Scoliosis through life
While scoliosis is typically diagnosed during adolescence, the condition can also lead to complications later in life, particularly when left untreated. Most cases of spinal curvature are treated before any major complications occur; if left untreated, however, there is a chance that scoliosis may lead to more serious problems for the patient in question. Some people who undergo spinal fusion surgery for scoliosis also experience complications later in life.

What complications can occur later in life if scoliosis is left untreated?

If scoliosis is left untreated for long periods of time, it can lead to chronic pain and a variety of other complications. Most of the symptoms listed below will only occur after the patient’s scoliosis has reached an advanced degree of curvature, and can usually be avoided as long as the condition is treated in a timely manner:
  • Breathing problems
If scoliosis is left untreated for many years, the increasing curvature of the spine can cause the ribs to restrict lung capacity. This can lead to shortness of breath.
  • Leg pain
Advanced cases of scoliosis can cause one leg to appear shorter than the other due to misalignment of the hips. This can change the patient’s posture and gait (how they walk), which in turn causes the muscles to tire sooner due to over-compensation to maintain balance.
  • Cardiovascular problems
If the curvature of the spine reaches a particularly severe point, the restriction of the rib cage can lead to heart problems. In the most severe cases, this may even lead to heart failure; however, this only occurs in a tiny minority of cases.
  • Lumbar stenosis
While scoliosis is unlikely to cause any severe neurological problems no matter how old you are, it is associated with lumbar stenosis. Lumbar stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal, which can ultimately lead to nerve complications, weakness or leg pain.

Post-surgery complications

When surgery is conducted on (or near) the spine, there is always a possibility of short-term or long-term complications. In the case of scoliosis, spinal fusion surgery can sometimes lead to the following complications in later life:
  • Flat-back deformity
After surgery to rectify scoliosis, the natural ‘C’-shaped sagittal curve of the lower back may be lost. This is due to the vertebrae in the lumbar spine fusing together, thus eliminating the natural curvature. This deformity typically appears later in life, sometime between the ages of 30 and 50.
  • Transitional syndrome
When the spine is working correctly, each segment shares the weight and stress of everyday movement and activities. However, when one or more segments are not working correctly, the others have to take on more stress to account for this. This means that, if your vertebrae are fused together, the closest vertebrae to the fusion site will begin to take on more stress and may ultimately become damaged over time.
Scoliosis can cause many complications later in life, but if you seek treatment before your spine deteriorates too far, many of these issues can be nipped in the bud and avoided altogether. Surgery is not your only option when it comes to improving the curvature of your spine – here at Scoliosis SOS, we provide non-surgical treatment courses that have shown to be very effective indeed.
To discuss scoliosis treatment options, please book a consultation – this can be conducted over the phone, via Skype, or in person at our clinic in London.
Thoracic hyperkyphosis
Thoracic hyperkyphosis is a condition where the thoracic (upper) spine curves forward, resulting in a slouched or hunched appearance. It can affect people of all ages for a variety of different reasons.
While most people have some level of curvature in the upper spine, a person is said to have hyperkyphosis if the angle of their curve exceeds 45 degrees. Common symptoms of thoracic hyperkyphosis include:
  • Back pain
  • Stiffness
  • The top part of the back looking curved or hunched over
Every case is different, but many thoracic hyperkyphosis patients also report feeling fatigued as a result of their condition. Furthermore, the visible effects of hyperkyphosis sometimes contribute to low self-esteem, a negative body image, and emotional and social issues.

What causes thoracic hyperkyphosis?

As mentioned above, thoracic hyperkyphosis can arise for a number of different reasons. The most common causes include:
  • Bad posture – If you frequently slouch or otherwise fail to sit properly in chairs, your poor posture may end up causing hyperkyphosis over time.
  • Scheuermann’s disease – Scheuermann’s is a condition (mostly affecting young people) that occurs when the vertebrae don’t grow evenly. This can result in a hyperkyphotic spinal curve. Read more about Scheuermann’s disease here.
  • Congenital issues – Sometimes, a baby’s spine will develop incorrectly in the womb. This may result in the child being born with hyperkyphosis, with the condition progressing (getting worse) as they grow up.
Thoracic hyperkyphosis may also be caused by nutritional deficiencies, vertebral trauma, and a number of other problems.

How to treat thoracic hyperkyphosis

Just as hyperkyphosis has many different causes, it can also be treated in many different ways, including:
  • Bracing
  • Physical therapy
  • Spinal surgery
Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we frequently treat thoracic hyperkyphosis patients who wish to reduce the angle and visibility of their curve and alleviate symptoms such as pain and stiffness. We do this using our ScolioGold method, an exercise-based alternative to surgical intervention that has repeatedly shown itself to be effective in cases of a spinal curvature.
For more information on hyperkyphosis, watch our video here:
 Learn more about ScolioGold therapy below or get in touch to arrange a consultation with Scoliosis SOS.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis affects approximately 4 out of 100 adolescents worldwide. When the number’s that high, it’s perhaps unsurprising that we often treat adolescent scoliosis suffers from other parts of the world who do not wish to undergo surgery.
Scoliosis Patient from Malaysia
This was the case with Adha, who found out she had scoliosis through a clinic who visited her school in Malaysia in April 2016. Here’s her story:

