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February 20, 2018
Can Scoliosis Get Better On Its Own?
Living with Scoliosis
When you or someone in your family are diagnosed with scoliosis, it’s normal to wonder if the condition will simply get better on its own. No one wants to go through a potentially arduous treatment for an illness that will eventually resolve itself once things have taken their course. Unfortunately,
scoliosis does not usually get better on its own
. Very minor spinal curves may improve with time, but this is very rare and only happens in the mildest cases of scoliosis. In fact, when left without treatment, large scoliosis curves tend to progress further, getting worse and worse until they’re causing potentially life-threatening problems. The most severe scoliosis curvatures can lead to restricted cardiovascular and respiratory movement.
What can I do to stop my scoliosis getting worse?
You can prevent your scoliosis from getting worse by seeking treatment from your GP. They will usually refer you to a hospital, and the medical professionals there may recommend bracing, physiotherapy, surgery, or any combination of these. When you are diagnosed at a young age, it is typically recommended to wear a back brace until your body has finished growing. The brace will help to prevent the scoliosis curve from progressing any further as you grow. When diagnosed with scoliosis as an adult, physiotherapy and surgery are the most commonly-recommended treatment routes. Only the most severe cases of scoliosis (40-50° and over) require surgical intervention. Typically, the procedure used is
spinal fusion surgery
, which involves attaching rods, hooks, wires or screws to the curved part of the spine in order to help straighten the spine over time. A bone graft is then used to ‘fuse’ the spine into the correct position.
How can physiotherapy help with scoliosis?
Here at Scoliosis SOS, we offer specialised physiotherapy courses for those with scoliosis and other spinal/postural problems. We find that many of our patients do not want to undergo the painful process of surgery and would prefer to follow a physiotherapy treatment plan to help improve their scoliosis. There are a variety of different non-surgical methods that can be used to help reduce the curvature of the spine – here are just a few of the techniques we use to combat scoliosis:
– This method, developed by Katharina Schroth, was introduced in 1921 and has been used ever since. It comprises a series of stretches and exercises that combat the symptoms of scoliosis.
FITS Method –
With an individually-adjusted programme for each patient, this method uses posture patterns to help improve scoliosis.
Kinesio tape is sometimes used to help promote correct muscle movements, which can help reduce the pain caused by scoliosis.
Hydrotherapy is a great way to treat certain symptoms of scoliosis without the strain of doing exercises on dry land.
page to read about all the techniques we use to treat scoliosis here at the clinic.
Get in touch with Scoliosis SOS today
to arrange a consultation and find out more about our treatment courses.
January 25, 2018
Scoliosis and Chronic Pain
Living with Scoliosis
Unless you yourself are living with chronic pain, it can be difficult to imagine how debilitating it can be to the sufferer. ‘Chronic pain’ means any persistent pain – it can last for weeks, months, or even longer. Chronic pain can occur as a result of scoliosis when your body tries to compensate for the curve in the spine. Although some people with scoliosis feel only minimal discomfort, others suffer severe pain, including:
Leg and hip pain
Breathing / cardiovascular issues
All of these problems can make it incredibly difficult for someone with scoliosis to live a normal life. If your back pain is affecting your day-to-day activities, it may be a good idea to seek professional medical help in order to find out what can be done.
How to treat scoliosis-related chronic pain
Every case of scoliosis is different, so there is no ‘one size fits all’ cure for the associated pain. The level of pain doesn’t even necessarily correlate with the angle of one’s spinal curve; for example, someone with a 65-degree curve may feel little pain, whereas someone with a 20-degree curve may experience intense pain. A scoliosis specialist will be able to help you determine the best method of treating the chronic pain caused by your scoliosis. In some cases, if the curve is particularly severe.
a surgical operation
may be required in order to correct your spinal curvature and relieve the pressure it is putting on your body. However, there are several non-surgical methods for relieving scoliosis-related pain, including pain relief medication and physical therapy. Although pain relief medication can help to reduce the pain you feel, physical therapy programmes – such as our own
– can be more effective in the long run. ScolioGold combines a number of effective non-surgical treatment techniques and is tailored to the specific requirements that accompany a curvature of the spine. We have helped countless scoliosis patients to overcome their chronic pain and achieve a significantly higher quality of life. If you want any advice about the pain caused by your scoliosis, we are more than happy to help – please
contact us today
to book a consultation with our friendly scoliosis specialists.
January 23, 2018
Exercise After Scoliosis Surgery
Living with Scoliosis
In a particularly severe case of scoliosis, surgery may be the only way to prevent the patient’s spinal curvature from continuing to get worse.
Spinal fusion surgery
, while generally effective, is a major operation from which it typically takes months to fully recover. After undergoing this type of surgery, it is often necessary to make some lifestyle changes in order to minimise your recovery time. For instance, bending, lifting and twisting should all be avoided in the weeks immediately following a spinal fusion procedure, as your spine and incision will need time to heal. Later in the recovery process, you can start to consider your regular exercise routine. Many patients who undergo scoliosis surgery are able to maintain their usual lifestyle after the operation, but changes do sometimes need to be made to reduce pressure on the spinal area.
Can you exercise after scoliosis surgery?
Yes, you can, although the more important question is how long you ought to
before exercising again. As mentioned above, heavy lifting, bending and twisting are all strictly off-limits to begin with; indeed, intense exercise of any sort is best avoided at this point. However, low-impact exercises – such as walking and swimming – will benefit both your health and the ongoing fusion process. Before you can return to your usual sport and exercise habits, your skin will need to heal from the incision and your bones will need to fuse together again. This can take anywhere from 6-9 months. Your surgeon will be able to tell you when you’re sufficiently healed, at which point you’ll hopefully be able to ease back into more physically-demanding exercises and activities.
