Spinal Fusion Surgery
 
Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that is commonly recommended in severe cases of scoliosis. In the UK, spinal fusion surgery will usually be considered as a treatment option once the patient’s spinal curve measures 40 degrees; in some other countries, it may not be recommended without a Cobb angle measurement of at least 50 degrees.
 
 

Does spinal fusion surgery have a high success rate?

There are lots of stories on the Internet about spinal fusion procedures that didn’t have the desired effect (i.e. reducing curvature, preventing further progression of the curve, and easing symptoms such as back pain). There are even some accounts of operations that made things worse, leaving the patient in more pain and even less able to move around freely.
 
It is true that spinal fusion surgery can go wrong, but in the majority of cases, there are no significant complications and the treatment works well. As Leah Stoltz, founder of the Curvy Girls support group for young scoliosis sufferers, told us when we interviewed her:
 
“Something I’ve noticed a lot is that you really only hear scary or worrisome stories of surgeries not going well. For the innumerable number of cases that go well, they don’t necessarily need to talk about it as much…that’s one of the reasons I try to talk about [my experience of spinal fusion surgery] so much.”
 
According to the University of Washington’s Department of Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, the average curve correction achieved when spinal fusion is carried out on someone under 16 with idiopathic scoliosis is roughly 70%. The operation carries a 2-3% risk of complications.
 

What complications can arise?

When complications do arise from spinal fusion surgery, they vary greatly in severity and seriousness. Possible complications include:
  • Infection
  • Failed fusion
  • Paralysis
However, as stated above, the risk of complication – especially severe complication – is very low.
 

Alternatives to spinal fusion surgery

If your scoliosis has progressed to the point where you are being considered for surgery, you have probably already tried other treatment methods such as bracing. However, even advanced cases of scoliosis (40-50 degrees and over) may be treated via a non-surgical, exercise-based programme such as ScolioGold.
 
ScolioGold
 
Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we have treated countless scoliosis patients who thought that surgery was their only remaining option. The ScolioGold method, our own carefully-selected combination of non-surgical treatment techniques, has proven very effective in relieving pain, reducing curvature, improving mobility and muscle balance, and improving overall quality of life.
 

Useful Links:

Kyphoscoliosis
 
Kyphoscoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine on two different planes: the coronal plane, which divides the stomach and back; and the sagittal plane, which divides the body into its left and right sides.
 
This curvature is effectively a combination of hyperkyphosis (forward spinal curve) and scoliosis (sideways spinal curve). Kyphoscoliosis can occur at any age, and in some cases, it may even be present at birth due to congenital issues.

Symptoms of kyphoscoliosis

Kyphoscoliosis is typically noticed due to the visible signs of a hunched or uneven back. If the curvature is excessive, it can also cause physical debilitations. 
 
If you believe that you (or a loved one) may have kyphoscoliosis, here are the symptoms to look for:
  • A hunched back
  • Uneven shoulder blades
  • Arms or legs that are longer on one side
  • Difficulty walking normally
  • Back pain
  • Stiffness
  • Fatigue
In severe cases, kyphoscoliosis patients can also experience difficulty breathing/eating, heart issues or even neurological problems.

Causes of kyphoscoliosis

Kyphoscoliosis can develop at any age and may be caused by a variety of different issues. Many cases of kyphoscoliosis are found to be idiopathic, meaning the exact cause of the condition is unknown. 
 
In some cases, prolonged bad posture can lead to postural kyphoscoliosis. This can usually be eased with physical therapy, depending on the degree of the curvature.
 
Infections such as tuberculosis and osteochondrodysplasia can also be a cause of kyphoscoliosis as they weaken the spine. In patients aged 50+, kyphoscoliosis can develop when degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis or osteoarthritis are already present.

Kyphoscoliosis treatments

Physical therapy

Physiotherapy can help with mild to moderate cases of kyphoscoliosis. The main aim of physical therapy is to make the spinal tissues stronger in order to help correct the curvature as much as possible.
 
The Scoliosis SOS Clinic is dedicated to helping those suffering from spinal issues such as kyphoscoliosis, hyperkyphosis and scoliosis with physical therapy. Our ScolioGold courses work towards improving the posture and symptoms of those suffering from kyphoscoliosis.

Bracing

In many mild to moderate cases of scoliosis, hyperkyphosis, and kyphoscoliosis, a back brace is used to stunt the progression of the spinal curvature. The brace supports the muscles and bones and encourages the straightening of the spine.
 
The back braces needed for kyphoscoliosis are still in development as they need to stunt the curvature in both the coronal and sagittal plane.

Surgery 

Surgery becomes an option once kyphoscoliosis becomes severe and threatens to impact the patient’s breathing. When considering surgery for kyphoscoliosis, all factors need to be taken into account, such as age, the cause of the condition, risks and recovery time. 
 
