Bracing vs Scoliosis Surgery

If you suffer from scoliosis and the curve in your spine is becoming more severe, your doctor may recommend that you wear a back brace. A back brace won't directly correct your spinal curve, but it can help with preventing the curve from progressing any further.

If the curve in your spine is quite severe, your doctor may recommend that you undergo spinal fusion surgery for your scoliosis. If successful, surgery will ensure that your curve doesn't progress any further; however, there are risks involved in this procedure.

Both treatment options - bracing and surgery - have their pros and cons. Let's weigh them up and compare the two:

Using a Back Brace to Treat Scoliosis

If you require a back brace for your spinal curve, the first step is to have a cast taken of your back; this will be done at an outpatient appointment, so an overnight stay at the hospital is not required. Scoliosis braces are often made from rigid plastic, although more flexible materials are sometimes used for milder curves. Most modern scoliosis braces are designed to be difficult to see under loose-fitting clothing, so there is no need to be worried about them being seen through clothing.

If you require a brace, you'll usually need to wear it for 23 hours a day, taking it off only for showers and baths; however, in some cases, the patient is only required to wear the brace at night. 

Whilst you are wearing your brace, it is vital that you maintain the strength of your back muscles and not allow them to atrophy; a lack of back muscle strength can result in the benefits of this treatment being lost at the end of the bracing period, leading to an increase in spinal curve severity.

About Scoliosis Surgery

If your spinal curve is particularly pronounced, you may decide to undergo scoliosis surgery.  The operation is performed under general anaesthetic, so you'll be completely unconscious for the duration of the procedure.

During the surgery, your surgeon will attach a series of rods to your spine. These rods will reduce the angle of your spinal curve and serve as a splint to hold your spine in place. The surgeon will then apply a bone graft to your spine - this bone will eventually fuse with your spine, preventing your curve from increasing any further. The rods are not a permanent measure; they're only used to hold 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.

In theory, surgery should mean that your scoliosis cannot progress any further and that your curved spine does not impact your everyday life to the same degree. However, like most surgical procedures, there are a number of risks associated with scoliosis surgery, such as the possibility of nerve damage, infection, implants coming loose or breaking, and / or the development of a secondary curve. In some rare cases, patients can even find themselves in more pain post-op than prior to the surgery. 

Is There a 3rd Option?

If you would rather not treat your spinal curve with surgery or a back brace, you will be happy to know that we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic offer a non-surgical alternative to these scoliosis treatments.

Our chartered physiotherapists treat scoliosis sufferers using the Clinic's own ScolioGold method; this treatment programme combines proven non-surgical techniques from around the world, including the Schroth Method, the FITS Method, the PNF method, and several others. We're constantly monitoring and developing our methods to reflect the latest advancements, and because of this, our non-surgical method continues to deliver gold-standard results.

To find out if we can help you treat your scoliosis without surgical intervention or the use of a back brace, please contact us now and arrange an initial consultation.

Scoliosis & Cerebral Palsy

While the majority of scoliosis cases occur without any prominent connection to the sufferer's overall health and lifestyle, there are several medical conditions which can lead to what is commonly known as neuromuscular scoliosis, or myopathic scoliosis. This is caused by abnormalities of the myoneural pathways of the body, and often leads to a more rapid progression of the spinal condition, due to existing weaknesses.

One of the most commonly-associated conditions which can lead to myopathic scoliosis, is cerebral palsy: a neurological disorder which causes muscle weakness, uncontrolled body movements, and poor co-ordination, among other issues. Due to the neurological impact of cerebral palsy on an individual's spinal muscles, the chances of developing myopathic scoliosis are increased by around 20% in these cases. Depending on the severity of the cerebral palsy, the chances of developing scoliosis can increase further still, with the rate increasing to almost 100% in bedridden children.

The type of scoliosis caused by cerebral palsy differs from the more common idiopathic form in various ways, including:

  • The rate of progression  - As previously mentioned, the neurological impact of cerebral palsy can cause the severity of the spinal curve to progress far more rapidly, even once the patient has reached skeletal maturity.

  • The age of development - Patients with cerebral palsy will often develop scoliosis at a younger age.

