For many scoliosis patients, the most difficult aspect of coping with their condition is not the pain or the cosmetic appearance of their back but the physical restrictions that a spinal curvature imposes on their life. This makes scoliosis a particularly problematic and limiting ailment for people with a keen interest in sports and/or other physical activities due to the discomfort, the health risks, and the constraints that stem both from the condition itself and from certain scoliosis treatment methods.
While there is no proven link between swimming and the occurrence of scoliosis, the condition if often detected in those who swim competitively or train regularly, and because of the imbalance caused by a spinal curvature, this can make it difficult to swim in straight lines (among other issues). Although swimming is largely considered to be a beneficial exercise for scoliosis sufferers due to the non-jarring movements and improvements in flexibility and muscle strength, it can also prove challenging for people with curved spines. There are several reasons for this:
- Breathing Capacity – For those with particularly severe curves, scoliosis can lead to reduced lung capacity, which is especially frustrating for swimmers due to the vital role that breath control plays in achieving success on a competitive level.
- Increased Difficulty in Performing Certain Movements – Aside from breathing difficulties, a primary concern for many swimmers with scoliosis is their range of motion, which can be limited by the presence of a spinal curve. While modified movements can facilitate the basic action of propelling oneself through water, this difficulty in executing the desired movements to the best of one’s ability can become frustrating for many swimmers, who may find that they are unable to perform at their usual level as their scoliosis progresses.
- Restrictive Treatment Programmes – Supplementing time spent in the pool with other forms of treatment can be beneficial for those with scoliosis, but certain treatment methods can present difficulties for swimmers, particularly those who train on a daily basis. Back braces, for example, are commonly prescribed to younger sufferers as a measure for preventing curve progression, but this approach relies on strong and constant pressure, which means that the brace must be worn for long periods of time. This can make bracing incredibly inconvenient and somewhat ineffective for swimmers, who must remove their brace every time they enter the pool. As for scoliosis sufferers who undergo spinal fusion surgery for their condition, they have to spend several weeks recovering from the operation before they are able to resume their training.
What are the best scoliosis treatment options for swimmers?
For swimmers and other scoliosis sufferers who regularly take part in physical activities, the most beneficial treatment option is often the one that supports their ability to correct and manage their condition without placing unnecessary restrictions on their ability to perform. Over the years, we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic have treated several swimmers, including some who travelled from overseas to complete a treatment course here.
One example is Jessie Bowen from Canada, who was told that she urgently required surgical treatment for her spinal curvature at the age of 14. Being an individual who was very physically active and swam on a daily basis, Jessie found it very difficult to deal with the prospect of spending 6 months laid up while recovering from major surgery. This is what led her family to get in touch with Scoliosis SOS and enrol her onto one of our intensive 4-week treatment programmes. While there were many initial reservations about the cost of travelling to England and receiving treatment, this all proved to be more than worthwhile for Jessie, who reaped both the short- and long-term benefits of our unique treatment approach.
Not only did Jessie experience noticeable improvements in her physical appearance and pain levels, she was also provided with enhanced knowledge about her condition, which granted her the ability to manage her symptoms on a continual basis. The impact of this treatment was so striking, in fact, that Jessie was prompted to pursue a career in physiotherapy, and now works as a qualified practitioner in northern Canada.
If you’re a swimmer who suffers with scoliosis, or a similar spinal issue, and would like to find out more about how we can help you to manage and overcome the limitations of your condition, please feel free to get in touch with us today!
One must be careful when using the word ‘cure’ in a medical context. There is a big difference between a ‘cure’ and a ‘treatment’ – an effective treatment might completely eliminate the symptoms of a disease, but if the underlying disease is still present then – strictly speaking – the patient has not been cured.
By the most rigid definition of the word, scoliosis
is more or less impossible to outright cure. Even if the patient no longer suffers as a result of their curved spine, their scoliosis is still there; even if the angle of the curve is reduced to the point that it no longer qualifies as a case of scoliosis, the patient has not truly been ‘cured’ because there is a chance that they may relapse and that the curve will begin to progress again.
Don’t worry, however – if you suffer from scoliosis, there are a number of very effective treatment methods that can help you to overcome the symptoms of the condition and achieve a high quality of life.
Common scoliosis treatment methods
When a medical doctor diagnoses you with scoliosis, they will likely recommend one of the following courses of action:
- Observation. If your spinal curvature is quite mild and/or you haven’t yet finished growing, medical practitioners may recommend forgoing treatment for the time being and simply observing the condition’s progress. Further action can be taken at a later date depending on whether the curve improves, gets worse, or stays the same.
