Purchasing your own gym ball (also known as a Swiss ball, exercise ball or stability ball) is a great idea if you have scoliosis and you want to build up your core strength by performing stretches and exercises at home. Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we’ve seen countless scoliosis sufferers make astounding improvements simply by following a specially-tailored exercise regime, and we very often use gym balls as part of our ScolioGold treatment courses.

If you have a curved spine and you’d like to work on your back muscles at home, here are 3 simple, beginner-level gym ball exercises for you to try:

Straight Leg Gym Ball Bridge

Straight Leg Gym Ball Bridge

This exercise can be used to activate your gluteal (bottom) muscles and strengthen your core.
  • To begin with, lie on your back with your legs straight and your feet resting on a gym ball. Ensure that you are lying in a straight line. (See image above left.)

  • Engage your core muscles: try to draw your navel in towards your spine.

  • Slowly lift your hips up towards the ceiling by squeezing the muscles in your bottom. Lift up until your body is in a straight diagonal line (see image above right). Be careful not to arch your lower back or flare your ribs.

  • Hold for 5 seconds, then slowly lower yourself back to the floor. Repeat 10 times

Walk Out Gym Ball Bridge

Walk Out Gym Ball Bridge

This is an alternative exercise to the commonly-completed floor bridge.
  • Start by sitting on a gym ball with your arms out in front of you.

  • Slowly walk your feet forwards and allow the ball to roll so that your upper body comes into contact with the ball.

  • Keep going until your knees are at a 90-degree angle and your body is in one straight line. You should now be lying with your back on the ball, looking up at the ceiling.

  • Squeeze the muscles in your bottom and be sure to keep your hips up and your pelvis tucked so that you do not arch your lower back.

  • Hold for 5-10 seconds, then slowly walk your feet back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Gym Ball Balancing

Gym Ball Balancing

This exercise can be used to work on your core stability and postural balance.
  • To start with, sit on your gym ball with your feet hip-width apart and your knees in line with your hips. Place your hands on your hips. (If possible, perform this exercise while facing a mirror.)

  • Elongate up through your spine to ensure that you are not slouching. Check in the mirror to make sure your body is in a straight alignment. Engage your core muscles by drawing your navel to your spine.

  • Try to lift one foot up from the floor without letting any other part of your body move. Ensure that your pelvis does not rock from side to side. Keep your shoulders level.

  • Try to hold this position for 5 seconds, then change sides. Repeat 10 times on each side.

More Scoliosis Exercises:

Disclaimer: The above information should not be treated as medical advice and the scoliosis exercises described may not be suitable or beneficial for everyone. You should not begin any exercise routine without consulting a qualified health practitioner, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, elderly, or if you have any chronic or recurring conditions. Any application of scoliosis exercises suggested is at the reader’s sole discretion and risk. Scoliosis SOS accepts no responsibility or liability for any loss or injuries caused directly or indirectly through the performing of any exercises described. If you feel any discomfort or pain during exercise, stop immediately. Always consult your own GP if you are in any way concerned about your health or anything associated with it.

We often receive questions about our approach to treating scoliosis, particularly with regards to how it differs from other forms of non-surgical treatment. One of the methods most commonly referred to is the CLEAR approach, which is available as either a ‘standard’ or ‘intensive’ treatment plan. 

While there seems to be a prevalent idea that all non-surgical scoliosis exercise and therapy programmes are the same, this is simply not the case, particularly with regards to the ScolioGold method we have developed here at our clinic. In order to illustrate this in greater detail, we thought it would be a good idea to share an in-depth comparison of our treatment programme with another non-surgical treatment method, using CLEAR as an example.

Let’s start with the CLEAR method:

CLEAR Treatment

Who practises CLEAR and what techniques are used?

CLEAR treatments are practised by chiropractors who have been specifically trained in this method. They use a variety of equipment tables, wobble chairs and vibrations to ‘loosen up the muscles’. This is then followed by a series of spinal adjustments, and finally, the use of a traction chair to hold the body in the correct position.

What are the aims / targets of CLEAR?

CLEAR does not involve postural correction or strengthening, and is split into a standard plan (for those who are able to make regular visits) and an intensive plan (for those who are travelling to receive treatment in a shorter space of time). These plans are based solely on Cobb angle reduction, and not the presentation or symptoms of the patient.

What long-term results does CLEAR deliver?

This treatment has not yet been tested over a long period of time, and often Cobb angles ‘spring back’ after an initial course of treatment using this approach.

Now, let’s ask the same questions of ScolioGold…

ScolioGold

Who practises ScolioGold and what techniques are used?

