Learning that you may need surgery is a very scary experience. Every surgical procedure comes with a certain level of risk, and no matter how experienced the surgeons are, it takes a great deal of bravery to place your life in their hands.
Every year, countless scoliosis
sufferers around the world are told that they require surgery to correct their condition. Naturally, a lot of those people would rather avoid surgical intervention if at all possible, but before we explore potential alternatives to scoliosis surgery, let’s take a closer look at what the operation actually involves.
What does scoliosis surgery involve?
The surgical operation that’s commonly used to correct scoliosis is known as spinal fusion surgery. It is performed under general anaesthetic, so you’ll be completely unconscious throughout the operation.
During the procedure, your surgeon will anchor a series of rods to your spine using tiny hooks and screws. These rods will reduce the angle of your scoliotic curve and serve as a splint to hold the spine in place. The surgeon will then apply a bone graft to your spine – this bone will eventually fuse with your spine, the aim being to prevent your curve from progressing any further. (The rods are a temporary measure, holding the spine in place until the ‘fusion’ process is complete; however, the rods are usually not removed as to do so would require another large and potentially risky surgical operation.)
A spinal fusion operation tends to be followed by a lengthy recovery period, during which some pain, discomfort, and loss of mobility are to be expected. However, in the long term, the surgery should mean that your scoliosis doesn’t progress any further, and that your spinal curve has a smaller impact on your overall quality of life.
What risks are associated with scoliosis surgery?
As we mentioned earlier, all surgical procedures come with certain risks, and scoliosis surgery is no different. The risks/complications associated with spinal fusion surgery include:
- Implants coming loose or breaking
- Nerve damage
- Blood clots
- Development of a secondary curve
Furthermore, the Internet is littered with sad stories of scoliosis operations that simply didn’t have the intended effect. Some patients (including two contributors to this painsupport.co.uk thread
) even find themselves in more pain post-op than prior to the spinal fusion procedure.
Is it possible to treat scoliosis without surgery?
While scoliosis surgery can be – and very often is – an effective means of combating scoliosis, it is easy to see why many scoliotics would rather not go under the knife if possible. Fortunately for these people, there is an alternative.
Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic
, we specialise in providing non-surgical treatment for scoliosis (as well as for other spinal conditions such as hyperkyphosis
). Our ScolioGold
treatment courses utilise a variety of therapeutic techniques to achieve great results for scoliosis sufferers, including:
- Reduced Cobb angle
- Relief from pain
- Improved mobility/flexibility
Scoliosis can be an incredibly debilitating condition, and many scoliosis sufferers choose to undergo surgery to correct their spinal curves. Spinal fusion surgery is the process of attaching rods, hooks, wires or screws to the curved portion of the patient’s backbone in order to straighten out the curve over time. Small pieces of bone are then placed over the spine; these will eventually grow together with the spinal bone, ‘fusing’ it into the correct position.
The spinal fusion procedure is a major surgical operation that usually takes several hours to complete. The success of the operation depends on many factors, including the flexibility of the curve and the surgical techniques used. The goal of the surgery is not a perfectly straight spine, but a balanced spine in which fusion prevents the curve from getting worse.
However, as with most surgical procedures, a spinal fusion usually carries with it a long recovery period. Some pain/discomfort is to be expected, and reduced mobility and flexibility are common too. After surgery, the symptoms of scoliosis (e.g. back pain) may get better over time, although it is not uncommon to for patients to still experience pain even after they have fully recovered due to the fact that their muscle imbalance has not been addressed.
So how can Scoliosis SOS help with spinal fusion recovery?
If you have had spinal fusion surgery already and you’re looking for something to speed up the recovery process or reduce any back pain you are still experiencing, then our ScolioGold method could be the solution you’re looking for. You may have heard of the Schroth method, and this forms a large part of our methodology, but where some clinics solely utilise Schroth exercises we compliment them with a range of other non-surgical spinal treatment techniques, resulting in a far more well-rounded treatment regime that our patients find exceptionally effective.
- Reduce back pain
- Improve mobility
- Speed up correction of spinal curve
- Correct any secondary curvatures that may have progressed or developed above/below the fusion
The video below features one of our patients from the Faroe Islands. She had spinal fusion surgery on her back when she was much younger, but visited the Scoliosis SOS Clinic earlier this year to address the chronic pain that she was still experiencing.
If you would like to find out more about our treatment courses, please contact Scoliosis SOS
and book an initial consultation with one of our scoliosis consultants, who will more than happy to recommend the best course of action for you.
If you suffer from scoliosis
, you may have been told that you need surgery in order to correct the curvature of your spine. Many people undergo scoliosis surgery each year, but while these procedures can deliver the desired results, there are a number of reasons why a scoliosis sufferer might decide against surgical correction. Surgery always comes with a certain level of risk, and scoliosis surgery specifically can, on rare occasions, lead to complications such as vertebral degeneration and pseudarthrosis.
Should I refuse to undergo scoliosis surgery?
If your scoliosis is particularly severe (for example, if the angle of your spinal curve exceeds 45°) then surgery may be the only effective treatment option.
However, many scoliotics find that it is possible to overcome the symptoms of their condition without surgical intervention. Erika Maude, founder of the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, is a prime example: she was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 11, and was offered spinal fusion surgery when she was in her teens. At that point, her spine exhibited a 42° curve; however, Erika refused surgery and instead sought non-surgical treatment using the Schroth method.
This treatment worked, and Erika is no longer affected by the symptoms of scoliosis.
What’s the alternative to scoliosis surgery?
Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we treat scoliosis sufferers using our own ScolioGold method. This 4-week programme combines elements from the aforementioned Schroth with a number of other therapeutic methods, including:
- FITS (Functional Independent Treatment for Scoliosis)
- SEAS (Scientific Exercise Approach to Scoliosis)
- Kinesio taping
- Myofascial release
Together, these therapeutic methods help to relieve the pain caused by scoliosis while reducing the patient’s Cobb angle
and improving their quality of life in general.
How can I find out if non-surgical scoliosis treatment will work for me?
We recommend that you book an initial consultation
at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic – this will allow our scoliosis consultants to assess the severity of your condition and make an informed decision as to whether or not ScolioGold treatment would be an effective alternative to surgery in your case.