As we’ve seen several times on this blog over the last few months, scoliosis is not just a condition in its own right but also – in some cases – a symptom of other conditions. 80% of scoliosis sufferers have idiopathic scoliosis, meaning that there is no known cause, but for many others, scoliosis is part of a larger disorder that potentially comes with all kinds of other symptoms as well.
For Louise, a young acrobat from Jersey, that larger disorder is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (or EDS for short).
Scoliosis patient with EDS

What is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome?

There are multiple different types of EDS, but all of them affect the body’s connective tissues. Typical symptoms include:
  • Very stretchy skin
  • Joint hypermobility (also known as being ‘double-jointed’)
  • Fragile skin that breaks/bruises easily
This is because EDS sufferers have a genetic abnormality that affects their collagen, the protein that serves as the main component in all connective bodily tissues (some refer to collagen as the ‘glue’ that holds the body together).
In addition to the above symptoms, many EDS patients also suffer from:
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Dysautonomia (problems with the nerves that carry information to the heart, bladder, intestines, sweat glands, pupils and blood vessels)
  • Curvature of the spine
However, symptoms vary considerably depending on which type of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome you have.

Louise’s story

Louise came to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic to receive treatment for a sideways curve in her spine. Spinal curvature is a common problem for people who suffer from a form of EDS called kyphoscoliotic Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (also known as EDS type VI).
Circus acrobat Louise understood that she needed treatment for her scoliosis, but she also knew that traditional scoliosis treatment methods (spinal fusion surgery or back bracing) could seriously affect her flexibility and thus her ability to perform.
Acrobat with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
In the end, she travelled from Jersey to London with her mother in order to complete a 4-week ScolioGold course. We’ll let Louise and her mum tell you the rest of the story:
If you suffer from curvature of the spine (whether as the result of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or something else), we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic may be able to help you. Please contact us today to arrange an initial consultation, or give us a call on 0207 488 4428 to speak with a member of staff.

Learn about some of the other conditions that can result in a curved spine:

The Scoliosis SOS Clinic has now been open for over 10 years, and in that time we’ve treated a number of people who suffer from Klippel-Feil syndrome. Today, we’d like to look at this rare disorder in detail – read on to find out what Klippel-Feil syndrome is and how our physiotherapists can help those who have it.

What is Klippel-Feil syndrome?

Kilppel-Feil syndrome (KFS) is a rare congenital disorder that is thought to affect roughly 0.0025% of newborn babies. The human neck has 7 cervical vertebrae, but people who suffer from KFS are born with two or more of those cervical vertebrae fused together. This results in limited neck/head movement and – in most cases – a visible shortening of the neck.
Klippel-Feil syndrome
People with Klippel-Feil syndrome also commonly suffer from a variety of associated issues, such as heart defects, respiratory problems, and scoliosis.

How can we help KFS patients?

As previously mentioned, we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic have treated numerous Klippel Feil syndrome sufferers over the years, including Jack Gaffney, an 18-year-old from the Republic of Ireland. Three of Jack’s cervical vertebrae were fused together, and he had also suffered from curvature of the spine since birth. Jack was told that he would need a spinal fusion operation, but he and his family were acutely conscious of the risks associated with surgery, and so they were desperate to find an alternative treatment option.
An internet search led the Gaffneys to our website, and they decided that – given what was at stake – it was worth travelling to England and spending 4 weeks in London while Jack attended a ScolioGold treatment course to help improve his poor posture and mobility.
The results were astounding. Jack’s condition improved to the point that it could no longer be classified as scoliosis, and our treatments helped his mobility to the point that he was able to start skateboarding again. It’s wonderful to know that Klippel Feil syndrome treatment helped give jack some of his independence back again.
Before and after Klippel-Feil syndrome treatment
Jack Gaffney (18 years old), before and after his 4-week ScolioGold course.
Here’s what Jack had to say at the end of his time with us:
“My life was such a whirlwind…every consultant I saw told me something different and I was terrified of surgery. I had no confidence and my self-esteem was badly affected. Now I can say, with all honesty, that I feel 100% better. My spine is improving every day.”
Our exercise-based treatment courses can drastically reduce spinal curvature and boost Klippel Feil syndrome sufferers’ mobility, self-confidence, and overall quality of life. If you’d like to find out more, contact us now to arrange a consultation for yourself or a loved one. Don’t leave your Klippel Feil syndrome un-treated.
Scheuermann’s kyphosis is a condition that causes an excessive curvature of the spine, usually in the cervical, thoracic and sacral regions, resulting in a visible back hump. Hyperkyphosis, much like scoliosis, can be caused by a number of different factors. In many cases, the exact cause is not known, whereas in others it can be traced back to conditions such as arthritis or osteoporosis.
One of the most common causes of hyperkyphosis in juvenile and adolescent patients is a disorder known as Scheuermann’s disease, which is why it is known as Scheuermann’s kyphosis. This is when the spinal vertebrae don’t develop properly and assume a wedge shape, as shown here:
As you can see above, these wedge-shaped vertebrae end up giving the spine a pronounced hyperkyphotic curve. This, in turn, causes the back to take on a hunched/rounded appearance.

