes puberty.
  • Neurological Disorders – These disorders include Marfan’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy.

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Most Common Signs and Symptoms Associated with Scoliosis and Decreased Mobility of the Spine

The scoliosis symptom that will manifest itself in you and cause decreased mobility of the spine may vary from one person to the other. But most often, the symptoms of scoliosis although more or less the same in most cases, vary depending on the severity of the degree of the curvature. These are some of the most common signs and symptoms associated with scoliosis and decreased mobility of the spine:

      1. Uneven Posture – the most physical and immediate manifestation of scoliosis the unevenness in the posture of the person affected by the condition. The person affected with scoliosis might look as if perpetually leaning towards one side of the body.
      2. Back Pain – Back pain can be felt in some if not all cases of scoliosis. The pain can vary from being constant to short barely noticeable bouts of pain in your back. This is because there is more pressure towards one side of the body where the spine is leaning against. The pain, in severe cases, may radiate to neighbouring body parts such as the shoulders, neck, hips, and buttock.
      3. Limited Mobility of your back – When scoliosis happens, there is bound to be a decreased mobility of the spine. The decreased range of movement that is present in your spine can limit you from doing certain activities.
      4. Tiredness in a few areas of your spine

How to Treat Decreased Mobility of the Spine in the case of Scoliosis

Scoliosis can be treated in order to remedy the decreased mobility of your spine, and there are a number of ways to do this, such as:

  • Bracing – Bracing as a treatment to decreased mobility of the spine can be a viable treatment for children or teenagers, whose bones are continually growing.
  • Surgery – Surgery is reserved for severe cases of scoliosis to reduce the severity of the curvature of your spine.
  • Medications – medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen sodium can be prescribed to you by your doctor.

You may also be interested in What is back pain.

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