ScolioGold is practised by trained, specialist physiotherapists, and is a hybrid of treatment and exercise techniques gathered from all over the world. The treatments have been in use since the early 1900s, and have been modified in accordance with the latest scoliosis research. The programme is tailored to include a combination of hands-on therapy, scoliosis-specific strengthening, stretching exercises and group therapy, in order to achieve the best overall package of care. It also teaches patients how to hold a corrective posture and strengthen muscles to help support this.

What are the aims / targets of ScolioGold?

ScolioGold is a holistic treatment approach that focuses on patient goals, pain reduction, improved function, cosmetic appearance, and Cobb angle reduction (it can also be used very effectively to help patients who have had spinal surgery). There is no limit to the number of sessions patients may attend, as it is viewed as a long-term treatment approach and care plan for a lifelong condition. Ergonomic assessments, pedoscans and insole fitting are also provided to optimise posture and back health.

What are the long-term results of ScolioGold treatment?

The ScolioGold method is continually monitored and developed with the latest scoliosis research in order to ensure continual improvement. Patients are also provided with advice and an exercise plan that allows them to maintain their results at home.

To find out more about our ScolioGold method, click here or get in touch with our team today!
Schroth Method Australia
 

The Schroth method is a non-surgical approach to scoliosis treatment that, through an intensive programme of stretches and exercises, alleviates symptoms such as back pain, muscle weakness, and reduced flexibility.

 
When properly administered by a skilled practitioner, Schroth treatment can eliminate the need for spinal fusion surgery (an operation that is often used to halt the progression of spinal curves, but which – like any surgical procedure – carries with it a number of risks). As a result, the Schroth method is a very popular, highly sought-after treatment route amongst scoliosis sufferers who would prefer not to go under the knife.
 
The problem is that qualified Schroth practitioners are in fairly short supply. Depending on where in the world you live, it may be very difficult or even impossible to get Schroth treatment in your own country. For this reason, many scoliosis sufferers have travelled great distances in order to visit a Schroth clinic, get treated, and bring their condition under control without having to undergo surgery.

Schroth treatment in Australia

Australia is one country where Schroth method practitioners are few and far between. Because of this, many Australians with curved spines have made the long journey to England in order to complete an intensive ScolioGold treatment course here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in London.
 
Monay, a teenager from Queenland, was one such Australian. She was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 14 after suffering from back pain for a long time; post-diagnosis, she tried countless different treatment methods, including osteopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and the EMMETT technique. However, Monay was unsatisfied with the outcome of these assorted treatments, and so she decided to come to London and try ScolioGold therapy instead.
 
Watch the video below to find out what Monay thought of our treatment programme.
 
“I feel a lot more independent…I don’t have to rely on treatment every week, I can just do it myself.”

Are ScolioGold therapy and the Schroth method identical?

ScolioGold – the Scoliosis SOS Clinic’s own treatment regime – is actually a combination of numerous non-surgical techniques. The Schroth method has always been at the heart of our programme, but ScolioGold therapy also incorporates a range of other proven methods, such as:
  • Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)
  • Kinesio taping
  • Functional Independent Treatment for Scoliosis (FITS)
  • Scientific Exercise Approach to Scoliosis (SEAS)
  • Myofascial release
  • Trigger point therapy
If you live in Australia (or elsewhere in the world) and you’re looking for Schroth-based scoliosis treatment in an English-speaking country, we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic would be more than happy to welcome you. We even offer on-site accommodation right in the centre of London – all of the famous tourist hotspots are right on our doorstep, and like Monay, you’ll have plenty of time to check them all out if you’re so inclined.
 
Scoliosis & Body Image

‘Body image’ is the name given to your perception of your own appearance. It is not necessarily linked to how others see you – someone may have a negative body image even if everyone else thinks they are very attractive.

A person’s body image can be affected by many different factors, although it is often argued that the media plays a particularly large role. Magazines and TV shows have frequently been accused of promoting a single, idealised standard of beauty, and this can adversely impact a person’s body image if they do not conform to that standard.
 
However, that’s a discussion for another day. Today we’d like to specifically look at the impact that scoliosis (a sideways curvature of the spine) can have on an individual’s body image.
 

The visible effects of scoliosis

The symptoms of scoliosis are many and varied. Many of them are invisible; for instance, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell whether a scoliosis patient was suffering from back pains, compromised breathing, or reduced flexibility just by looking at them.
 
