Scoliosis Height

From digestive problems to fatigue, scoliosis (a sideways spinal curvature) can affect the body in all sorts of different ways. For instance, have you considered the effect that a spinal curve might have on a person's height?

If your scoliosis is relatively mild, it won't have much of an impact on how tall you are, but severe scoliosis can result in a loss of height. Many scoliosis patients are shorter than they would be if their spines were straight, and while this particular symptom isn't as potentially life-altering as the chronic pain and loss of mobility that sometimes accompany a curvature of the spine, it is another reason to get your scoliosis treated - especially if your condition is progressing (getting steadily worse).

Is it possible to reverse this loss of height?

Since the impact of scoliosis on your height is directly linked to the severity of your spinal curve, this issue can be reversed through effective scoliosis treatment. A patient who undergoes spinal fusion surgery may well notice a height increase post-op because the procedure has made their spine straighter.

But surgery isn't the only way to regain the height you've lost because of scoliosis. Exercise-based treatments like our own ScolioGold programme can also be very effective in that regard.

Case study: Nicole from Accra, Ghana

Nicole was 12 years old when she was diagnosed with scoliosis. By that time, her brother was already living with a fairly serious spinal curve, and Nicole's parents were keen to ensure that her condition didn't reach the same level of severity.

However, Nicole did not meet the requirements for surgery (that is, her Cobb angle measurement was not high enough), so her family set about researching other treatment options online.

And that's how they came across the Scoliosis SOS Clinic. Nicole and her brother made the 3,000+ mile journey from Accra to London in order to attend a two-week ScolioGold course, and the results were very positive indeed: not only had Nicole grown taller, she also felt more confident in herself after completing her treatment. Watch the video below to find out what Nicole had to say about her Scoliosis SOS experience.

If you are looking for an effective scoliosis treatment option that doesn't involve surgery, we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic can help. Click here to learn more about our ScolioGold programme, or get in touch to arrange a consultation.

Scoliosis SOS Physical Therapists

We at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic are very proud to announce that we recently had our first piece of research published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The article, Current knowledge of scoliosis in physiotherapy students trained in the United Kingdom (Black et al, Scoliosis and Spinal Disorders 2017) was published online on the 27th September and can be read in full here.

What were we researching?

Put simply, we wanted to know how much UK physiotherapists know about scoliosis. In both Poland and the USA, it has been recognised that physiotherapy students have relatively little knowledge of idiopathic scoliosis, how it affects the human body, and how to factor a spinal curve into a patient's treatment regime; with that in mind, we wanted to measure UK students' familiarity with this condition.

To do this, we composed a 10-question survey and distributed it (via course leaders) to students at all UK universities that offer physiotherapy degrees. Questions on the survey included:

  • What is the definition of idiopathic scoliosis?
  • What causes idiopathic scoliosis?
  • When does idiopathic scoliosis commonly develop?
  • What percentage of scoliosis cases are idiopathic?
  • What physical activities are most/least beneficial for patients with scoliosis? (multiple choice question - options included yoga, swimming, martial arts, etc.)

In the end, a total of 206 students at 12 different institutions in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland completed our survey, giving us a good sample size to analyse.

What were our findings?

Of the students who responded to our survey:

  • 79% successfully identified when idiopathic scoliosis commonly develops
  • 54% knew when bracing is recommended
  • 52% correctly identified that the causes of idiopathic scoliosis are not known
  • 24% recognised that scoliosis is idiopathic in approximately 80% of cases
  • 12% knew the criteria for diagnosing idiopathic scoliosis
  • 7% were able to recognise the best treatment approach through physical therapy

Overall, just 7% of students surveyed were able to answer more than half of the questionnaire correctly. Based on this, our conclusion was that there is a clear lack of scoliosis knowledge among UK physiotherapy students - a lack of knowledge that has the potential to impact patients who receive information and treatment from physiotherapists in this country.

Click here to view more scoliosis research, or visit our ScolioGold page to learn about the exercise-based scoliosis treatment we provide here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic.

Spinal Tethering & Stapling

Many of the patients we treat here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic come to us in search of an alternative to scoliosis surgery, but while our ScolioGold method has consistently proven capable of reducing spinal curvature and improving quality of life (thus eliminating the need for surgical intervention), our exercise-based therapy has on occasion been used in conjunction with surgical treatment when the case called for it.

The most common form of scoliosis surgery is spinal fusion, but there are a number of other techniques in use, and some of these have seen a boost in prominence and popularity of late. One approach that you might have heard of is spinal tethering, which comes in two different varieties: vertebral body stapling and vertebral body tethering.

What is vertebral body stapling?

Vertebral body stapling (VBS) is a less invasive alternative to spinal fusion surgery. This procedure aims to control the progression of the patient's spinal curvature through the use of special metal staples, which are attached to the vertebrae in the curved part of the spine. This creates a sort of internal scoliosis brace - the staples restrain one side of the spine while allowing the other side to grow normally, thereby countering the progression of the curvature.

VBS may be used to treat a thoracic spinal curve measuring 25-35 degrees, or a lumbar curve of under 45 degrees.

What is vertebral body tethering?

Vertebral body tethering (VBT) uses pedicle screws instead of malleable metal staples. These screws are inserted into the affected vertebrae and attached (tethered) to a flexible cable at the point where the spine curves. This procedure was developed with larger spinal curves in mind.

