Orthopaedic Medicine

Here at Scoliosis SOS, we know that every scoliosis sufferer is different, and so we always aim to understand each patient’s unique experiences in order to deliver lasting positive results. Our ScolioGold method consists of a variety of proven non-surgical techniques that we have combined into one scoliosis treatment programme that seeks to address every aspect of the condition.

Although the Schroth method is our primary technique for the treatment of scoliosis, it is complemented with an assortment of other recognised and medically sound treatment methods from across the globe, including the use of orthopaedic medicine.

What is orthopaedic medicine?

Established in the UK in 1929, orthopaedic medicine is used to diagnose and treat non-surgical lesions of the musculoskeletal system. The founder of this practice, Dr James Cyriax, found that there was no satisfactory method in place to test the function of soft tissues in areas such as the joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons, making treatment of associated conditions unreliable and non-specific. 

From his research, he developed a system for assessing the patient and devising a suitable treatment programme, which has influenced the way in which we provide therapies for musculoskeletal disorders today. Using a combination of exercises and stretches to enhance the patient’s muscle strength, this technique can provide significant relief from pain and improve overall bodily function, a result that we have seen in many scoliosis patients when using orthopaedic medicine as a treatment method.

Along with increased range of movement, relief from pain is often a key goal for scoliosis sufferers, which is why orthopaedic medicine plays such an important role in the treatment we provide at our clinic. The effectiveness of our treatment is reflected by the continued improvements recorded in our patients, which show substantial reductions in pain both immediately after their treatment course and as they continue to maintain their exercise programme at home.

If you are interested in finding out more about our ScolioGold programme and would like to see if our ScolioGold treatment method is right for you, please click here to get in touch with the Scoliosis SOS Clinic.

As you may have already noticed from previous blog posts, we treat a huge variety of patients here at Scoliosis SOS, ranging widely in age, gender and nationality.  Although we are based in London, during our years in operation, we have treated an array of patients not only from across the UK, but from all around the world!


Looking at the map on our Overseas Patients page, you will notice that we have treated patients from several different continents and numerous countries, including those who made the long journey from the Southern Hemisphere to enrol on one of our treatment courses. We regularly welcome scoliosis sufferers from both Australia and New Zealand, allowing them to return to their home countries with straighter spines, and bags of positivity.

While travelling such a large distance from home may seem like an extreme step for some, for our former patients it has often been the final attempt to avoid drastic spinal surgery, and has been more than worth it in terms of the list of improvements that they achieve in only four weeks of therapy. To highlight just some of the benefits that our ScolioGold treatment programme has granted patients from Australia and New Zealand, here are two case studies which detail the experiences of our former patients:

Patient #1: Ben Stanton
21 // Male // Australia

Like many of our patients, Ben is an extremely active individual, who enjoys working out at the gym and is a keen rugby player. He first noticed an irregularity in his spine whilst bending over in the gym, and was keen to get the problem fixed straight away, in order to avoid any restrictions to his physical ability in the future.

Why did Ben choose Scoliosis SOS?
Before Ben visited Scoliosis SOS to receive his own treatment, his sister had also suffered with scoliosis, and was able to successfully treat her symptoms thanks to the help of our clinic. Having witnessed the possibilities of the treatment, Ben was confident that the programme would not only allow him to relieve the physical symptoms of the condition, but would also help him learn how to properly support his physical activities without causing further damage to his body.

Results
After completing his treatment course, Ben found that his flexibility and posture had greatly improved since initial enrolment, which was incredibly positive in terms of supporting his further training. He also found that he was able to easily transfer the skills he had learnt in one-on-one sessions to his own gym work, allowing him to maintain his activity level without injuring or limiting himself. Watch the video below to hear Ben’s full story.


Patient #2: Katy Bramble 
12 // Female // New Zealand

Katy was diagnosed with scoliosis at 10 years old, and like many sufferers, was left devastated by the prospect of undergoing corrective surgery. Not only did she feel isolated by her peers, who were able to take on numerous physical activities and live a carefree life, she also felt incredibly intimidated by the prospect of undergoing irreversible changes to her spine.