  • Treatment - While bracing is commonly used to treat scoliosis, for both correction and prevention of progression, this is often deemed to be less effective in patients with cerebral palsy.

 

How is Scoliosis Treated in Patients With Cerebral Palsy?

As mentioned above, bracing is often deemed to be ineffectual in scoliosis sufferers with neurological disorders, which means that this treatment approach is usually ruled out straight away. Due to the progression of the curve, spinal surgery is often recommended as the primary form of treatment, although the goal is to delay this until the patient reaches an older age.

Due to the additional complications posed by cerebral palsy, however, the planning and execution of this surgical procedure is often made far more difficult, due to the number of additional factors which must be taken into consideration before attempting surgery.

 

Can Scoliosis SOS Help?

While each individual case is completely unique, we aim to provide the best treatment possible to each of our patients, and have worked with countless individuals suffering from additional medical conditions in the past. When it comes to all forms of scoliosis, the prevention of progression is key, and is particularly important in those who show signs of scoliosis from a very young age. Over the years, we have treated patients from ages as young as 4, in order to provide these children with the ability to manage their condition and prevent deterioration at an early stage. For those who have already undergone spinal fusion due to the severity of their condition, we have also provided treatment to aid recovery and mobility, while reducing the levels of pain which are often experienced by post-op candidates.

If you would like to find out more about the treatment options offered by Scoliosis SOS, then please feel free to get in touch with us today for more information. You can do so by filling in our contact form here, or by calling us on 0207 488 4428, to discuss your condition or to arrange an appointment.

We at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic are very lucky to be based right in the centre of London. Not only does our location make it easy for people to visit us from all over the world, it also means that we've got some amazing attractions and landmarks right on our doorstep.
 
If you're thinking of attending a ScolioGold treatment course and staying at our self-catering accommodation in the heart of London, here are 10 things you might want to squeeze in while you're here:
 
London Eye
Photo by Yoga Balaji (view original here)

1. London Eye

Cost: £21.20 (standard entry ticket)
Nearest Tube Station: Waterloo
Approximate Distance from Scoliosis SOS Clinic: 3 miles
 
Constructed just prior to the turn of the millennium, the London Eye has become one of the city's most iconic and instantly-recognisable landmarks. One ride lasts 30 minutes, giving you plenty of time to drink in the stunning view as you rise more than 400 feet above the ground.
 
More amazing views of London:
Harrods

2. Harrods Department Store

Cost: Free (but bring some spending money!)
Nearest Tube Station: Knightsbridge
Approximate Distance from Scoliosis SOS Clinic: 5 miles
 
Harrods is right up there with Macy's in New York City as one of the most famous department stores in the world. They pride themselves on offering a 'luxurious shopping experience', and with 330 departments spread over seven sprawling floors, you're sure to find something you like!
 
More famous shops:
Science Museum
Photo by Christine Matthews (view original here)

3. Science Museum

Cost: Free (donations welcome)
Nearest Tube Station: South Kensington
Approximate Distance from Scoliosis SOS Clinic: 6 miles
 
The Science Museum boasts a world-leading collection of scientific exhibits and interactive installations. Even if you're not particularly enthusiastic about science, you're sure to have a great time as you make your way around the museum and discover all it has to offer.
 
More museums:
Tower of London
Photo by Peter Pikous (view original here)

4. Tower of London

Cost: £25 (gate price for an adult ticket)
Nearest Tube Station: Tower Hill
Approximate Distance from Scoliosis SOS Clinic: <1 mile
 
See the Crown Jewels, spot the ravens, and learn all about this infamous London landmark and the people who have dwelled within in its walls down the centuries. The Tower plays host to lots of different activities and events at different times of the year, so be sure to check their website to find out what's happening during your stay in London!
 
More historical hotspots:
Les Misérables

5. Les Misérables

Cost: Ticket Prices Vary
Nearest Tube Station: Leicester Square
Approximate Distance from Scoliosis SOS Clinic: 3 miles
 
The West End's longest-running musical is well worth catching if you can get your hands on a ticket! Currently running at the Queen's Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, Les Misérables is the epic show that gave the world songs like I Dreamed a Dream, Do You Hear the People Sing? and Bring Him Home. You may have seen the movie starring Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, but there's no substitute for seeing 'Les Mis' live on stage.
 