Scoliosis Case Study: Adha From Malaysia

Adha was diagnosed with scoliosis in April last year by local clinic staff who visited Adha’s school. Each pupil in the school was checked and Adha was one of the three pupils who received a scoliosis diagnosis. 
After she was diagnosed with scoliosis, Adha and her father visited three specialist hospitals to see 3 different orthopaedic surgeons, and each one recommended that Adha go in for surgery to correct her scoliosis. Because Adha’s curve surpassed 40 degrees, she was considered a severe case and a suitable candidate for spinal fusion surgery.
However, Adha and her family decided against surgery and instead looked for alternative means of combating her spinal curve. Through searching on the internet, they found the Scoliosis SOS Cinic in London and read about the treatment courses we provide for people suffering from scoliosis. Adha’s brother happened to be studying in London at the time, so they decided to come here for treatment.
Adha and her father arrived at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic for Adha’s first consultation in the summer of 2016. After an initial consultation, they decided to go ahead with a full four-week course and stay in our London-based accommodation.
After the completion of the four-week course, Adha’s curvature has visibly improved and both she and her father are really pleased with the results.  Their advice for anyone else in Malaysia suffering from scoliosis is to try out the ScolioGold programme, as it is a great alternative to surgery. 
Here’s an interview with Adha and her father that we conducted after she completed her treatment course:
No matter where in the world you live, if you are suffering from a curved spine, we would love to hear from you. Contact Scoliosis SOS today to arrange an initial consultation – this can be carried out via Skype or over the telephone if you don’t live anywhere near London.
Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we specialise in the non-surgical treatment of spinal conditions such as scoliosis and hyperkyphosis. Our approach combines a variety of different methods, including various types of exercise, physical manipulation and more.
For sufferers of scoliosis and other spinal conditions, uneven posture can be a persistent problem, causing pain and discomfort as well as impacting the individual’s outward appearance. For this reason, postural correction is one of the goals we work towards during our ScolioGold treatment courses, the aim being to produce lasting posture improvement for the patient. 

How do we achieve posture improvement for our patients?

Successful posture improvement is achieved by tailoring treatment to the specific needs of the patient, depending on their individual condition and the symptoms they experience.
While scoliosis (a sideways curvature of the spine) can lead to postural problems, the idea that scoliosis is caused by bad posture is a common misconception. There is no evidence to suggest that poor posture can lead to the development of scoliosis, which sometimes arises because of an underlying neuromuscular/skeletal condition but which is idiopathic in the majority of cases. In contrast, hyperkyphosis (a forward curvature of the spine) can be caused by poor posture, with an estimated 20-40% of adults developing this deformity at some point in their life.
Since we treat different types of spinal curvature in patients of all ages and backgrounds, it is highly important for us to ensure that our treatments target the specific areas in need of improvement. We do this by using a selection of carefully-chosen corrective methods while also accounting for the impact and limitations caused by other aspects of the patient’s condition. In addition, each patient is also provided with an exercise programme to perform at home in order to ensure lasting results.

What methods are used?

Here are some of the posture improvement methods we use here at Scoliosis SOS:
FITS Method

FITS Method

This programme of individually-adjusted exercises is used to eliminate myofascial restrictions and build a series of new, corrective posture patterns.
This technique is used to promote correct muscle movement patterns while also reducing pain and inflammation. The tape, which has been worn by such famous athletes as Serena Williams and Gareth Bale, works by acting as an elastic reminder for postural control.
Medical Acupuncture
This treatment involves the insertion of very fine needles into points of the body to reduce pain, improve blood flow and promote healing. Acupuncture is used to target pain caused by muscular imbalances and postural asymmetry. 
Looking for more information about posture improvement methods? Here are some exercises to try at home.
Contact Scoliosis SOS for more information about our treatment courses.

When we discussed the signs and symptoms of scoliosis on this blog previously, we explained that spinal curvature often causes the hips to appear uneven, with one side sitting higher than the other. This uneven posture can cause pain for the patient when walking or standing for long periods of time, limiting the range of activities that they are able to perform without experiencing discomfort.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

How are scoliosis and hip pain linked?

The condition known as scoliosis (where the spine curves sideways) can lead to a variety of secondary problems, with hip pain sometimes developing as a result of stretched ligaments due to the spinal deformity. In addition, one hip may end up carrying more weight than the other because of the tilting caused by scoliosis; this leads to a misuse of tendons and muscles, which also results in pain.

What is the source of this hip pain?

The hip pain experienced by scoliosis sufferers usually occurs as a result of straining the iliolumbar and sacroiliac ligaments, strong bands of connective tissue which help to stabilise the lumbosacral spine at the pelvis. This type of pain is referred to as sacroiliac joint (SIJ) pain, with discomfort also resulting from pelvic dysfunction due to disturbance in normal moving patterns, and from the myofascial restrictions that develop as a result of muscle recruitment patterns being altered.

Can scoliosis treatment help with hip pain?

Once a thorough assessment has been conducted in order to determine the nature and cause of the hip pain, this information can be used to create a targeted treatment plan that uses manual therapy to address the problematic areas. This approach is then used to restore alignment and to correct abnormal patterns of movement, relieving stress and preventing future pain in the process.   Here at Scoliosis SOS, we tailor our non-surgical treatment programmes to the specific needs of each patient, allowing us to achieve the best results for each individual. If you suffer from hip pain due to your spinal condition, we will be able to take this into consideration when devising and delivering your treatment programme in order to provide relief from the pain and restore normal movement going forward.   Click here to learn more about our ScolioGold treatment method, or book an initial consultation here.