Why did Katy choose Scoliosis SOS?
Katy was sad and frightened at the prospect of surgery, but was left feeling hopeful after her mother read about Scoliosis SOS online. Although she was daunted at the prospect of travelling to an unfamiliar country at such short notice, she was determined to try anything in order to avoid surgery.

Results 
Treatment at Scoliosis SOS not only improved the physical symptoms of Katy’s condition, but also massively improved her confidence and wellbeing. Plus she noticed changes in her appearance, and felt considerably stronger, which was great news in terms of her sporting ambitions. Best of all, she was able to return to life as a normal, active young girl, having made lots of new friends on the way. To read Katy’s full story, click here

If you’re looking for scoliosis treatment in Australia and New Zealand, but feel that you are unable to access an approach which suits your needs, then please don’t hesitate to contact the Scoliosis SOS team. For overseas patients, we are able to conduct over the phone consultations, which can be requested here.
Although there is no cause for the curvature of the spine in that majority of cases we treat here at Scoliosis SOS, and in scoliosis patients in general, there are several medical conditions which can lead to the development of scoliosis. 
 
Today, we are focusing on one of the conditions which can lead to the development of scoliosis, namely, Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Many will not have heard of the condition previously, due to its rare and serious nature. It occurs when the immune system attacks part of the nervous system, and is often the result of a viral or bacterial infection.
 
One of the primary symptoms of Guillain-Barré is progressive muscle weakness, and a resulting loss in coordination. Although many sufferers of Guillain-Barré go on to recover from their condition, a lasting impact is often caused by this weakening of the muscles, which in some cases, can lead to the development of scoliosis. 
 
Such was the case for our previous patient Jonathan, who suffered with Guillain-Barré for a year, and was diagnosed with scoliosis shortly afterwards. Upon initial diagnosis, Jonathan was told he had a 19° curve and was given a corrective brace, but six months later he was told that this had progressed to a 38° curve.
 
Improved muscle strength and coordination are a huge part of our treatment process here at Scoliosis SOS, targeted by the inclusion of methods such as the PNF Technique, along with other elements of our ScolioGold programme. For this reason, our treatment approach can be incredibly beneficial for an individual who has been left weakened by the impact of Guillian-Barré, as is exemplified in Jonathan’s treatment video below:
 
 
If you would like to learn more about how we can aid the recovery of Guillian-Barre sufferers, and relieve symptoms of their scoliosis, please get in touch by calling 0207 488 4428, or by filling out our enquiry form here.
Is Scoliosis Hereditary
 
A common question amongst scoliosis sufferers, as well as those who suspect that they may be displaying signs of developing the condition, is “Is scoliosis hereditary?“.
 
As many of you will already be aware, most cases of scoliosis are defined as idiopathic, which means that the cause of the spinal curvature is unknown in the majority of patients. Despite this, research into the development of scoliosis has shown that there is a possible genetic link between family members, in cases where there is a family history of scoliosis.
 
Although it may not manifest itself as straightforwardly as other hereditary conditions, it is estimated that around 1 in 4 sufferers will have at least one other family member who also shows signs of scoliosis, and that first-degree relatives of scoliosis patients will have an 11 percent chance of developing the condition themselves. 
 
Although the examination of inheritance patterns has helped to determine that scoliosis is a genetic as well as hereditary condition, it remains unclear which genes are responsible for the curvature itself. It is fairly certain, however, the condition is more likely to affect female family members, due to the prominence of the condition in females over males. For this reason, many believe scoliosis is hereditary but there is still plenty of research that needs to be completed to prove this.
 
