People with scoliosis
sometimes find it more difficult to move around than people with healthy spines. This can be a big problem for sports enthusiasts with curved spines: mobility and flexibility are two very important attributes when you’re engaging in physical activities, and some scoliosis sufferers struggle to perform to the best of their abilities when it comes to athletic pursuits.
Running is one sport where the presence of a spinal curvature can cause real problems for the athlete. Today, we’re going to look at what exactly scoliosis can mean for runners before exploring some possible treatment options.
How does scoliosis affect a runner’s performance?
Scoliosis can affect a person’s ability to run in a number of different ways:
- A curved spine often leads to pain and discomfort, which can eat away at a runner’s stamina and endurance – especially when it lasts for long periods. (Some scoliosis sufferers find swimming to be a more comfortable, less painful form of exercise.)
- In some cases, an abnormally large spinal curve can cause reduced lung capacity, resulting in compromised breathing. Breathing is a crucial part of running (particularly distance running, e.g. marathons), and scoliosis can sometimes cause problems by making it difficult for the runner to catch their breath.
- When scoliosis causes reduced flexibility, it may impair a runner’s performance by limiting their range of movement.
Does running make scoliosis worse?
In addition to the above considerations, runners with scoliosis also have to be wary of making their spinal curve even worse. Scoliosis often progresses over time anyway, but certain physical activities – including running – may speed up this process, in some cases increasing the patient’s Cobb angle
This happens because of the way a runner’s back rotates and flexes with every step. Running on paved or hard surfaces can further increase the load on a scoliotic spine, which serves to intensify the daily effects of gravity on the less-than-adequately-supported vertebrae and ultimately causes the condition to progress.
Treatment options for runners with scoliosis
Some of the recommended treatments for scoliosis can be just as limiting as the spinal curvature itself. Wearing a back brace
can help to halt the progression of the curve, but that rigid plastic shell dramatically inhibits the wearer’s movements. Spinal fusion surgery
may be recommended once the Cobb angle has reached a certain point, but again, this procedure can leave the patient with drastically reduced mobility and flexibility.
Don’t worry, though – scoliosis doesn’t have to spell the end for your running career. (Did you know that Usain Bolt
, the world’s fastest man himself, is a scoliosis sufferer?) The non-surgical treatment courses that we offer here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic
consistently get fantastic results, minimising the symptoms of scoliosis without any intrusive corrective measures or procedures.
Shona Hargreave, a teenager from Merseyside, visited our clinic in 2014 because she was concerned that her spinal curve would put a premature end to her competitive running career.
Her scoliosis was manifesting itself in a range of symptoms, including:
- Back pain
- Reduced breathing capacity
- Asymmetrical appearance
Our ScolioGold therapy
helped Shona to overcome these symptoms and return to training. Here’s what she had to say about her time at the clinic:
“When I was told I had scoliosis, I didn’t really understand – no one ever sat me down and explained what was going on in my back until I got to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic.
“The staff there were amazing. They made me feel normal again, and encouraged me to carry on living a normal life. The exercises weren’t too hard; you just had to think about what you were doing.
“Everything has changed this year. I feel alive, health, happy, and I cannot wait to get back to running.”
Although the Scoliosis SOS Clinic is based in London, we consider ourselves to be an international treatment centre – just take a look at the overseas patient case studies
featured on our website.
Over the years, we have treated patients from a huge array of countries. Scoliosis sufferers have come to us from North America, Africa, Asia and Oceania, not to mention our many patients from across the European continent. This includes several patients from the Scandinavian region – patients such as Axel Von Sydow, who travelled from Sweden to enrol on one of our 2-week fast-track courses.
Axel suffers from a condition called Scheuermann’s disease
, which manifests itself in the form of a rounded upper back (hyperkyphosis
). The effects of hyperkyphosis are similar to the effects of scoliosis, except for the fact that the condition causes the spine to curve forward rather than sideways. Like scoliosis, the condition can be very painful for those who suffer from it, particularly following periods of exercise or long spells of inactivity. This was certainly the case for Axel, who first noticed his condition during his time as a teenage ice hockey player. Axel noticed that his back often felt stiff after playing sports, and after undergoing further medical investigation, he was diagnosed with Scheuermann’s.
Although Axel found that he was able to manage his condition for many years, he noticed that as he got older, he was finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the symptoms of his hyperkyphosis – particularly the feelings of fatigue. This was especially problematic for his job as a software developer, which required him to sit down in the same position for long periods of time. Having heard about Scoliosis SOS from his mother, who had been researching Axel’s condition online, Axel decided to look into our treatment options further and find out about some of our previous hyperkyphosis cases.
