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.
‘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.
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, 2016
, The 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
– 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:
- 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.