At Scoliosis SOS we have treated instances of hereditary scoliosis in the past, in cases such as that of Tina Barlow, who travelled from Florida to receive treatment with us. Just days before her decision to enrol on one of our treatment courses, Tina’s daughter was also diagnosed with scoliosis, which came as an unwelcome revelation to Tina, who had struggled to manage her condition from the age of twelve. Knowing that this would give her daughter a chance at preventing her condition from deteriorating, Tina decided that they would both travel to Scoliosis SOS in order to receive treatment, and we are happy to report that they are both now living pain-free. To read Tina and her daughter’s full story, click here.
 
Tina’s case is a great example of how non-surgical treatment can benefit family cases of scoliosis, as well as sufferers who are concerned about the future health of their children. Thanks to the integration of exercises which can be performed by the patients themselves, our ScolioGold treatment programme provides a lasting method of treatment that can be maintained by scoliosis sufferers, providing patients with the ability and knowledge to treat their symptoms.
 
We hope that has helped to answer the question of whether scoliosis is hereditary! If you have any questions about how we can help to treat family cases of scoliosis, or if you are a sufferer who is concerned that their child may require treatment for the condition, please feel free to get in touch via our contact page, to arrange a consultation.
idiotpathic scoliosis treatment
 

Idiopathic scoliosis is by far the most common type of scoliosis, mostly affecting young people between the ages of 10 and 18. It usually develops during puberty, when the body is growing rapidly, although this type of scoliosis isn’t exclusive to teenagers – it can potentially affect anyone at any time of life. This makes idiopathic scoliosis treatment common amongst all age groups, depending on the severity of the curvature.

While idiopathic scoliosis has – by definition – no known cause, we do know that it does NOT arise due to specific behaviours/activities like carrying heavy loads or sitting with poor posture for prolonged periods.
 
Idiopathic scoliosis varies in severity, but milder curves are more common than extreme angles. People of all genders can be affected by the condition; however, it is more common in women than in men, and female patients are more likely to develop large spinal curves that require medical treatment.
 

Idiopathic scoliosis treatment methods 

Idiopathic scoliosis treatment will depend on the severity of the curve, and in children, it can be difficult to judge whether or not treatment is required at all. If the patient is young enough to still be growing, there is a chance that the spine will straighten out over time; however, the patient will still be monitored closely (with regular X-rays) to observe whether or not the curve is progressing. It is crucial to know whether the angle of the curve is decreasing, increasing, or staying the same, as this will determine the best cause of action to treat the curve.
 
Common idiopathic scoliosis treatment methods include:
  • Bracing 
  • Physiotherapy
  • Surgery (although this is only recommended for severe cases)
 
If idiopathic scoliosis treatment is deemed necessary, we at Scoliosis SOS can help. The idiopathic scoliosis treatment courses we deliver are slightly different for younger scoliosis sufferers, but the main principles are the same for everyone: instead of correcting the spine using a back brace or surgical methods, we use an exercise-based treatment programme to achieve improvements. Our highly-qualified physiotherapists use a range of techniques (listed here) to reduce the patient’s Cobb angle, improve posture, boost mobility and muscle strength, relieve pain, and enhance the patient’s overall quality of life.
 
Our ScolioGold courses are hugely popular among scoliosis sufferers of all ages, and the treatment we offer is safe and hugely effective, as these X-rays demonstrate.
 
If you’d like to find out more about our idiopathic scoliosis treatment courses, please get in touch to arrange an initial consultation with Scoliosis SOS.
PNF technique
 
Here at Scoliosis SOS, we have spent many years developing our successful ScolioGold treatment method, which uses a combination of non-surgical spinal techniques including the PNF Technique.
 
Although the Schroth method remains an integral part of our treatment programme, we have also integrated a range of other carefully selected techniques into our regime, ensuring that every aspect of the patient’s condition is fully addressed.
 
The afore mentioned treatment included in our current scoliosis treatment programme is the PNF technique. PNF stands for Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, a technique that was first developed in the USA during the 1940s. The aim of the PNF therapy is to increase the patient’s flexibility and range of motion, and this in turn contributes to improved coordination.

