Scoliosis X-Rays
Since scoliosis cannot be ‘cured’ in the true sense of that word, treatment efforts tend instead to focus on managing the condition. The key aims of scoliosis management are as follows:
  • Stop the patient’s spinal curve from progressing any further
  • Reduce the Cobb angle (i.e. the severity of the curve) if possible
  • Treat symptoms such as back pain, reduced flexibility, etc.
In this post, we will describe some of the most commonly-used scoliosis management strategies to give you an idea of how this condition can be dealt with.


When diagnosing a patient with scoliosis, a doctor may initially recommend that no treatment be undertaken at all. This is particularly common when the patient is a child (and thus still growing) and when the angle of the curvature is quite mild. In lieu of immediate treatment, the patient’s spine will be observed over time so as to find out whether the curve is getting better, getting worse, or staying where it is. This will then allow the medical practitioner to select the best course of corrective action to manage the patient’s scoliosis (if any).

Treating the Symptoms

Even if the patient’s spinal curve is not being directly treated, it may still be necessary to treat certain symptoms that may be negatively affecting their quality of life. Common treatments include:
  • Pain medication – Painkillers of various strengths may be prescribed to help the patient cope with any pain they are experiencing as a result of their scoliosis.
  • Physical therapy – Physiotherapy and exercise can help scoliosis sufferers to retain their flexibility and mobility. Physiotherapy-based programmes can also constitute an effective treatment for the scoliosis itself (see below).


Scoliosis patients sometimes have to wear a rigid plastic brace in order to help manage the condition. This brace doesn’t reverse the progression of the spinal curvature, but it can arrest progression so that the curve doesn’t get any worse.
Scoliosis braces are typically worn for 23 hours per day and should only be removed when bathing/showering. This, of course, is a fairly invasive and irritating form of scoliosis management, that most patients would prefer to avoid if possible. Click here for more information on bracing.


If the patient’s spinal curve has progressed beyond a certain point (usually 40-50 degrees, also the threshold is different in different parts of the world), scoliosis management may no longer be a viable option and they may have to go in for spinal fusion surgery. During this procedure, general anaesthetic is used to keep the patient unconscious while the surgical team uses small hooks/screws to correct the curve and effectively fix the spine in place. Click here to learn more about spinal fusion surgery.

Physical Therapy

Wondering how we can help you manage your scoliosis? As noted above, physiotherapy can help to minimise the impact of scoliosis on the patient’s flexibility/mobility. However, exercise-based treatment programmes have also been shown to:
There are many different exercise-based treatment routes available to scoliosis patients, some of which are more effective than others. Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we treat patients via a regime called the ScolioGold method, which combines a number of proven non-surgical techniques into one programme that addresses every different aspect of the condition in question. Once the 4-week course is completed, patients can practice the exercises they’ve learned at home to continue to manage the progression of their scoliosis. 
Wearing a scoliosis brace
The curvature of the spine can be treated in a number of different ways, but one of the most commonly-prescribed treatment methods of all is the scoliosis brace. Scoliosis patients will often wear a rigid plastic shell known as a ‘Boston brace’ for as much as 23 hours a day, removing the brace only to bathe or shower.

Is bracing an effective treatment for scoliosis?

Bracing is usually only recommended if the patient is still growing. The Boston brace is most commonly worn by children and teenagers who are still going through (or have yet to undergo) the adolescent growth spurt.
The aim of the scoliosis brace is not to reverse the patient’s spinal curvature or reduce their Cobb angle measurement. However, bracing can sometimes be an effective way to halt the progression of the curve; in other words, a scoliosis brace won’t make scoliosis get better, but it may stop it from getting any worse.
Scoliosis patients in the UK who exhibit a spinal curve of 40 degrees or more are often referred for spinal fusion surgery. If your spinal curve measures between 20 and 40 degrees and your body is not yet fully-grown, you may well have to wear a Boston brace to stop the curve progressing any further while you finish growing. Hopefully, the back brace will keep you from reaching the point of needing surgery.

Are scoliosis braces uncomfortable?

Of course, while most scoliosis patients are happy to wear a Boston brace if it means avoiding a surgical procedure, this treatment method does have its downsides. Some scoliosis brace wearers find the brace uncomfortable, especially during the summer months when the weather is hot and the extra insulation is unwelcome. It can also take a while to get used to sleeping with the brace on.
Furthermore, a scoliosis brace may somewhat limit the wearer’s ability to move around. While your brace probably won’t be restrictive enough to disrupt your daily routine, you may find that it affects your performance if you engage in sports or other very physical activities on a regular basis.

Will the scoliosis brace be visible through my clothes?

In addition to the discomfort associated with wearing a Boston brace, many young scoliosis sufferers worry about the aesthetic implications of wearing a rigid plastic shell under their clothes every day. Most brace wearers are school-aged, and the possibility that the brace will make them look strange can understandably be a source of much anxiety for these young people.
Fortunately, modern scoliosis braces are very well-designed – each one is moulded to fit the shape of the wearer’s body, and nowadays they tend to be very difficult to see when concealed by loose-fitting clothes.

How long will I have to wear my scoliosis brace?

In most cases, the patient will have to continue wearing their brace for as long as their spines continue to grow. For girls, this usually means 2 to 2.5 years post menarche; boys usually have to wear the brace until the age of 15-16. However, girls tend to stop growing a couple of years before boys.

Are there any alternatives to bracing?