However, if we’re talking about the impact scoliosis has on a person’s body image, it’s not the invisible symptoms we’re interested in – it’s the visible effects of the condition. Scoliosis sufferers are often identifiable by the following traits:
  • Visibly curved spine
  • Leaning to one side
  • Uneven shoulders, hips, legs, waist, and/or rib cage
These are the symptoms that can (and often do) negatively impact a scoliosis sufferer’s self-image. Because these physical characteristics depart from society’s definition of what a ‘normal’ body looks like, people with curved spines sometimes end up feeling ugly, unattractive, and/or awkward-looking.
 

Body image concerns amongst teenage scoliosis sufferers

Since idiopathic scoliosis (the most common form of scoliosis by some distance) usually develops during adolescence, there are many, many teenagers who suffer from scoliosis. If you’ve been through puberty, you’ll know that pre-teens and teenagers can be very sensitive about how they look – low body image is common even amongst teens without curved spines, and so the psychological impact of scoliosis on adolescents should be a key concern for those who seek to treat this condition.
 
The problem is that most forms of scoliosis treatment focus on halting the progression of the curve itself. This is an indisputably crucial goal, but helping scoliosis sufferers to achieve a positive body image is very important as well, especially given the impact that a negative body image can have on an individual’s mental health.
 

Boosting your body image

A little while ago, we conducted some research into our own ScolioGold treatment programme and its effect on patient body image. A detailed summary of this research project can be found here, but in case you’re not able to read the full document right now, here are our key findings in brief:
  • Patients reported a significant improvement in body image post-treatment.

  • All age groups (juvenile, adolescent and adult) reported substantial improvements.

  • These results suggest that intensive exercise-based programmes such as ScolioGold could be a very effective approach to treating certain psychological impacts of scoliosis.
Click here to find out more about our exercise-based treatment courses, or contact us today if you’d like to book a consultation.
Scoliosis Patient and Rower Phoebe

In August of this year we treated 15-year-old Phoebe, a keen rower and runner who had been diagnosed with scoliosis and whose spine displayed a 30 degree curve.

Phoebe’s mother first spotted the curvature when, while cutting her daughter’s hair, she noticed that her hips weren’t symmetrical. They went to visit her GP, who referred Phoebe to hospital. She was then diagnosed with scoliosis, and when she went back to the hospital a year later, she had grown a lot, causing her spinal curve to get even worse.

Phoebe was then told she may need spinal fusion surgery, but this was mainly for cosmetic purposes, and she was more concerned about the increase in shoulder pain that was stopping her from enjoying her favourite hobbies. This shoulder pain wasn’t all that severe when she was first diagnosed with scoliosis; however, over a period of time, her pain started to worsen and it began to become a large part of her life. At this point, Phoebe decided to research different methods of treating and managing scoliosis, and that’s how she came across the Scoliosis SOS Clinic

Phoebe completed a pair of two-week ScolioGold treatment courses, and this helped to reduce both her spinal curve and the significant amount of shoulder pain she was feeling. During her treatment and rehabilitation program, Phoebe wore Kinesio tape around her neck and shoulder. Taping is used to help reduce muscle tension, allowing the patient to manage the pain without having to receive regular massages. After receiving ScolioGold treatment here at the clinic, Phoebe’s shoulder pain had reduced and she noticed improvements in her posture. 

You can see a full account of Phoebe’s scoliosis treatment in the video below.


To learn more about our ScolioGold treatment method, click here. If you have any further questions, or you would like to book an initial consultation, please contact us today.

Ireland’s health service is notorious for its long waiting lists. While the HSE (Health Service Executive) offers free healthcare to everyone resident in the Republic of Ireland – much as the NHS does for people in Britain – the system has been frequently criticised for keeping patients waiting for crucial treatment.

Last month, Irish Minister of State for Health Promotion Marcella Corcoran Kennedy became the latest person to confront her country’s waiting list problem, specifically singling out the long waiting lists for children who require scoliosis surgery. On the 17th of November, 2016The Irish Times reported that Ms Corcoran Kennedy had called the current waiting times “unacceptable”, and that Ireland’s Department of Health were “working closely with the HSE to address pressures on the service”.

The problem with waiting for scoliosis treatment

If you’re not familiar with scoliosis and how the condition progresses, you might not realise why Ireland’s long waiting lists are so harmful for people with curved spines. Curvature of the spine isn’t generally regarded as a life-threatening illness, so what difference does it make if scoliosis patients have to wait a little longer to be seen?

