Here's what we always tell the parents of children with scoliosis: the sooner we are able to start your child's scoliosis exercises, the better our chance of preventing further progression and avoiding the need for spinal fusion surgery.
However, in order for the exercises to be effective, the patient must be old enough to follow simple instructions and actively work on certain muscle groups.
We have successfully treated many young children from the age of 4 upwards. Younger children may benefit from some hands-on manipulation and massage therapy, but they cannot reap all the benefits of our ScolioGold programme because they are less able to follow our therapists' instructions and carry out all of the necessary exercises.
Keep a close eye on your child's back as they go through their teenage years
In most cases, the question of whether or not the patient is old enough to undergo scoliosis treatment never arises. Scoliosis normally doesn't become apparent until a child goes through puberty; the appearance of a spinal curve usually coincides with the major growth spurt that tends to occur at this stage of a person's life.
Still, while it is far less common, scoliosis can also be present from birth. This is known as either congenital scoliosis or neuromuscular scoliosis. In these cases, patients are often braced from a very young age to prevent progression as much as possible.
Key signs and symptoms
Back pain is a common complaint in both children and adults with scoliosis. The NHS outlines several other signs to look out for:
- A visibly curved spine
- Leaning to one side
- Uneven shoulders
- One shoulder or hip sticking out
- Ribs sticking out on one side
- Clothes not fitting well
Compliance is important
The results achieved through our ScolioGold exercises are strongly dependent on the patient's commitment and compliance. This is something that varies based on the child's personality; if you're wondering whether or not your child is old enough for a Scoliosis SOS treatment course, you should also consider whether or not they would be happy to follow our instructions.
ScolioGold exercises are repetitive and easy enough for children to follow. Shorter, specially-tailored exercise programmes are available for younger patients based on their maturity level. These programmes aim to turn treatment into play to help engage little ones during their therapy.
If you have any concerns regarding your son/daughter's spine, please contact Scoliosis SOS online or call 0207 488 4428 to arrange a radiation-free spinal scan.
Sciatica is a fairly broad medical term that usually refers to a painful or tingling sensation in and around the legs. Up to 43% of the population will experience sciatica at some point in their lives, although this depends on how strictly you define the condition.
What does sciatica feel like?
Different people experience different sensations when suffering from sciatica. Some experience stabbing or shooting pains, while others describe the feeling as numb and tingly, not unlike pins and needles.
These sensations may occur in any of the following body parts:
- Legs (especially the backs of the legs)
Sciatica usually affects just one side of the body, but it has been known to cause pain / numbness in both sides.
What causes sciatica?
Sciatica arises when the sciatic nerve, which runs from the hip down through the leg, is irritated. This can occur for a wide variety of reasons, including (but not limited to):
- A herniated spinal disc ('slipped disc')
- Spinal stenosis
- Trauma (e.g. from a car crash or sporting accident)
Can scoliosis cause sciatica?
Yes, it can. While sciatica isn't one of the more common symptoms of scoliosis, the two conditions can occur simultaneously, and in some cases, the patient's spinal curve may indeed be the underlying cause of their sciatica.
There are a number of ways in which a curved spine may lead to sciatica (or symptoms that are virtually indistinguishable from sciatica). The most common causes are:
- Pinched nerve – When the spine curves and twists out of its normal position, it may press up against the sciatic nerve, resulting in pain or a loss of feeling.
- Putting more weight on one leg than the other – An individual with a twisted spine may end up walking differently, shifting more weight onto one leg to compensate for the change in their posture. While this in itself won't result in sciatica, the overburdened leg may begin to feel painful after a while, and this pain may be mistaken for sciatica.
In other cases, the patient's scoliosis and their sciatica may both be caused by the same underlying condition. As mentioned above, spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis are known to cause sciatica, and both conditions can result in a curvature of the spine as well. To read about how stenosis and spondylolisthesis are linked to scoliosis, click on the corresponding links above.
If you're experiencing pain or discomfort as a result of scoliosis, the Scoliosis SOS Clinic can help. Our ScoliGold treatment method has proven extremely effective in the treatment of patients with curved spines – get in touch now to arrange a consultation.
The Grand National horse race is fast approaching, and this always raises a lot of questions for our scoliosis patients who are keen riders.
Horse riding is a very enjoyable hobby, and one that many ScolioGold patients are very passionate about. However, it can cause problems due to the high impact placed on the rider's lower spine.
Can I still ride a horse if I have scoliosis?
The advice we give to all of our patients is that they never have to give up on the things they are passionate about. The simple answer is to ensure that you exercise properly in order to maintain a strong core. This should give you the ability to support the spine in a balanced symmetric position.