What exercises can you do after scoliosis surgery?
As a general rule, anything that puts too much pressure on your spine is best avoided after scoliosis surgery. Heavy weightlifting, high-impact sports like rugby, and exercises that involve your abs can all damage your spine again and should be removed from your exercise regime. Exercises that involve flexion of the spine or neck, such as sit-ups and squats, can place pressure on the discs above and below the spinal fusion site. These should also be avoided as much as possible, although they can be replaced with more gentle stretching exercises. It is best to swap high-intensity exercise for more frequent low-impact exercise after scoliosis surgery. Recommended post-surgery activities include:
Elliptical machine training
In this way, you can still maintain an active lifestyle without fear of damaging your vertebrae, discs or spinal cord. Here at the
Scoliosis SOS Clinic
, we believe that exercise is the best method for fighting spinal curvature. We treat both patients who are looking to avoid surgery and those who have already had a spinal fusion. Our non-surgical
treatment courses combine stretches, exercises, and massages to reduce the angle of your spinal curve and improve your quality of life.
Contact us now
to arrange an initial consultation.
Worried that your scoliosis will prevent you from taking part in your favourite sport?
Read about some of our sporty success stories here!
January 8, 2018
How to Sleep with Scoliosis: 5 Helpful Tips
Living with Scoliosis
Getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge when you suffer from
(a sideways curvature of the spine). Some scoliosis patients are kept awake at night by the pain and discomfort that stems from their condition, while others simply struggle to find a comfortable sleeping position. Whatever the reason, scoliosis can often make it very difficult to nod off! With that in mind, we at the
Scoliosis SOS Clinic
would like to share a few tips that we hope will help sleep-deprived scoliosis sufferers to rest a little more peacefully tonight:
1. Get the right mattress.
It’s important (even if you
suffer from scoliosis) to find a mattress that provides adequate support for your body while still providing a good level of comfort. You should ideally invest in a medium-to-firm mattress that doesn’t give too much when you lie down on it; if you use a mattress topper for extra comfort, try not to go any thicker than 2 or 3 inches as this will negate the support you’re getting from the mattress itself.
2. Don’t use too many pillows.
Resting your head on a large stack of pillows might sound inviting, but elevating your head too far off the mattress can put a lot of strain on your neck and upper spine. For this reason, it’s better to stick with a single pillow that’s not too thick. That being said, those extra pillows can still come in handy: try using them for extra support in spots where your scoliosis is particularly painful / uncomfortable.
3. Find the right sleeping position.
It’s well worth taking the time to work out which sleeping position suits you best. Most people sleep on their side, although you may find that sleeping on your back is more comfortable as this spreads your body weight evenly across a larger surface. Sleeping on your front may not be such a good idea as this position forces your back and neck into a slightly unnatural position.
4. Take painkillers if needed (but speak to your doctor first).
While we don’t recommend becoming dependent on pain medication if you can possibly avoid it, you may find that certain low-level painkillers help you to nod off a little more easily at night. Visit your GP to discuss the best course of pain relief for your condition, especially if the pain is so severe that it is consistently keeping you awake at night.
5. Practice good sleep hygiene.
There are lots of bad habits that can make it harder to fall asleep (in addition to reducing the quality of what sleep you
get). These habits may well be exacerbating the difficulties your scoliosis is causing you, so here are a few rules that you should try to follow:
Stop looking at screens (your TV, your smartphone, etc.) at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
Don’t drink caffeine or eat foods that trigger indigestion too close to bedtime.
Get lots of exercise during the day.
Try to go to bed at approximately the same time every night.
Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we aim to address every aspect of your condition via our unique
Contact us today to arrange a consultation.
December 6, 2017
Does Scoliosis Cause Headaches?
Living with Scoliosis
We all experience headaches from time to time, and most of them don’t seem to occur for any particular reason. But can
– a sideways spinal curve – contribute to the onset of headaches? As we’ve seen time and again on the Scoliosis SOS blog, a curved spine can lead to all sorts of diverse symptoms and ailments, from back pains to indigestion to restricted breathing. Today, we’re going to look at whether headaches can be traced to scoliosis as well.
How could scoliosis cause headaches?
Your neck is made out of vertebrae just like the rest of your spine – these are called the
. There are many structures within your neck, including arteries and veins; the lymph, thyroid and parathyroid glands; your spinal cord; and your trachea, oesophagus and larynx. When a curve in the upper part of your spine includes some of your cervical vertebrae, the distortion of your neck may have a knock-on effect on some of the body parts listed above. Oddly enough, scoliosis doesn’t often cause neck pain, but it may well cause pain in the back of the head. In particular, if the top three cervical vertebrae are affected by your condition, this may well be the source of your head pain.
Cervicogenic headaches can originate from damage to the joints, ligaments, muscles, dura mater, intervertebral discs and nerves in the upper neck. In addition to the headache itself, a cervicogenic headache patient may experience dull upper neck pain that can become more of a stabbing pain with certain movements.
Scoliosis can also cause tension headaches. Tension headaches can occur when the neck or scalp muscles are tensing and contracting due to stress, depression, anxiety or injury. These are the most common type of headache, and result in a band-like constructive pain around the head. Scoliosis causes postural strain, and will often cause this type of muscle tension.
Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we can help straighten your spinal posture to ease the tension on your neck (among other symptoms).
Contact us today to book an initial consultation.
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Scoliosis SOS – London Clinic(head office)
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