The problem is that a spinal curve tends to get worse if left untreated, and this progression can happen extremely rapidly for some people. In an ideal world, every case of scoliosis would be diagnosed at an early stage and treated immediately so as to minimise the condition’s impact on each patient’s life; in reality, though, many a case goes undiagnosed and untreated until the symptoms (e.g. back pain, reduced mobility, muscular imbalance) become more pronounced and begin to take a significant toll on the patient’s quality of life.

And even when a diagnosis is made in a timely fashion, factors such as the waiting lists in Ireland can delay treatment and allow the curve to progress unchecked. The aforementioned Irish Times article mentions a young girl named Mary, who was diagnosed with a 40 degree spinal curve but didn’t undergo surgery until 17 months later, by which time her curve had progressed to an angle of more than 100 degrees.

Getting treated at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in London

With waiting times in Ireland being what they are, numerous scoliosis sufferers have sought alternative treatment routes in order to get their condition under control ASAP. We have welcomed many Irish patients through the doors of the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in London, where scoliosis sufferers undertake intensive exercise-based treatment courses in order to combat the symptoms of scoliosis without surgery or bracing.

One of our Irish patients is Molly Garvey from Dublin. Molly completed her ScolioGold course in 2010 and has since returned several times for check-ups – watch the video below to find out what she thinks of us.


If you would like to find out more about our non-surgical scoliosis treatment courses, please contact us today.

Further Reading:
Dextroscoliosis vs. Levoscoliosis
 
Scoliosis – a sideways curvature of the spine – comes in many different forms. The cause, location and severity of the curve can vary hugely from one patient to the next: for example, a 12-year-old girl with idiopathic scoliosis and an older woman whose spine is curved due to the degeneration of her intervertebral discs could both be said to suffer from scoliosis even though their conditions are very, very different.
 
One of the most obvious defining characteristics of any spinal curve is its direction – does the patient’s spine curve to the left, or to the right?

What do the words ‘dextroscoliosis’ and ‘levoscoliosis’ mean?

‘Dextroscoliosis’ and ‘levoscoliosis’ look like two intimidatingly dense pieces of medical jargon, but they actually just refer to the direction in which a scoliosis patient’s spine curves
  • Levoscoliosis curves towards the left side of the body
  • Dextroscoliosis curves towards the right side of the body
Unlike the word ‘scoliosis’, which is Ancient Greek vocabulary, these terms are derived from Latin. It’s relatively easy to remember which is which, because ‘levoscoliosis’ and ‘left’ both begin with the same sound (and the average person is more dexterous with their right hand, although admittedly that mnemonic may be a little counter-intuitive if you yourself are left-handed).

Is it better to have dextroscoliosis than levoscoliosis?

At this point, you may be wondering which set of scoliosis sufferers has it worse. Is it more painful to have a spine that curves to the left than one that curves right? Or is it the other way around? Or does it not really make any difference?
 
First of all, it should be reiterated that every scoliosis sufferer has a different experience, and that applies to both dextro- and levoscoliosis sufferers. The direction of your curve is not a reliable indicator of how much pain you will experience, how far the curve will progress, or the extent to which your condition might impair your ability to move around.
 
That being said, some people have suggested that levoscoliosis is more dangerous than dextroscoliosis because (among other reasons) the heart is on the left side of the body. While a right-leaning spinal curve can indisputably have a hugely detrimental impact on a person’s quality of life, there is some evidence that a left-leaning curve is more likely to be accompanied by other health conditions and diseases. A study entitled Left thoracic curve patterns and their associations with disease (Goldberg et al, 1999) noted that there was some correlation between levoscoliosis and disease; however, the authors of that study concluded that the correlation wasn’t especially strong, and that several other factors were more reliably associated with disease in scoliosis patients.
 
More details on the link (or lack thereof) between levoscoliosis and disease can be found here.

Treating dextroscoliosis and levoscoliosis

Both levo- and dextroscoliosis are traditionally treated using the same methods:
  • Bracing
  • Spinal fusion surgery
However, here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we have achieved excellent results through treating both levoscoliosis and dextroscoliosis using an exercise-based physiotherapy regime called ScolioGold therapy. Our intensive treatment courses have helped many scoliosis sufferers to combat the symptoms of their condition, achieve a higher quality of life, and avoid undergoing surgery.
 