More West End musicals:
James Bond Wax Work
Photo by Aashish Rao (view original here)

6. Madame Tussauds

Cost: From £29
Nearest Tube Station: Baker Street
Approximate Distance from Scoliosis SOS Clinic: 5 miles
 
This world-famous wax museum gives visitors the chance to meet movie stars, stand next to famous fictional characters, and even pose with members of the British Royal Family. Recent additions to the Madame Tussauds collection include Benedict Cumberbatch, Adele, Justin Bieber, and a number of famous faces from of the Star Wars films.
 
More top tourist attractions:
 
Rough Trade East
Photo by Steve Bowbrick (view original here)

7. Rough Trade East

Cost: Free (but bring some spending money!)
Nearest Tube Station: Aldgate East
Approximate Distance from Scoliosis SOS Clinic: <1 mile
 
If you're a music fan, this shop's name may ring a bell - not only is Rough Trade one of the UK's most successful independent record stores, it's also the record label that released classic albums by bands like The Smiths and (more recently) The Strokes and The Libertines. Rough Trade East is a must-visit for music fans in London - the shop boasts a wide range of CDs and vinyl records, plus it frequently hosts in-store gigs and signing events. It's only a stone's throw from the well-known Brick Lane Market, too.
 
More record shops:
Buckingham Palace
Photo by David Iliff (view original here)

8. Buckingham Palace

Cost: £80 (guided tour of the State Rooms, 16 Dec 2016 - 5 Feb 2017)
Nearest Tube Station: Green Park
Approximate Distance from Scoliosis SOS Clinic: 3 miles
 
The Royal Family are of course a big draw for many foreign visitors to the United Kingdom, and if you're interested in catching a glimpse of the Royal lifestyle then Buckingham Palace (the Queen's London residence) is the attraction for you. Various guided tours are available at different times of the year, but if you're short on cash you can still go and see the palace and its magnificent grounds free of charge.
 
More royal attractions:
 

9. The Sherlock Holmes Museum

Cost: £15 (discount for under 16s)
Nearest Tube Station: Baker Street
Approximate Distance from Scoliosis SOS Clinic: 5 miles
 
London is, of course, the home of fabled detective extraordinaire Sherlock Holmes. This exhibition can be found on Baker Street (where Holmes supposedly lived), and it's a must-see for any fan of Arthur Conan Doyle's books and the many movies and TV shows they inspired.
 
More suggestions for Sherlock fans:
 
 
Brixton Academy
Photo by Ewan Munro (view original here)

10. O2 Academy Brixton

Cost: Ticket Prices Vary
Nearest Tube Station: Brixton
Approximate Distance from Scoliosis SOS Clinic: 5 miles
 
London is a big city, and if you like going to concerts, there are always plenty to choose from. The O2 Academy in Brixton is one very popular spot with a consistently impressive and diverse programme: upcoming gigs at time of writing include All Time Low, PJ Harvey, Ne-Yo and Tom Odell.
 
More gig venues:
Scoliosis SOS provide effective, non-surgical treatment for scoliosis and other spinal conditions. Click here to find out more about our internationally-renowned clinic in London, or contact us now to arrange an initial consultation (this can be carried out via Skype or over the phone).

Here at Scoliosis SOS, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide a specifically tailored treatment plan, which addresses each individual case for the best possible results. For this reason, we have attracted a high number of patients with very specific concerns relating to their physical abilities and quality of life, including many individuals from the dance community.

For those who enjoy various disciplines of dance, being diagnosed with a spinal condition can be prove to be doubly worrying, due to the possible implications that this could have on their physical ability. Whether dance is simply a much-loved hobby, or even a choice of career, the thought of being unable to follow their passion is often more concerning for dancers with scoliosis, than the medical implications associated with a curved spine. As a form of activity which places great emphasis on posture and physical flexibility, the prospect of having these restricted by the condition itself, or by the effects of surgery, can make the period following initial diagnosis a particularly confusing and overwhelming time for dancers. Often, it can seem like a no-win situation, with the prospects of permanent surgery and the progression of the condition, sometimes seeming equally daunting. 