If have been diagnosed with kyphoscoliosis and you feel you may benefit from the treatment available from Scoliosis SOS, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today by clicking the button below.
 
World-class acrobat, Lauren Hill, has been somersaulting her way around the globe at competitions since the tender age of 7 and has had the privilege of being part of Team GB at 3 Championships where she has won gold at European and World level. At 16 years old, she found her life in “sudden turmoil” after a shock diagnosis of Scoliosis and the threat of a high-risk operation to surgically immobilise and straighten her spine, which would have put an end to her acrobatics for good. Now thanks to a unique exercise programme she can look forward to pursuing the competitive and future performance career she always dreamed of.
When Lauren’s coach noticed her hips and shoulders looked uneven and one shoulder blade protruded he advised Lauren’s mother Alison to see her GP immediately. Lauren was initially diagnosed with a leg length discrepancy.  Yet, in just a short period of time Lauren was in terrible pain and had started to lose her flexibility. Lauren’s mother was desperate to help Lauren find some treatment that would mean she could continue with her dreams of being a professional acrobat.
Lauren enrolled on a four-week course of ScolioGold therapy and has achieved amazing results. Lauren is no longer at risk of surgery and has never been so excited about the future. 
For more on Lauren’s story please see the video below: –
Read more information about our treatment courses or Contact Us to discuss how ScolioGold therapy could help your spinal condition.
Scoliosis sports to avoid
 
Physical mobility is a prominent issue for scoliosis sufferers, especially those who regularly participate in sports and other forms of physical activity. These activities play a significant role in many people’s everyday lives, providing them with a fulfilling sense of self that cannot easily be replaced. 
 
Whether your chosen activity is a dearly-loved hobby or a career aspiration, the prospect of being unable to participate as a result of your spinal condition can be devastating. In order to provide a greater insight into how scoliosis can impact your ability to perform certain physical activities, today we will look at sports and exercises that scoliosis sufferers are commonly told to avoid, discussing the possible risks involved and how to avoid them. 
 

Sports to avoid if you suffer from scoliosis

Individuals with scoliosis are commonly told to avoid the following sports and activities:

Weight lifting

When performed incorrectly, weight lifting can be problematic even for people with healthy spines. For scoliosis sufferers, the risk of discomfort and further deterioration increases due to the existing weaknesses caused by having an uneven spine. The abnormalities caused by scoliosis result in unnatural movements within the body, which can be placed under further pressure by repetitive motions and heavy loading.

Impact sports (rugby, hockey, American football)

It is often recommended that scoliosis sufferers avoid or reduce their participation in sports that could cause ‘impact injuries’, which occur due to high speed bumps and falls during matches (e.g. when a rugby player is tackled and lands on hard ground). This can cause spinal fractures and damage to the joints, which increases the risk of degenerative disorders and further progression for those who already suffer with scoliosis.

Dance, gymnastics and yoga

Activities that involve the bending and flexing of the spine are often discussed as being problematic for those who suffer with scoliosis due to the excessive stress that certain movements can place on your spine. For reasons that are not entirely known, instances of scoliosis are also higher amongst dancers and gymnasts, although there is no clear evidence that the movements themselves lead to scoliosis. It may simply be the case that the condition is more likely to be observed under these circumstances, or that those who are genetically predisposed to excel in these activities are at a higher risk of developing scoliosis.

One-sided sports (tennis, golf, skiing)

Certain sports run the risk of unevenly working the spine due to the fact that one side of the body is placed under increased stress or performs certain movements more than the other. For patients with scoliosis, this can lead to discomfort and further progression of their already uneven spine, causing the rotation of the spine to worsen.
 

Does scoliosis mean I have to give up these sports?

Despite the fact that certain movements performed in sports are risky for scoliosis sufferers, this does not mean that you should give up on your life passions as a result of your condition! The key to overcoming the obstacles posed by having an uneven spine is getting to know your individual restrictions and limitations, adjusting your approach to avoid injury, and building up your strength.
 
While certain sports may be more dangerous for scoliosis sufferers than others, even the activities mentioned above can be performed safely when the sufferer is provided with the right management and treatment programme. This will not only teach you which exercises to avoid, but will also allow you to build strength in weaker areas of your body and retrain your body to avoid movements that place undue stress on these areas.
 
In the past, we at Scoliosis SOS have treated a number of sportspeople and dancers suffering with scoliosis, many of whom thought that their condition would eventually prevent them from taking part in these activities. Using our ScolioGold treatment method, we delivered a programme that was individually tailored to each of their conditions, allowing them to successfully manage their symptoms and continue to take part.
 
If you’re an active individual with scoliosis and you’re worried about the impact of this condition on your ability to participate and compete in sports, please get in touch with the Scoliosis SOS team to discuss how we may be able to help.