Scoliosis correction

While scoliosis cannot truly be ‘cured’, there are a number of ways to treat the symptoms of this condition and reverse the progression of the Cobb angle. Scoliosis correction is always dependent on the severity of each case; for some patients, surgery may be the only option, but in most cases, non-surgical treatment methods can be highly effective. In either case, the main aim of any scoliosis correction effort should be to improve the quality of life for the patient.

Scoliosis Correction Surgery

If the patient’s Cobb angle is greater than 40-50 degrees, surgery will likely be recommended. In especially severe cases, this may be the only way to stop the condition from worsening.

Spinal fusion surgery

Spinal fusion surgery corrects scoliosis by anchoring the spine to a series of rods. These rods act as a splint, which holds the spine in place and reduces the angle of the problematic curve. Once this has been done, a bone graft (sometimes real, sometimes synthetic) is used to fuse it with the spine, hopefully preventing the curve from progressing any further. If you want to learn more about the actual surgery process, you can read all about it here

Scoliosis Correction Treatments

Although spinal fusion is generally a safe procedure with proven benefits, there are always risks associated with any surgical procedure. As a result, many scoliosis sufferers choose not to undergo surgery, and that’s why we offer a range of non-invasive treatments for scoliosis correction.

Scoliogold treatment

The ScolioGold Method

Our ScolioGold method is made up of a combination of well-established scoliosis treatments, including the Schroth method. These non-surgical techniques are scientifically proven, and used together, they ensure that each and every aspect of the patient’s condition is treated. Our personalised treatment programme can help reduce your Cobb angle, relieve pain and lessen the appearance of the curve, which can boost self-esteem and body image. In order to effectively improve scoliosis symptoms, we assess each individual case and create the treatment plan around the patient’s specific needs.

To learn more about the various treatments that make up the ScolioGold method, please click here.

We have successfully reduced our patient’s Cobb angles, which improves posture and overall quality of life. We do this without any invasive surgical procedures, so if you are worried about the risks of surgery for any reason, we are happy to help. To have a look at the results of our ScolioGold treatment, view our before and after pictures.

Here at Scoliosis SOS, we assess every patient’s condition and create a plan tailored to help improve their individual symptoms. To find out more about what we can do to help correct scoliosis, please contact us today.

Pregnant woman having an epidural
 
Previously on this blog, we’ve examined the impact that pregnancy can have on scoliosis and discussed the ways in which we at Scoliosis SOS can help. However, there’s one fairly common question that we failed to cover last time around: if you have a curved spine, can you have an epidural to help with the pain of giving birth?

What is an epidural?

An epidural is a type of steroid injection administered into the ‘epidural space’, which lies between the covering of the spinal cord and inside the bony spinal canal. The medication reduces pain by coating the nerve roots and the outside lining of the facet joints in the areas near the injection.
 
An epidural is administered by an anaesthetist, who will first insert a drip into your arm to administer fluids whilst you are having the epidural. You will then be asked to sit leaning forwards – or to lie on your side with your knees drawn up – in order to allow the anaesthetist to begin the procedure of inserting the epidural. First, an injection of local anaesthetic will be used to numb the skin where the epidural will be inserted; then, a needle will be used to insert a fine plastic tube between the bones of your back.
 
The needle is then removed, leaving the tube to be used for administering the pain relief drugs. While this will usually make it difficult to walk around and cause unsteadiness on your feet, some hospitals are able to offer mobile epidurals that allow you to walk around.

Scoliosis and epidurals

Cases of scoliosis vary hugely in their severity, and every spinal curve impacts the patient in different ways; the same is also true of undergoing an epidural. It is quite rare for back problems to prevent the use of an epidural during labour, but it may not be an option for some scoliosis patients, particularly those who have undergone surgery or have a curve in the lower (lumbar) spine.
 
Due to the fact that the epidural is placed in the lower spine, a spinal curve in this region may present difficulties for the anaesthetist, who may not be able to safely inject the epidural catheter in order to administer the pain relief medication.  If the scoliosis impacts the patient’s middle to upper spine, this should not present a problem, although it is still important for the patient to make the doctor/nurse aware of their condition beforehand.
 
If you have undergone spinal fusion surgery to correct a progressive curve, your doctor may not wish to risk disrupting the implant and/or giving you an infection, both of which can occur when administering an epidural. This may cause them to advise you against receiving an epidural.
 
If you are a pregnant scoliosis sufferer and you would like to have an epidural when you go into labour, the most important thing for you to do is to speak with your doctor and anaesthetist, who will be able to give you professional advice and guidance based on your individual circumstances. Not only will this provide you with a truly informed understanding of the possible risks involved (and the likelihood of success), it will also enable you to discuss alternative methods of pain relief in the event that an epidural is not possible or presents too much of a risk.
 
Would you like to find out more about treating your scoliosis before becoming pregnant or after giving birth? Get in touch with the Scoliosis SOS team today! 
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.

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.

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.