- Bracing. Some scoliosis patients wear a back brace to halt the progression of their spinal curve. This is effectively a rigid plastic shell that prevents your back from changing shape any more than it already has. Sometimes the brace is only worn at night, but it is more common to keep it on around the clock (except when showering or bathing).
- Surgery. Spinal fusion surgery is an operation that is commonly used to combat more severe spinal curves. Click here to read about this procedure and what it actually involves.
Remember, none of these approaches – not even surgery – ‘cure’ scoliosis as such. Rather, they aim to relieve the symptoms of scoliosis, straighten up the spine, and stop the curve from progressing any further.
Treating scoliosis with physical therapy
Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we treat scoliosis patients using a set of non-surgical therapies that we collectively refer to as The ScolioGold Method
. This programme is specifically tailored to the needs of scoliosis sufferers, combining numerous treatment strategies in order to effectively combat:
- Back pain
- Mobility and flexibility issues
- Muscle weakness
- Further progression of the condition
- The visible symptoms of scoliosis (e.g. uneven shoulders, leaning to one side)
While ScolioGold therapy cannot truly cure scoliosis any more than surgery or bracing can, this has proven to be capable of minimising the symptoms of scoliosis and dramatically improving patient QOL (quality of life). It also has a demonstrable impact on the Cobb angle – click here to see X-ray evidence of this
We at Scoliosis SOS are currently in the process of applying for NHS funding, which would make ScolioGold treatment far more accessible for UK patients. In the meantime, if you’d like to arrange a consultation at our clinic in London, please get in touch today.
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!
If you’re somewhat familiar with chiropractic therapy, you might assume that it’s an ideal treatment for scoliosis
(sideways curvature of the spine). Chiropractic focuses primarily on the spine, and if you’re a scoliosis sufferer, going to a chiropractor can seem like a far preferable alternative to wearing a brace or undergoing spinal fusion surgery.
But can chiropractic treatment really combat scoliosis effectively? That’s the question we’ll be attempting to answer today.
What is chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a form of medicine that is used to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal disorders, with practitioners using their hands (or a machine) to perform treatments on the bones, muscles and joints, which are commonly referred to as ‘manual therapies’. Chiropractic treatment usually involves a range of techniques, although this is often focused on the manipulation of the patient’s spine, in order to treat conditions which cause pain in the neck and lower back, including scoliosis.
While those who practice chiropractic are considered to be part of the healthcare profession, there have been many debates and controversies relating to its effectiveness over the years, particularly due to the fact that it does not refer to a single treatment. While there is evidence to support the fact that chiropractic medicine can improve and relieve persistent lower back pain, there is no strong evidence to suggest that it has the ability to treat other conditions.
Can chiropractors treat scoliosis?
As mentioned above, there is evidence to suggest that chiropractic has the ability to effectively treat lower back pain; however, this may not provide effective relief for the majority of scoliosis sufferers. Studies have shown that the practice is most effective in cases of acute, short-term pain, which means that it is unlikely to provide long-term results for patients with scoliosis, particularly for those with moderate to severe curves. In addition, there are some practitioners who treat scoliosis in the same manner as other spinal conditions, which is unsuitable for a condition which requires a unique approach, and can vary hugely from patient to patient.
Chiropractic treatment also does nothing to address the muscular imbalance that results from the development of a scoliotic curve, and it relies on the patient returning to see their chiropractor on a regular basis to maintain the desired level of pain relief.
Are there any alternatives to chiropractic treatment?
While the repositioning of joints can contribute towards successful treatment, this should be complimented with other treatment methods in order to achieve long-term success. Here at Scoliosis SOS, our ScolioGold
treatment method uses manual and physical interventions to treat scoliosis sufferers; however, this does not make up the entirety of our treatment approach. Instead, we combine this therapy with stretches and exercises to form a more holistic treatment plan, which addresses multiple aspects of the sufferer’s condition, as opposed to focusing on a single element of the condition. ScolioGold is a long-term system of care that is designed to help scoliosis patients self-manage their condition rather than forcing them to rely on repeated visits to a practitioner.
To find out more about our ScolioGold programme, visit our Video Experiences and Testimonials page to see how we have helped previous patients to correct and improve their scoliosis symptoms. You can also get in touch to enquire about our courses, by filling in our quick enquiry form here.