Scheuermann’s Kyphosis Treatment Methods

When hyperkyphosis arises as a result of Scheuermann’s disease, it can be treated via a number of different methods, many of which are also used to treat scoliosis. Back braces can help to correct Scheuermann’s kyphotic spinal curvature, although in more severe cases, spinal fusion surgery may be recommended instead of/as well as a brace.
Quite often, however, neither a brace nor a surgical procedure is necessary. The Schroth method, a type of physiotherapy that forms the basis for our own ScolioGold treatment courses, is another very effective treatment for Scheuermann’s kyphosis; the technique has been shown to reduce pain in Scheuermann’s patients while also significantly decreasing the angle of their spinal curvature.

 Scheuermann’s Kyphosis Exercises (to try)

  • Work opposite – this involves moving in a way that’s opposite to your condition. Stand tall, tuck your chin in slightly and bring your head directly over your shoulders. Your shoulder blades should move backwards and down slightly, stretching the muscles in your back. If you start to feel pain, stop immediately.
  • Laying head retraction – another great Scheuermann’s Kyphosis exercise to try – simply lay on the floor and pull your chin back into the ‘double chin’ position. Repeat.
  • Superman – another Scheuermann’s Kyphosis floor exercise, lay on your front and stretch your arms and legs out straight. Lift your arms and legs up towards the ceiling. This will improve your flexibility, strengthen your core and reduce the appearance of your condition.
We have treated a number of Scheuermann’s disease patients here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, and our unique spinal-specific exercise therapy courses help these people to combat their condition and greatly improve their quality of life. You can see the results of our physiotherapy courses on patients who have Scheuermann’s kyphosis here
If you suffer from Scheuermann’s kyphosis and are looking for treatment, please contact us today to arrange an initial consultation and find out whether the Scoliosis SOS Clinic could help you.
Is Scoliosis Painful
A curved spine can disrupt your life in all kinds of different ways. It can have a severe impact on flexibility and mobility, which is particularly problematic if the patient participates in sports or other physical activities; scoliosis also tends to affect one’s appearance, and many scoliosis sufferers find that their self-esteem is diminished as a result.
However, for many scoliotics, the very worst part of their condition is the pain that it causes them. Although some patients suffer minimal discomfort, many can scoliosis painful to varying degrees. Chronic back pain can have a very damaging effect on a person’s life, and many people find that it even impacts their ability to work. Rachel Webster, a 35-year-old woman who completed a ScolioGold course late last year, is a good example – watch the video below to hear about her experience:
All this having been said, the pain that scoliosis causes does vary greatly from one patient to the next. Some scoliotics may not experience much pain at all, whereas others suffer such debilitating back pain that they require maximum strength medication. Interestingly, there seems to be little if any correlation between the angle of someone’s spinal curve (their Cobb angle) and the level of pain they experience. For instance, someone with a 60-degree curve may not feel any pain at all, whereas someone with only a 20-degree curve may experience a huge amount of pain. Every case of scoliosis is unique.
When pain does develop, it tends to happen because your body is over-compensating for the curve in your spine. Your muscles will be working overtime to help control the curvature of your spine, and this extra exertion can lead to muscle pain, which can be incredibly uncomfortable.

I experience a lot of back pain – does this mean I have scoliosis?

No, not necessarily. Almost everyone experiences some back pain from time to time, and even if your pain is more persistent, that doesn’t mean it’s a sure sign of scoliosis. Back pain can arise due to all sorts of different factors, and this in itself is not sufficient evidence for a diagnosis of spinal curvature. More reliable symptoms of scoliosis include:
  • A visible sideways curve in the spine
  • Ribcage being more prominent on one side
  • One hip/shoulder sticking out more than the other
  • One leg being longer than the other
  • One shoulder appearing higher than the other
If you are unsure whether or not you suffer from scoliosis, be sure to visit your GP for a professional diagnosis before seeking treatment.  We also offer screening checks for anyone who is concerned that they may have developed a spinal curvature.

Overcoming the pain of scoliosis

If you are experiencing pain due to a curved spine, we at Scoliosis SOS can help you to reduce that pain and improve your overall quality of life. If you find scoliosis painful, you don’t need to suffer alone – use the links below to find out how we can help you.