History of the PNF Technique

The PNF technique was pioneered by a neurophysiologist named Herman Kabat, who came to the conclusion that combinations of movement would be far more effective than the existing approach, which consisted of only moving one joint at time. This developed as Kabat began to look for natural patterns of movement for rehabilitating muscles, and this is something we practice at Scoliosis SOS today in its modern form.
 
Part of our reason for including the PNF technique in our treatment programme is the fact that many of our patients struggle with physical limitation, both as a result of scoliosis itself and in relation to spinal fusion surgery. Many of our previous patients expressed that they felt restricted by the impact of scoliosis on their physical ability, and also that they were intimidated at the prospect of undergoing spinal surgery, which would greatly limit their ease of movement.
 
By strengthening the muscles around the spine, the stretching included in the PNF technique is able to relieve the discomfort of scoliosis, while also facilitating a greater range of motion, making it ideal for patients who are particularly active in pastimes such as sport and dance. As with all of the methods included in the ScolioGold programme, it has also been thoroughly researched and scientifically proven, which means that each patient can be sure that they are in safe, sure hands when receiving this treatment.
 
If you would like to find out more about the PNF technique or the variety of methods used in our ScolioGold treatment, please click here. To book a consultation, or if you have any questions about our non-surgical treatments, please get in touch today.
Scoliosis Surgery

Learning that you may need surgery is a very scary experience. Every surgical procedure comes with a certain level of risk, and no matter how experienced the surgeons are, it takes a great deal of bravery to place your life in their hands.

Every year, countless scoliosis sufferers around the world are told that they require surgery to correct their condition. Naturally, a lot of those people would rather avoid surgical intervention if at all possible, but before we explore potential alternatives to scoliosis surgery, let’s take a closer look at what the operation actually involves.

What does scoliosis surgery involve?

The surgical operation that’s commonly used to correct scoliosis is known as spinal fusion surgery. It is performed under general anaesthetic, so you’ll be completely unconscious throughout the operation.

During the procedure, your surgeon will anchor a series of rods to your spine using tiny hooks and screws. These rods will reduce the angle of your scoliotic curve and serve as a splint to hold the spine in place. The surgeon will then apply a bone graft to your spine – this bone will eventually fuse with your spine, the aim being to prevent your curve from progressing any further. (The rods are a temporary measure, holding the spine in place until the ‘fusion’ process is complete; however, the rods are usually not removed as to do so would require another large and potentially risky surgical operation.)

A spinal fusion operation tends to be followed by a lengthy recovery period, during which some pain, discomfort, and loss of mobility are to be expected. However, in the long term, the surgery should mean that your scoliosis doesn’t progress any further, and that your spinal curve has a smaller impact on your overall quality of life.

What risks are associated with scoliosis surgery?

As we mentioned earlier, all surgical procedures come with certain risks, and scoliosis surgery is no different. The risks/complications associated with spinal fusion surgery include:
  • Implants coming loose or breaking
  • Nerve damage
  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Development of a secondary curve
Furthermore, the Internet is littered with sad stories of scoliosis operations that simply didn’t have the intended effect. Some patients (including two contributors to this painsupport.co.uk thread) even find themselves in more pain post-op than prior to the spinal fusion procedure.

Is it possible to treat scoliosis without surgery?

While scoliosis surgery can be – and very often is – an effective means of combating scoliosis, it is easy to see why many scoliotics would rather not go under the knife if possible. Fortunately for these people, there is an alternative.

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we specialise in providing non-surgical treatment for scoliosis (as well as for other spinal conditions such as hyperkyphosis). Our ScolioGold treatment courses utilise a variety of therapeutic techniques to achieve great results for scoliosis sufferers, including:
  • Reduced Cobb angle
  • Relief from pain
  • Improved mobility/flexibility
To find out whether the Scoliosis SOS Clinic can help treat your scoliosis, please contact us now and arrange an initial consultation. We can also help patients who are recovering from spinal fusion surgery.

