Smoking and Scoliosis

From lung cancer to cardiovascular issues, the health risks associated with smoking are well documented. One of the many reasons to quit smoking is the fact that it can cause spinal degeneration and severe back pain, which in turn can lead to a form of scoliosis known as de novo scoliosis. In a nutshell, de novo scoliosis is a spinal curvature that develops in adulthood as a result of spinal degeneration. In some cases, a curvature of the spine occurs as a result of the facet joints and discs in the lumbar (lower) spine ageing, leading to the vertebrae slipping out of place and the spine losing its shape. But if this degeneration occurs as a result of ageing, what does smoking have to do with it?

Smoking and degenerative discs

Although ageing and genetic predisposition are the main risk factors for degenerative discs, a growing number of studies indicate that smoking is another leading risk factor in the deterioration of both lumbar discs and cervical discs (found in the neck). Nicotine has been shown to deprive disc cells of vital nutrients as a result of small blood vessels becoming constricted. In addition to nicotine, through smoking, you introduce carbon monoxide into the bloodstream and your body’s tissues. These poisons begin to inhibit the disc’s ability to absorb the nutrients it needs, which can result in prematurely dehydrated and less pliable discs. As the discs in the spine become more malnourished, there is a greater risk of a rupture occurring. This happens when the disc’s contents break through the outer layer of the disc, often encroaching on nerves and causing severe pain and discomfort. These same poisons also interfere with calcium intake, leading to a compromised spinal structure and – potentially – scoliosis. Other risks related to smoking and scoliosis include:
  • Coughing – This is much more prevalent among smokers and can increase the risk of degeneration in the discs. Coughing causes increased pressure between discs, which puts added strain on both the spine and discs, resulting in a greater risk of ruptures and bulges. This is particularly common in a spine that’s already been weakened by smoking-related toxins.
  • Inactivity – This is often associated with a smoker’s lifestyle, and can result in a higher frequency of back pain. Unfortunately, pain caused as a result of degenerated discs can make an active lifestyle even more difficult to adopt and enjoy.

Smoking and failed spinal fusion

Spinal fusion surgery is often recommended for severe cases of scoliosis. The procedure involves using a bone graft to fuse vertebrae together. The long-term success of this procedure is dependent upon successful fusion; in fact, if the fusion does not heal correctly, surgery may have to be repeated. Many different factors can have an impact on the success of spinal fusion, including age, underlying medical conditions and – yes – cigarette smoking. Smoking disrupts the normal functions of basic body systems that contribute to bone formation and growth, which are imperative for a fusion to heal properly. Studies have shown that habitual cigarette smoking leads to the breakdown of the spine to such a degree that fusion is often less successful when compared to similar procedures performed on non-smokers. Smoking can also have a huge impact on the immune system and the body’s other defence mechanisms, which in turn can lead to an increased risk of post-operative infection.

Treatment at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic

If you’ve been diagnosed with de novo scoliosis and wish to avoid surgery, we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic can provide effective exercise-based treatment that aims to correct your condition. Our ScolioGold treatment programme is designed to improve mobility, boost strength and correct abnormal posture, combining a variety of proven non-surgical techniques to achieve noticeable, lasting results.

More About ScolioGold >    Book a Consultation >

Over the years, we have treated a lot of patients from Birmingham and the surrounding area! We love helping people of all ages to manage their back problems and regain their independence. To celebrate the recent opening of our new scoliosis clinic in Birmingham, here are a few of our Birmingham success stories…

Lavinia, 44 years old

Lavinia, 44

Lavinia was a housewife and keen gardener who was struggling to cope with her scoliosis. Her spinal curvature was so severe, doctors warned her she might not be able to stand up straight again. Lavinia had been diagnosed with scoliosis in her twenties, but hadn’t pursued treatment at the time. It was only when her condition visibly worsened in her forties that she explored our exercise-based therapy options.

” I feel so much better about my body and I have gained so much confidence.”

Read Lavinia’s Story Here >

Nistha, 14 years old

Nishtha, 14

Nishtha from Birmingham was a keen ballet dancer before her scoliosis worsened and started to cause her pain. Medics warned her that she may have to quit dancing, which left Nishtha heartbroken. She was even having nightmares about her condition. Our exercise-based treatment programme allowed Nishtha to get back to doing what she loved and sleep easy again!

I can finally get back to dancing, and I’m no longer scared about closing my eyes at night.”

Read Nishtha’s Story Here >

Helen, 75 years old

Helen, 75

Helen, a grandmother from Birmingham and another keen gardener, was in severe pain due to her scoliosis. Doctors told her that she had two options: live with the pain or undergo invasive spinal fusion surgery. Luckily, we were able to offer her a third, exercise-based option.

“I am so pleased with the results I have achieved. I truly believed that I was going to need to have my spine fused. I feel like I am back in control and I am getting used to being able to attend to my flowers again without pain.”

Read Helen’s Story Here >

Lucy, 12 years old

Lucy, 12

Lucy was told her scoliosis was so bad that she might not stand up straight again. She had to face the prospect of spinal fusion surgery at a very young age, and she started to lose interest in the activities she loved. Luckily, her parents discovered our clinic and were able to bring her to us for a 4-week course of treatment. Her condition is now under control and she is no longer a candidate for surgery.

” I feel like myself again.”

Read Lucy’s Story Here >

Emily, 19 years old

Emily, 19

Emily, a passionate scuba diver, was told she might have to give up her dreams after she was diagnosed with scoliosis at 19. Internet research led her to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, and our therapists helped Emily to regain her confidence and improve her spinal curve. Now, she’s going to university to study marine biology and can get back to doing the scuba diving she loves.

