Max Thompson was diagnosed with scoliosis when he was still in his teens, but he wasn’t offered any advice or treatment at the time. Here’s how he tells it:
“I didn’t know what ‘scoiliosis’ meant – it was a strange word I’d never heard before – and no treatment was offered by the NHS. So I thought, ‘well, I’ll just carry on’.”
While Max – now 60 years old – hasn’t suffered any severe symptoms from his condition and has kept himself very fit over the years, during his initial consultation with Scoliosis SOS, he compared the sensation of having a curved spine to “wearing a jumper that’s two sizes too small”. He also mentioned that he frequently felt stiff and inflexible, especially across his lower back.
Prior to coming here for treatment, Max was already doing core-strengthening exercises, plus swimming and cycling most days.
Following his 4-week ScolioGold treatment course, Max has achieved significant reductions in kyphosis, coupled with better head position and posture. His thoracic (upper spine) rotation decreased by nearly 20%, while his lumbar (lower spine) rotation is completely gone, meaning that he is no longer classified as being hyperlordotic!
On seeing his before and after photographs (above), Max was amazed by the appearance in his back’s appearance and shape, remarking: “You can see my neck! I thought I’d lost my neck!”
“Over the years, I’ve seen chiropractors and sports therapists. They’d relieve it temporarily, but I always wondered if there was a better solution.
“I would recommend coming to Scoliosis SOS for a diagnosis – you’ll be treated with respect and courtesy, and given a lot of hope and a lot of inspiration. It’s a very honest diagnosis, and I came away thinking, yes, I really can improve my condition.
“The team here are excellent – they empowered me. I’ve been shown the skills, and now I can go home and do things on my own. You’re given control; I feel like I’ve got control over my own health that I didn’t have before.”
Would you like to learn more about the Scoliosis SOS Clinic? Use the links below to find out how much improvement you could make with ScolioGold therapy.
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After being diagnosed with scoliosis aged 14, Louise Laurie wanted to help others in a similar situation. This inspired the creation of her blog, helpformyscoliosis.com, which works to raise scoliosis awareness and inspire those living with it.
Louise kindly agreed to answer a few questions from us at Scoliosis SOS – read on to find out more about the origin of helpformyscoliosis.com and how Louise has achieved many things she thought she would never be able to do after scoliosis surgery.
Firstly, we’d love to hear a little bit about you. When were you diagnosed with scoliosis and what motivated you to start helpformyscoliosis.com?
I was diagnosed with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis at 14. When I was first diagnosed with scoliosis it was a huge shock. I had never even heard of scoliosis and had never had any medical conditions up to that point. Upon diagnosis, my scoliosis was very advanced and way past the point of needing surgery so at the time I was very upset – I remember thinking my life was over. I decided to start my blog helpformyscoliosis.com following my surgery to raise awareness of scoliosis, but also to inspire others with the condition. I wanted to show that having scoliosis does not mean that your life is over, far from it, and there is so much that you can achieve.
How did scoliosis impact your day-to-day life prior to any treatment?
Having scoliosis has had a huge impact on my life. Prior to treatment, I was in a lot of pain, caused mostly by muscle spasms due to the pressure of the curvature. The main impact scoliosis has had on me though is emotional and I think the impact of this, especially on teenage girls, is often overlooked. My scoliosis wasn’t hugely noticeable to the untrained eye, but I used to hate how I looked and hated being different. This had a huge impact on my body confidence and self-esteem growing up and this still affects me to some extent today.
What treatments have you had for your spinal curvature?
Over the years I have had countless treatments including physio, acupuncture, massages. At age 24, I finally decided to have spinal fusion surgery to correct my scoliosis. This was a hugely difficult decision for me and not one to make lightly. My scoliosis was severe though (I had two curvatures of over 80 degrees) and they usually recommend surgery if the curve is over 50 degrees. I was also in a lot of pain and was told that without surgery my scoliosis would progress and get even worse over time.
How did you find recovery and are you happy with the results of your treatment?
Recovery was one of the toughest and most painful experiences of my life. It took me years to fully recover as your back affects everything you do. I couldn’t bend, lift or twist for about 6 months and I had to re-learn simple things that you take for granted, like how to walk again, sit up and get out of bed.
We can see you completed a trek across the Great Wall of China last year (congratulations, by the way!). What inspired you to do this and how did you find it?