Life can be very difficult for scoliosis sufferers in the Republic of Ireland. Everyone in the country is entitled to free healthcare courtesy of the Health Service Executive (HSE), a body that’s roughly equivalent to the NHS here in Britain; however, the Irish healthcare system is notorious for its extremely long waiting lists, which often force patients to wait months or even years for all kinds of different treatments, up to and including critical operations such as heart surgery. For this reason, many Irish residents choose to pay for private health insurance, but countless others simply have to wait and hope that their illnesses don’t get too much worse in the meantime.

This can be disastrous for people with curved spines. Scoliosis is one of those conditions that tends to get worse the longer it goes untreated, and when you’re already in a great deal of pain and discomfort to begin with, a long wait for treatment is really the last thing you want. Earlier this year, The Irish Times published an article on the long waiting lists for scoliosis treatment in Ireland; the piece focused on a woman from Galway named Marie Cunningham.

Speaking to the Times, Ms. Cunningham (58) stated that her condition made her feel like a 90-year-old: “walking is really bad as I am so bent over and I have to use crutches to help hold me up…They want me to wait [for treatment], but as far as I am concerned I have gone through enough pain, disability, mental depression in the past 5 years”.

There are many people like Marie Cunningham in the Republic of Ireland today: scoliosis sufferers whose conditions have been allowed to progress greatly because effective treatment is not immediately available through the HSE. This, of course, is where we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic come in, and numerous patients and their families have travelled from their homes in Ireland to our clinic in London because they wanted to get access to specialist care and treatment right away instead of waiting months for the HSE to get around to them.

Scoliosis Treatment for Patients from Ireland >

One such patient was Jack Gaffney, the 18-year-old from County Wicklow whose story we told in our recent blog post about Klippel-Feil syndrome; another was 23-year-old Molly Garvey from Dublin. Watch the video below to find out how we helped her with her scoliosis.

If you live in the Republic of Ireland and you’d like to find out more about our non-surgical scoliosis treatment courses, please contact us to arrange an initial consultation or visit the links below for further information.

Scoliosis Treatment for Patients from Ireland – Useful Links:

Can You Get Scoliosis at Any Age?

Since the vast majority of scoliosis sufferers are diagnosed between the ages of 10 and 15, it’s easy to assume that this condition doesn’t really affect people either side of that age bracket. Certainly, if you’ve glanced at our Patient Experiences page, you may be under the impression that everyone we treat is either a teenager or an adult who was diagnosed with scoliosis as a teenager but didn’t do anything about it at the time.

But the truth is that scoliosis doesn’t always develop within that 5-year window. The condition often makes itself known during adolescence because this is when you go through growth spurts, periods of rapid growth during which the spine becomes more prone to curvature. However, some children do develop scoliosis years prior to hitting puberty (this is known as ‘juvenile scoliosis’ – see Treating Scoliosis in Young Children), and many older people who previously had perfectly healthy spines develop scoliosis later in life due to factors such as osteoporosis and the natural ageing and weakening of the human body over time.

So the answer to the question, ‘Can you get scoliosis at any age?’ is ‘Yes – it’s most likely to develop during adolescence, but there is ample evidence that the condition can develop earlier or later in life.’

This brings us to question #2…

What treatments are available for scoliosis sufferers?

Scoliosis can be treated in a number of different ways. Spinal fusion surgery is often utilised as a means of correcting the spinal curve, but this is a risky, invasive procedure that many patients would rather avoid. Surgery may be a particularly undesirable course of action if the patient is very young or very old.

Thankfully, there are alternatives. Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we treat scoliosis sufferers using a combination of non-surgical techniques that we collectively refer to as the ScolioGold method – this is an exercise-based regime that helps patients to overcome the symptoms of their spinal curvature and improves their quality of life immeasurably.

Contact us now to arrange an initial consultation at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, or click one of the links below to see the results we’ve helped patients of different ages to achieve.