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we use our own unique treatment method – ScolioGold therapy – to treat scoliosis patients and other individuals with curved spines. Unlike some braces, our approach has been shown to reduce the Cobb angle and effectively reverse the progression of scoliosis.
Mia, a 13-year-old girl from Bromley, came to our clinic a couple of years ago. Our ScolioGold treatment course decreased her spinal curve to the point that she was able to stop wearing her scoliosis brace during the day and only put it on at night.
Contact Scoliosis SOS below to find out more about our treatment courses and arrange an initial consultation with our scoliosis consultants.
Is Scoliosis Life-Threatening?
Scoliosis patients often ask numerous questions about their condition when they are first diagnosed. While many of these questions relate to the patient’s quality of life and cosmetic appearance, it is not uncommon for newly-diagnosed scoliosis sufferers to worry about their mortality, especially bearing in mind the progressive nature of the condition.
First of all, it is important to note that scoliosis is NOT considered to be a fatal condition. A curved spine cannot directly result in death.
However, there are some secondary risks which sometimes occur as a result of scoliosis, and these can lead to death in a small minority of cases. 

Lung & Heart Function

In its most severe form, scoliosis can affect the heart and lungs, limiting their ability to function and leading to complications that can potentially result in death. The deformity of the spine and chest wall can restrict lung function, thus reducing oxygen circulation, causing lung tissue to die off and preventing healthy lung growth in younger patients. This can also impact the heart’s ability to function correctly, as the lack of oxygen and proper distribution causes progressive stress, along with the crowding of the organs.
This only occurs in patients with the most severe curvatures (i.e. 100 degrees or more). The symptoms of such conditions also become gradually worse over time, which completely eliminates the possibility that scoliosis could cause sudden death with no prior warning or opportunity to prevent it. Treatment is almost always administered long before the condition has an opportunity to progress to this point, which usually prevents the secondary risks from developing altogether.

Risks for Younger Scoliosis Sufferers 

Most cases of scoliosis develop during adolescence, although the condition can sometimes occur in very young children. Progressive infantile scoliosis is considered to present a higher risk to the patient than scoliosis that develops later in life due to the potential impact on a young, developing body and the risk of progression as the child matures. For this reason, preventative treatments such as bracing are usually recommended right away in order to reduce the risk of later-in-life complications as far as possible.

Risk of Death During Surgery 

Once an individual’s spinal curve has reached an angle of 45-50 degrees, surgery is usually recommended in order to prevent the curve progressing to such an extent that it has a secondary impact on the individual’s health. While the surgery can be a permanent solution to the progression of a spinal curvature, there are several associated risks which can arise as a result of surgery – infection, for example.
That being said, death during spinal fusion surgery is very rare indeed, especially among patients who are in good health aside from their scoliosis. For otherwise healthy patients, the incidence of death as a complication of surgery is said to be less than 1%. The risk is higher for those with other conditions, as well as for older patients, although it is important to note that this is also applies to any other surgical procedure.

Can Treatment Reduce My Risk of Life-Threatening Complications?

While a handful of scoliosis cases have led to the patient’s death, there are many preventative measures which can be taken in order to avoid this outcome. Here at Scoliosis SOS, we specialise in providing individually-tailored correction treatments that are designed with the patient’s specific requirements in mind. We have treated patients as young as 4 and as old as 90+, all with spinal curvatures of varying severity. By educating patients about their condition and teaching them the exercises needed to prevent future curve progression, we are able to avoid the risks associated with severe scoliosis and surgery, further reducing the already low chance of death by scoliosis.
If you are concerned about your spinal curvature and the risks that it might pose to your overall health, please feel free to get in touch with our team today. Contact us now to request further information or arrange a consultation.
Scoliosis Scan
The first step for every Scoliosis SOS patient is attending our clinic for an initial consultation. At the beginning of your consultation, we will go through your medical records, evaluate any symptoms you’re currently experiencing, and ask you about any previous treatments you may have received for your back problems. Next, we will conduct a medical examination and evaluation of your spine and back; this means taking many measurements and performing a formetric scan of your back. 
A Formetric scoliosis scan is used to assess and monitor the curvature of your spine. This is done by isolating numerous anatomical markers of the patient’s back. From a Formetric scan, we’re able to quantitatively measure and record a patient’s body characteristics, posture, scoliosis, kyphosis, lordosis and many other forms of spinal deformity. The 4D software allows for measures to be taken over a period of time (up to 1 minute) to improve measurement precision. It has been shown to be a useful tool in reviewing the ‘actual state of the patient’ when compared to previous review methods. Furthermore, a Formetric scan does not require any further X-rays and radiation exposure.
In a short period of time, the Formetric 4D System can accurately evaluate:
  • Weight distribution
  • Pelvic position – including torsion, obliquity and anterior/posterior tilt
  • Waistline symmetry
  • Coronal (head above hips) balance
  • Sagittal (side-on) balance, including evaluation of kyphosis and lordosis
  • Shoulder levels
  • Scapular position
  • Neck alignment
Another form of scoliosis scan that we use here at Scoliosis SOS is the Pedoscan. This scan is used for analysis and recording of static and dynamic foot pressures alongside gait analysis. Using precise high-frequency pressure plates, a Pedoscan provides an intricate analysis of the weight distribution and behaviour of the patient’s feet both when standing still and during movement. This scan gives us an insight into how your spinal curve might be affecting your posture and walking habits.
If you wish to book an initial consultation at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, please complete the enquiry form on our Contact Us page.