Scoliosis can hurt more than just the back. It can damage other parts of the body as well. Back and neck pain is a common complaint of adults with the condition, even though they aren't common in children and teens. Neck pain from scoliosis is often caused by a lack of mobility in the cervical spine (neck). This is especially true for scoliosis that starts in the cervical spine.
Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that can happen anywhere from the neck to the lower back. Since scoliosis makes the spine stiff, a loss of mobility in the cervical spine can cause the head to be in the wrong place and cause neck pain.
Scoliosis can hurt in different ways and different parts of the body. Again, every case is other because many critical patient and condition characteristics affect how a person lives with the condition. These include the patient's age, the severity of the condition, the type of condition, and where the curvature is.
As was already said, scoliosis isn't usually painful for children and teens. Still, it should be noted that about 20% of teens with scoliosis experience back or muscle pain.
It's important to know that the spine's natural curves and alignment are kept by more than just its bones and joints. The muscles around the spine also help support and stabilise it.
As was already said, the irregular forces caused by scoliosis put pressure not only on the spine but also on the muscles and nerves around it. When scoliosis causes changes in posture that throw off the body's overall balance, the muscles have to work harder to counteract these changes and still support the spine.
Since spinal stiffness can increase in proportion to the magnitude of a scoliotic curve, neck pain is a common complaint when the cervical spine is affected by scoliosis, especially in adults or in cases that are worsening.
Even though every case is different, the bigger the abnormal curvature of the spine, the more likely it is to cause changes in posture and pressure on the spine, its muscles, and nerves.
Reduced mobility due to spinal stiffness can lead to various structural issues. The inability of vertebrae in a scoliotic spine to move contributes to worsening posture changes as the body attempts to accommodate the curve.
A condition called "military neck" is an excellent example of how bad posture can cause more pain and structural problems (although more common in adults).
The military neck, also called "cervical kyphosis," is a condition in which the natural forward curve of the spine is lost, leaving the neck too straight.
If scoliosis has affected the cervical spine and caused disc degeneration, changes in posture, or other structural problems, the military neck can develop as a related condition. On the other hand, poor posture can also cause an army neck, which, if left untreated, can cause structural problems that can lead to other issues in the spine.
Military neck got its name because it makes people look like they are standing at attention.
When someone has a military neck, their posture changes; this change, called "forward-head posture," puts more weight on the neck and spine, which support the head. This causes terrible tension and can mess up the biomechanics of the whole spine.
Also, the change in posture caused by the loss of cervical kyphosis puts stress on the muscles that support the cervical spine. This is because the muscles must work harder to keep the head as it gets heavier.
For this reason, proactive scoliosis treatment focuses on the entire spine, not just the area where the aberrant curvature is present.
The military neck can cause different problems with the spine, such as deformations of the dura, the spinal cord, and the nerve roots in the cervical canal because it is caused by bad mechanical tension. The condition can also cause the arteries in the neck to stretch and squeeze, which can slow blood flow to the brain.
Patients with scoliosis with neck pain can also have tension headaches as another symptom.
When the muscles in your neck are stiff and tight because you don't move them enough, this can cause lousy tension in your head, leading to varying severity headaches.
Also, scoliosis can stop the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) through the spinal canal. CSF cushions and protects the brain and spine, getting nutrients to the brain and eliminating waste from the spinal cord.
Abnormal curves can cause changes in the amount of CSF in the brain in the spine. These changes can cause painful headaches and, in some cases, migraines.
As we've already said, a loss of motion is the cause of a lot of scoliosis-related pain, and neck pain is no different. Let's move on to how a loss of motion is diagnosed and treated.
So, to answer the question, scoliosis can hurt your neck. Yes, it definitely can. Even though each case is different, the location of the curve has a lot to do with whether or not it causes neck pain. Abnormal cervical curves are closest to the neck, and thoracic curves are more likely to cause neck pain than lumbar curves.