We also recommend that our patients pay attention to their hip position and keep an even weight across their pelvis. This can be a challenge for scoliosis patients, who often have one hip higher than the other (which causes uneven weight distribution). However, this can be corrected through specific ScolioGold exercises and strengthening the muscles surrounding the spine.
Did you know?
Horse riding is actually recommended by many health professionals, as it can encourage good posture and promote a strong core when done correctly.
People we've helped
We have treated lots of horse riders with scoliosis. One of them - Rosie from Twickenham - was featured in her local newspaper (see clipping above) after we helped her to overcome the pain and discomfort that was threatening to put her out of the saddle for good.
Another keen rider, Madhav, travelled to London from Kolkata to undergo treatment at our clinic. Watch the video below to hear his story.
If you have any further questions about scoliosis and how it may affect your ability to ride, please contact Scoliosis SOS today and we will be able to offer you help and advice, either in person or over the phone (our number is 0207 488 4428).
While even a minor spinal curvature can have a huge impact on an individual's life, scoliosis tends to be particularly problematic when the curve measures 40 degrees or more.
As we've explained previously in our guide to Cobb angle measurements, UK medical professionals usually recommend surgery when a scoliosis patient's spinal curve reaches 40 degrees (although in some other countries, the threshold is 50 degrees instead). Spinal fusion remains by far the most commonly-used surgical method for correcting curvatures of the spine, and so this is the procedure that most people with 40-degree scoliosis end up undergoing.
READ MORE: What Happens During Scoliosis Surgery?
Is there an alternative to surgery for people with 40-degree scoliosis?
While surgery is the most frequently-recommended treatment option for spinal curves measuring 40+ degrees, it is not the only path available.
Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we often treat scoliosis patients with curves of 40 degrees and up, and we have consistently found that our non-surgical, exercise-based treatment programme can eliminate the need for surgical intervention altogether.
VIEW TREATMENT RESULTS: Before & After X-Rays
Case Study: Ahda from Malaysia
Ahda Khalil, a 12-year-old girl from Malaysia, came to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in late 2016 because she didn't want to undergo surgery for her condition. Ahda's scoliosis had already passed the 40-degree mark, and several surgeons in Kuala Lumpur had told her family that surgery was the only viable option, but after conducting some research on the Internet they travelled to London and Ahda completed a ScolioGold treatment course under the supervision of our highly-trained physiotherapists.
If you'd like to hear the full story, please watch this video interview with Ahda and her father:
How do we treat 40-degree scoliosis?
The ScolioGold method incorporates a number of proven non-surgical techniques into a wide-ranging treatment programme that's specifically tailored to the needs of people with scoliosis (and other curvatures of the spine).
Here are just a few of the methods we currently utilise on our scoliosis treatment courses:
If you would like to book a Scoliosis SOS consultation for yourself or a loved one, please fill out our online form or give us a call on 0207 488 4428.
The London Marathon is fast approaching, and if you're preparing to take part in the run, it's even more important than usual for you to look after your back.
Back issues can result from all manner of activity and inactivity. Lots of runners experience lower back pain; this is due to the repetitive stress and impact on the body for a significant stretch of time.
If all the bones in the vertebrae and the other vertebral articulations are functioning well, then running should not cause any problems. It is when these vertebrae are aggravated that runners experience back pain.
Lower back pain is common among new runners and runners who have come back too strong and too quickly after taking some time off.
What back problems do runners most commonly experience?
- Muscular pain that comes on suddenly in the lower back is indicative of a muscle spasm. Your muscles will feel very tight, and the pain can be extremely severe and debilitating in some cases. This type of pain does not cause a shooting sensation, and can be corrected through ScolioGold exercises.
- Pain shooting down the back of one or both legs indicates a trapped nerve, often known as sciatica. Sciatica can cause a great deal of discomfort and will need to be fully assessed to determine the best form of treatment.
How to avoid back pain from running
To prevent back pain, it's important to work on strength and flexibility all the way through your kinetic chain. Your spinal muscles are supported by your core - having a strong core is essential, and this is where our ScolioGold therapists come in. Asking your ScolioGold therapist to teach you core-strengthening exercises will be highly beneficial to your overall health.
Tightness or weakness in your glutes, hips, quads and hamstrings will also have an impact on the muscles in your lower back, putting more strain on those muscles and setting them up for a spasm.
At Scoliosis SOS, we always advise our patients to continue with their hobbies and other things they enjoy doing - they just need to do exercises that are specifically tailored to them to compensate for any potentially problematic activities. Building a strong core and balanced muscles will significantly reduce your chance of injury.
If you are trying to prevent lower back pain or spinal injuries whilst you run or train for a marathon, make an appointment with one of the Scoliosis SOS Clinic's specialist therapists today. Contact us online or give us a call on 0207 488 4428.