Scoliosis, a condition where the patient’s spine curves sideways, can be found in roughly 4% of the global population. Of those 4%, some have a very mild spinal curve that only measures 10-20 degrees
, while others are more severely affected by the condition.
Generally speaking, once a scoliosis patient’s Cobb angle
has progressed past the 40-degree mark (50 degrees in some territories), doctors will recommend spinal fusion surgery
as the best course of action.
Now, there’s a reason why spinal fusion surgery is the standard treatment for severe scoliosis. The operation has a good overall success rate, achieving the desired effect (reducing curvature and preventing further progression) with no complications in the majority of cases.
However, there are a number of reasons why a scoliosis sufferer may wish to seek alternatives to spinal fusion:
- All surgical procedures carry a certain level of risk – possible complications include infection and problems related to the anaesthesia used to sedate patients during surgery.
- Spinal fusion surgery in particular can lead to a number of other complications, although the risk is very low. Read about the risks associated with scoliosis surgery here.
- The spinal fusion procedure tends to be followed by a long recovery period, during which the patient may temporarily experience pain and reduced mobility/flexibility.
- Depending on where you live, there may be a long waiting list for spinal fusion surgery, and time is imperative when your spinal curvature is still progressing. (This has been a particularly big problem in Ireland recently.)
- The long-term effects of spinal fusion surgery on patients are still relatively unknown, especially as techniques keep changing. However, some patients may continue to experience or develop pain, while others find that a secondary curve forms above or below the fused area. Occasionally, it is necessary to undergo another operation to extend the fusion.
Treating scoliosis without surgery
With the above in mind, it’s perhaps easy to understand why a number of scoliosis patients are reluctant to undergo spinal fusion surgery. So what other treatments are available?
Mild to moderate cases of scoliosis are frequently treated using a Boston brace
, but this approach doesn’t reverse the spinal curvature – it just aims to prevent it getting worse, and therefore it’s no use if your scoliosis is already quite severe or if you are an adult.
However, there are a number of non-surgical techniques that have been shown to reduce the Cobb angle and effectively combat the symptoms of scoliosis. Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we combine a number of these methods into our own unique scoliosis treatment programme called ScolioGold
Here are some of the techniques we use to provide scoliosis sufferers with a real alternative to scoliosis surgery:
If you would like to learn more about our non-surgical scoliosis treatment courses, please call 0207 488 4428 or contact us online to arrange a consultation.