Impressed by what he found online, Axel booked onto one of our fast-track courses, making the journey over from Sweden to begin his treatment at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in London. Our 2-week courses combine course exercise classes with one-on-one treatments with our therapists, allowing patients to fine-tune their programme in order to relieve the symptoms of their own spinal curvature. This is particularly helpful for patients from overseas, as it allows them to identify and perfect a specially-tailored set of movements for treating their condition in only a short space of time. These exercises can then be performed by the patient themselves in order to continue the progress made at our clinic.
To find out more about Axel’s story, watch his patient experience video:
If you’re patient from Sweden who is currently looking for an effective non-surgical approach to treating your spinal condition, please don’t hesitate to get in touch
with our clinic today to find out how we can help!
Undergoing scoliosis surgery can be a rather scary prospect, and so it’s perhaps no wonder that people are often willing to travel thousands of miles across land and sea in order to access an effective non-surgical alternative. Norway is one country that is quite short on non-surgical scoliosis treatment options, which explains why several of the pins on our Overseas Patients
map are situated along the western edge of Scandinavia.
Case Study: Camilla Bang
Camilla, a young woman now in her early 20s, is one scoliosis sufferer who frequently flies over to our clinic from Norway for a refresher session. We first treated her in 2013 after she decided that she didn’t want to have steel rods inserted into her back!
Camilla was first diagnosed with scoliosis as a teen. She was experiencing a bout of back pain, and her mother – upon examining Camilla’s back – noticed a visible curvature that prompted the family to visit the hospital in Oslo for an X-ray. That scan revealed a 37-degree spinal curve; one year later, another X-ray showed that Camilla’s Cobb angle
had progressed to 43 degrees, severe enough to qualify her for surgery.
However, when Camilla realised what the operation would actually entail, she and her father began researching alternatives. Their search led them to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in London
, which turned out to be a less expensive option than the one non-surgical scoliosis treatment clinic located on the other side of Norway. (London’s many shopping opportunities were a big draw too!)
Camilla attended a 4-week ScolioGold
course back in 2013 and saw rapid progress thanks to our special exercise-based treatment programme. Eventually, her curve was diminished to a Cobb angle of 38 degrees, and her refresher sessions and ongoing exercises have managed to keep it there for several years now.
Watch the video below to see Camilla speaking about her experiences at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic.
Whether you live in Norway or a completely different part of the world, the Scoliosis SOS Clinic can help you to combat your spinal curvature. Contact us today to arrange a consultation (this can be carried out via Skype or telephone call if needed).
As you can see from our overseas patients map, we’ve had the pleasure of treating scoliosis sufferers from almost every continent. Back in 2015 we treated Nikke, our first patient from Nigeria. She travelled all the way to London in order to receive treatment for her curved spine.
Nikke – who was 36 when she visited our clinic – was first diagnosed with scoliosis when her mother noticed a hump in her back when she was 11 years old. She visited a local hospital, but was then referred to an orthopaedic hospital in Lagos (Nigeria’s largest city), where she was told she had to wear a back brace.
Some time later, Nikke had noticed a sharp pain in her back; she tried to continue her life as normal in spite of the pain, but it got progressively worse over time and, by 2014, her back pain was so excruciating that she had to visit the hospital once again. There, Nikke was told she would need to go undergo surgery, and so she came to London to speak with a doctor about the possibility of an operation. She was told that the surgery would cost her £60,000 and that she’d have to undergo two separate operations, with the possibility of more surgery later in life.
Nikke was understandably put off by this, so while she was still in London she decided to look at other scoliosis treatment options. That’s when she came across Scoliosis SOS. Nikke was looking for a treatment that would relieve her back pain and correct her posture – and we’re happy to report that this is exactly what our ScolioGold treatment course achieved.
During her time at the clinic, Nikke sat down for a quick chat about her diagnosis, the treatment she received for her scoliosis in Nigeria, and how ScolioGold therapy helped with her condition. Watch the video below to find out what she had to say.
About ScolioGold Therapy
Here at Scoliosis SOS we use a unique treatment method called ScolioGold
. This is a combination of numerous proven techniques that we selected ourselves in order to treat every part of each patient’s condition. ScolioGold is a wide-ranging treatment approach that focuses on pain reduction, minimising the visibility of the spinal curve, and reduction of the patient’s Cobb angle
The Scoliosis SOS Clinic is located in the City of London. We offer on-site accommodation
, and our convenient location means that all of London’s most popular tourist attractions are just a short distance away!