VBT is used in cases of scoliosis where the curve measures 35-70 degrees.

Benefits of spinal tethering

Both VBS and VBT are preferable to spinal fusion surgery in a number of ways:

  • These procedures are less invasive than spinal fusion

  • No major complications are currently associated with VBS/VBT

  • Spinal fusion is generally only available to scoliosis sufferers who have reached maturity and finished growing; VBS and VBT, by contrast, are recommended for young patients who are still growing

Is spinal tethering effective?

On occasion, a scoliosis sufferer will come to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in order to improve their flexibility and spinal correction ability before undergoing spinal tethering surgery. Then, after their VBT/VBS procedure, that individual will return to us as a post-surgery patient on a modified programme that's designed to aid with scar tissue management and general rehabilitation. Our treatment programme also helps to prevent future progression of the patient's condition.

We have treated a number of post-VBT/VBS patients this way, and in our experience, spinal tethering/stapling has no positive impact on spinal rotation. This means that cosmetic changes to the patient's rib cage are minimal, so be sure to take this into consideration when weighing up your scoliosis treatment options.

It's also worth noting that VBT/VBS are not currently available in the UK due to a lack of research. At time of writing, these procedures are only being carried out in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and India, and many scoliosis patients have had to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to undergo spinal tethering abroad.

Interested in non-surgical scoliosis treatment? Contact Scoliosis SOS today to arrange a consultation.

Scoliosis in adults

If you have been diagnosed with scoliosis as an adult, you may be wondering what treatment options are available to you. As the human body has usually finished growing by the age of 18, the methods used to treat scoliosis in adults aren't normally the same as the methods used to treat children/teenagers.

There are two different types of adult scoliosis:

  1. Scoliosis that developed during childhood, but became worse during the patient's adult years
  2. Scoliosis that doesn't develop until adulthood

Though idiopathic scoliosis is usually diagnosed during adolescence, this form of scoliosis can carry through to adulthood if not treated effectively. Scoliosis can also develop later in life - for instance, a large number of older people show signs of scoliosis due to age-related degeneration.

Scoliosis Treatment Options for Adults

Some treatment methods that work well for children and adolescents (whose bodies are still growing) are not suitable for adults with scoliosis. Bracing, for example, does not work for adults as the spine is already fully developed.

Depending on the severity of the spinal curvature, adult scoliosis treatment methods can differ vastly. If the curvature is mild, exercise and over-the-counter painkillers may be sufficient to treat the symptoms of scoliosis. For moderate to severe cases of adult scoliosis, however, the following treatment options may be utilised:

  • Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy treats scoliosis through a variety of different exercises and stretches which can help realign the spine. This type of therapy can help improve mobility and flexibility, and can also help to reduce the curvature dramatically. This treatment method combines stretches, exercises, and massages to reduce the symptoms of scoliosis.

  • Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is another non-surgical scoliosis treatment method that many adults find effective. Hydrotherapy is a good option for patients who feel as though they would struggle with land-based physiotherapy. The water provides additional support and eases pressure on the patient's joints.

  • Pain Management

Pain management can involve painkillers and injections which help to relieve the pain associated with scoliosis. Pain relief drugs vary hugely in their strength, and your prescription will depend on the severity of your pain.

  • Surgery

The majority of adult scoliosis cases will not require surgery, but in the most severe cases, it may be recommended. Surgery is usually recommended if the curvature is severe and increasing, or if other treatment methods have not had the desired effect.

Scoliosis SOS: Treating Scoliosis for Over a Decade

We at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic have been providing an alternative scoliosis treatment options for adults and children alike for more than 10 years. Our ScolioGold courses use a mixture of highly specialised physiotherapy techniques to help ease and improve the symptoms of scoliosis.

Our unique combination of treatment methods offers patients an unrivalled level of treatment success, and we are continually changing and developing our ScolioGold course to incorporate the latest advances in non-surgical scoliosis treatment.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you with our scoliosis treatment courses, please get in touch today to book a consultation.

How does scoliosis affect the digestive system?

A person with scoliosis may suffer many problems linked to their skeletal system such as back pain, stiffness, discomfort, and reduced mobility. But did you know that a severe spinal curve can also affect the patient's digestive system?

The effect of scoliosis on the digestive system

If your scoliosis is left untreated and allowed to progress (i.e. get worse over time), you may experience some digestive issues as a knock-on effect of your poor spinal alignment. You may think that a spinal curve would only affect your musculoskeletal system and not your internal organs, but remember: your spinal cord is the highway of your central nervous system, and any problem with your spine can potentially affect any other part of your body. That includes your pancreas, kidneys, intestines and bladder.

Furthermore, the contortion and compression that occurs when your body is leaning to one side can interfere with your ability to digest food normally as well. Depending on the shape and location of your spinal curve, it may end up blocking the passage of food through the intestines.

As a result of the above, scoliosis patients often experience:

  • Stomach pains
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Acid reflux
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation

How can Scoliosis SOS help?

If you suffer from scoliosis and it's affecting your digestive system, we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic may be able to help. We treat our patients using the ScolioGold method, a combination of non-surgical treatment techniques including stretches, exercises and massages. This treatment programme as a whole is designed to treat every aspect of your spinal condition, relieving symptoms across the board and vastly improving your overall quality of life.

For more information about our ScolioGold treatment method, please click here. If you wish to book an initial consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us.