Click here to see what our patients have said about their ScolioGold treatment courses, or contact us today to book a consultation.
20 degree scoliosis resultsperson-19person-19person-19
 
Scoliosis isn’t always easy to identify, but if a patient suspects that they may be experiencing symptoms associated with the condition, they will usually be given a physical examination before being sent for an X-ray to confirm the presence of an abnormal spinal curvature. This curve is measured using a metric that is commonly referred to as the Cobb angle, which is used to identify the degree of scoliosis present in each sufferer’s spine.
 
cobb angle x-ray
 
If the Cobb angle is less than 10°, this is usually an indication of a perfectly normal spine (since the human spine always has a certain degree of deviation – nobody’s back is totally straight). 10° is usually used as the threshold for diagnosing scoliosis; if the Cobb angle is identified as exceeding 20°, treatment is routinely recommended so as to prevent further curve progression, which can cause an increasing number of health problems if the Cobb angle is left to worsen. In some cases, treatment is also advised for those who have a curve between 10 and 20°, depending on a variety of different factors in each individual case.
 

What is 20 degree scoliosis?

In simple terms, the severity of an individual’s scoliosis is assessed on a scale ranging from mild (Cobb angle of 10-25°) to moderate (26-40°) to severe (40°+). This means a curve that measures around 20 degrees would be classed as mild scoliosis, which is obviously the least debilitating form of the condition.
 
However, while the word ‘mild’ may suggest that this form of scoliosis is fairly harmless, it does carry a significant risk of progression. This risk can increase up to 100% for a diagnosis in very young children once the curve exceeds the 20° mark. In cases of mild scoliosis, it is beneficial to undertake preventative measures in order to reduce the curve at an early stage and give yourself the best chance at limiting progression.
 
 

What are the symptoms?

Patients with 20 degree scoliosis usually suffer from one or more of the following symptoms:
  • Uneven shoulders and hips
  • Forward or tilted head posture
  • Legs appearing to be uneven
  • Mild pain 
  • Clothes hanging unevenly 
This form of scoliosis is most commonly found in adolescent females, although it can affect individuals of both genders, ranging from young people to fully-grown adults.
 

Treating 20 degree scoliosis

Young patients with mild scoliosis will usually be recommended to wear a specially-fitted back brace –  read about bracing here.
 
scoliosis treatment
 
At the Scoliosis SOS clinic in London, we practice an alternative form of scoliosis treatment called ScolioGold therapy. It is suitable for brace-wearers as well as those who opt to pursue a less restrictive form of curve prevention.
 
Our treatment programmes combine a variety of proven, non-surgical techniques, which are used to address multiple aspects of the condition and provide long-term results. Over the years, we have successfully treated patients with curves ranging from mild to severe, leading to Cobb angle reduction along with the improvement of pain, mobility, and visible symptoms.
 

Case Study: Lottie, aged 12

Lottie is a young dancer who was diagnosed with a 19° scoliosis curvature. She came to us for treatment to help prevent her scoliosis curvature getting worse as she grew. She really enjoyed her treatment with us and knows that she will be able to prevent her condition worsening by continuing to practice her exercises at home.

See our full interview with Lottie here:

 
Here at Scoliosis SOS, we are very proud of the fact that we have helped scoliosis sufferers from every corner of the globe. If you’re familiar with our Overseas Patients page, you’ll know that people have travelled to our clinic from all over Europe, from North America, and even from Oceania and Asia.

One patient from that latter group is Amy, who travelled all the way to London from Taiwan to receive treatment for her scoliosis last year.

Scoliosis Treatment for Amy from Taiwan

Amy is a nurse, and she has been living with a curved spine for roughly 15 years! She wore a brace for 4-5 of those years, but was unhappy with this treatment – her back brace was uncomfortable to wear in the hot weather, and she noticed that her muscles were shrinking and she was becoming weaker as time went by.

Amy visited the Scoliosis SOS Clinic after reading about us online and being impressed with the results she saw on our website – photos of other patients who had received treatment here and were now living a higher quality of life as a result. 

To find out more about Amy’s treatment here, you can watch this short video interview we conducted with her:

Why travel to the UK from Taiwan for scoliosis treatment?

The distance between Taiwan and England is pretty immense (about 6,000 miles). However, as Amy says in the video above, the benefits you gain from receiving treatment here are well worth the long journey. Non-surgical treatment can be hard to find in Taiwan, and finding an alternative to surgery has proven a difficult task for many Taiwanese scoliosis sufferers. 

Our treatment method, ScolioGold, is a proven non-surgical treatment for scoliosis; as our research has shown, it can visibly reduce a patient’s spinal curve in addition to providing relief from pain and improving flexibility and self image.

If you live in Taiwan (or anywhere else in the world for that matter) and you would like to find out more about our scoliosis treatment courses, please contact us today. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and we can even carry out a full consultation with you via Skype or telephone call.