Thank you! I wanted to do something big not only to challenge myself and prove what I was capable of following my scoliosis surgery, but also to raise awareness of scoliosis and inspire others with the condition. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I met some truly amazing and inspiring people.
Many people facing the prospect of spinal fusion surgery may think they’d never be able to complete something so intense post-surgery. Could you shed a little light on how you managed to get back into exercise?
I believe you can achieve anything you put your mind to. It has taken me years following surgery to build up to the level I’m at now fitness wise. It’s definitely a slow process which can be frustrating but it’s important not to rush these things and to listen to your body. I used to go to the gym regularly before surgery and I do think that being fit helped in my recovery immensely.
I think that regular exercise is crucial if you have scoliosis, it’s important to keep the core and back muscles strong. I went back to the gym about 9 months following my surgery but all I could do at the time was walk very slowly on the treadmill. Now, I regularly run 10K races under an hour, lift weights and am completing a half marathon in May.
Do you have any similar goals for 2018?
I would love to climb Machu Picchu so watch this space! Other goals I have are to complete a half marathon and I’ve just signed up to a Tough Mudder, which is a muddy obstacle race. I just love to push myself and always have to have something in the pipeline to keep me motivated.
Finally, what advice would you give someone suffering from scoliosis at the moment?
Every case is different but I would say, mindset is everything. I used to feel so down about my back but I’ve realised that having scoliosis does not have to hold you back, you can achieve anything you put your mind to.
Be sure to follow Louise on Twitter or subscribe to her blog for regular updates.
Here at Scoliosis SOS, we pride ourselves on treating patients from all over the world. Scoliosis affects approximately 4 out of every 100 people around the globe, so it’s perhaps no wonder that we’re constantly hearing from scoliosis sufferers in other countries, near and far, who want an effective alternative to surgery.
One such patient was the lovely Marianne Hamard from Normandy, France. Marianne was 17 years old at the time of her most recent visit, but she has been coming to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic for the past four years. Marianne travelled from France to London in order to benefit from our ScolioGold treatment programme, which uses non-surgical methods to help reduce the curvature and symptoms of scoliosis.
Here’s her story.
Scoliosis treatment for Marianne from France
Marianna first visited our clinic at the age of 13, a couple of years after being diagnosed with scoliosis. Her dance teacher was the first person to notice Marianne’s spinal curve; prior to this, neither doctors nor even Marianne herself had noticed that her back was not straight. In fact, doctors regularly provided her with certificates to certify that she was able to practice dance, saying that there was nothing wrong with her back.
However, the dance teacher spotted that Marianne’s shoulder blades were unusually prominent, and that’s what led her to believe she had scoliosis. The next step was to visit a surgeon, who said he would have to operate on Marianne to fix this. He wanted to perform surgery within a couple of weeks, but Marianne and her family wanted to think about it for a little bit longer.
They saw some more specialists for scoliosis treatment in France, and most of them said the same thing: that she would need to undergo surgery. One consultant suggested that she could perhaps wear a brace, but with a Cobb angle of 53 degrees, it was probably already too late. Marianne – not even a teenager yet – did not understand why she needed to have an operation; after all, she felt healthy enough. Therefore, the Hamard family decided to research physical therapy options in an effort to avoid the need for surgery.
The physiotherapist they found said that Marianne was a little too young, but she tried nonetheless. Despite her efforts, there was little change in Marianne’s condition; luckily, though, her scoliosis did not progress as quickly as surgeons predicted it would.
Two years on from her initial diagnosis, Marianne had a scan which showed a large progression in her scoliosis – the curvature had now reached 68 degrees. The family agreed that the physiotherapy methods they were using were not enough, and so they decided to look further afield.
This is when they found Scoliosis SOS. After an initial consultation, Marianne attended a 4-week ScolioGold treatment course, and the results were far better than anything she’d seen previously.
Now, Marianne is preparing for university, where she says that she will keep up her exercises to keep her condition under control. Marianne says she has many other friends who are receiving scoliosis treatment in France, but they are mainly using a bracing method. They have not attempted physiotherapy yet, but would like to visit once they can speak English.
Watch the video below to find out why Marianne and her mother believe that ScolioGold therapy was a better choice for Marianne than surgery:
No matter where in the world you’re from, if you’re interested in our non-surgical scoliosis treatment courses, please contact Scoliosis SOS today to arrange an initial consultation.