“I have my confidence back, and I am ready to throw myself into university and get back to going on as many scuba diving holidays as I can fit in!”

Read Emily’s Story Here >

James, 15 years old

James, 15

James, a keen tennis player from Birmingham, thought that his sporting career would be cut short due to his condition. He was in excruciating pain and found his time away from tennis soul-destroying. He wanted to find a scoliosis treatment that would still allow him to pursue his dream career as a sports therapist. He came to us for treatment and is now back to playing tennis regularly!

“It was amazing to believe that even though my spine was curving, I could prevent it from getting worse by doing a few simple movements. It has given me a new lease on life and I’m looking forward to the summer as I missed out on so many tennis games.”

Read James’ Story Here >

Ayesha, 18 years old

Ayesha, 18

Aspiring model Ayesha was left devastated when her curved spine started to impact her career prospects, but she wasn’t going to let scoliosis stand in the way of her dreams. She came to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic for treatment and continues to exercise every day to improve her posture. Ayesha has grown to be over an inch taller since visiting the Scoliosis SOS Clinic as her spine continues to straighten.

“I started to feel a change after a week. I started to feel a lot more comfortable. The visual effects became more apparent after a month, and my lung capacity has improved.”

Read Ayesha’s Story Here >

Paige, 13 years old

Paige, 13

This young kickboxer from Birmingham was distraught after she was told she’d need metal rods in her back to correct her scoliosis curvature. The surgery would prevent her from training or competing in the sport she loves, as a blow to the spine could be really damaging. Using a range of equipment and exercise techniques, Paige has learnt how to elongate her back and prevent her spinal curve from getting worse, so she’s been able to get back to kickboxing.

“With Paige having won the UK and European championships in kickboxing, we are all hoping that by avoiding the operation she can carry on with the sport she enjoys.”

Read Paige’s Story Here >

If you live in or near Birmingham and you’d like to find out more about our non-invasive scoliosis treatment courses, please contact the Scoliosis SOS Clinic today.

BASRaT Student Conference 2020

The British Association of Sport Rehabilitators and Trainers (BASRaT) is the UK regulator and professional association for sport rehabilitators. On Friday 14th February, the University of Nottingham hosted its third student BASRaT conference.

What is the student BaSRat conference?

The student BASRaT conference allows sports injury and rehabilitation students from all over the UK to participate in a day of continued professional development via workshops and talks from keynote speakers.

How were Scoliosis SOS involved?

This year, our Birmingham satellite therapist Sian – a University of Nottingham graduate – delivered an educational talk to conference attendees.

Sian’s speech covered:

  • Scoliosis education
  • Screening tools that can be used to detect scoliosis
  • Current treatment options provided by the NHS
  • Our in-house ScolioGold method

Here’s what Sian had to say about the 2020 BASRaT conference…

“This was a great opportunity to go back to my own university and raise awareness to future sport rehabilitators who are sure to come across patients with scoliosis at some point during their practice. It is a subject that is often overlooked and certainly not explored in depth as part of undergraduate courses, so providing these talks regarding the anatomy changes and screening tools for scoliosis is so important!”

Sian has received some great feedback from the students, some of whom have already expressed further interest in gaining work experience with the Scoliosis SOS Clinic!

About Scoliosis SOS   Our Birmingham Clinic

Happy person with arms in the air

We at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic are huge advocates for scoliosis self-correction and treatment through exercise!

If you’re suffering because of your scoliosis, there are a lot of things you can do to relieve pain and prevent your spinal curve from worsening. One of these things is active self-correction (ASC), just one of the many treatment methods that make up our ScolioGold therapy programme.

Active self-correction is often referred to as the scientific exercise approach to scoliosis treatment. It involves a series of movements designed to stabilise the scoliosis curvature. Our ScolioGold therapists teach you how to actively self-correct by standing you in front of a mirror and showing you how you can physically unbend and de-rotate the curve in your spine.

 

Active Self-Correction

As much as we’d love to teach you how to actively correct your scoliosis with a few simple instructions, every spine is unique, and each patient needs to be taught how to correct their own curvature. See one of our patients actively self-correcting their scoliosis curvature in this video:

You can see how this patient’s spine moves into a much better position with a few simple, conscious movements. These movements are often called:

  • Activation – ‘unlocks’ the curvature from its resting position
  • Correction – encourages the spine to sit in a more healthy position
  • Repetition – ‘locks’ the straighter spine in place (this involves retraining the postural control centre in the brain to accept the ‘fixed’ position)

Now that our patient knows how to get into this position, they will be able to actively correct their curvature over and over again, until it becomes a more natural sitting and standing position.

See more examples of scoliosis self-correction on our Instagram highlights:

See Our Patients Performing ASC >

 

Posture Awareness

Part of active self-correction is developing a better awareness of your posture. We’ve written numerous blogs about the effects of bad posture on your spine, and unfortunately, people with and without scoliosis fall foul of poor posture all the time. Whether you work in an office, play a musical instrument or make frequent long journeys, you’re often susceptible to slouching and (potentially) damaging your spine.

Scoliosis self-correction teaches you to be continually aware of your posture, actively moving and straightening to create a straighter and stronger spine. There are a whole host of postural exercises that you can do to help improve your spinal position – of course, you’ll need to practice these exercises regularly if you want to see a significant improvement. Most posture-correcting exercises can be done at home and without any equipment!

Posture-Improving Exercises >

 

If you’re interested in finding out more about our exercise-based scoliosis therapy, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can call us on 0207 488 4428 or submit an enquiry here.

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