For these reasons, many dancers seek out an effective alternative to the more commonly prescribed scoliosis treatments, in a bid to prevent the progression of their spinal issues, without resorting to surgery. This is what has led many dancers to Scoliosis SOS, where they have managed to find a lasting treatment which places specific emphasis on movement and flexibility, for a result that is liberating, not limiting.

Here are Some of the Dancers we Have Helped:

Emily Hollingsworth


Emily was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 15, after noticing her uneven shoulders in a mirror, and visiting her GP. After receiving an X-ray, Emily was told that she had a Cobb angle of 34 degrees, as well as spinal rotation which caused her pain and restricted breathing. After having the possible impact of surgery explained to her, Emily felt torn, as the physical implications of both her condition and surgery, weighed heavily upon on her mind.

Soon after, Emily was brought to our clinic by her father, and began her 4 week, intensive treatment programme. Following her treatment, Emily not only found that her lung capacity had increased, but that her Cobb angle had fallen to just 12 degrees. This meant she not only gained a huge amount of confidence due to the aesthetic results of her treatment, but also peace-of-mind, as she was able to return to the dance studio!
Amy Hossain


Like many of the dancers we have treated, Amy Hossain began dancing at a young age, competing in ballroom competitions across Europe. In spite of her talent and determination, her ability to progress as a dancer was soon called into question, after she was diagnosed with scoliosis, and confronted with the possibility of surgery. This was made even worse, when she was told that her Cobb angle had progressed to 40 degrees. 

In a bid to reduce the pain and physical imbalances cause by her condition, Amy began receiving treatment at our clinic, which has allowed her to return to the dancefloor. It has not only led to a reduction in the pain that Amy was experiencing, but has also provided lasting knowledge about her condition, which she has used to maintain the results of her treatment. To find out more about Amy's story, read her newspaper feature here.

Mia Latham 


With a passion for breakdancing, Mia performs moves which would be highly challenging for anyone, let alone an individual diagnosed with scoliosis. When she was first diagnosed at the age of 11, she was told, that surgery would be the only option to correct her two 45 degree curves (thoracic & lumbar). The prospect of undergoing major surgery at such a young age was worrying for both Mia herself, and her parents, who began performing online research in the hope of finding an alternative.

For Mia and her family, the possible restrictions and risks of surgery were a daunting and unappealing prospect, which is what brought her to our clinic. With the help of our dedicated therapists, Mia was able to correct and manage the symptoms of her condition without resorting to surgery, and without restricting her desired flexibility.


If you're a dancer who would like to find out more about alternative treatments for your spinal condition, then please feel free to get in touch with our team today!
Scoliosis refers to a sideways (lateral) curvature of the spine, but when your spine curves forward, this is often referred to as a Dowager's Hump. If you have Osteoporosis of the spine (a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue), your vertebrate can fracture, causing Kyphosis (an excessive outward curvature of the spine, causing hunching of the back) or a spinal back hump.

Where did the term originate from?

Because so many women suffered from untreated bone loss, Kyphosis was mainly associated with older women. Since the definition of dowager is "dignified elderly women", and due to the fact that many older women developed this particular condition, people began to refer to the curvature as a 'dowager's hump' - regardless of the sufferer's age or gender.

What Causes Dowager's Hump?

When your spinal vertebrae are impacted by osteoporosis, they can become brittle, and fracture as a result. This is more common with patients who bend forward at the waist, putting pressure on the spine. There are 3 types of spinal fractures: Wedge Fractures, Biconcave Fractures and Crush Fractures. The primary cause for developing Dowager's hump, is a wedge fracture, which refers to the collapsing of the front vertebrae. This causes the vertebrae to tip forward, which results in the spine to becoming misaligned. As more and more vertebrae collapse, the sufferer's back will become increasingly bowed. Quite often, you won't realise that you have a wedge fracture, as they are a silent abnormality which rarely cause pain. If you notice slight rounding of your back, however, it's important that you seek medical help before it increases in severity. 

Can Dowager's Hump be Treated?

If you suffer from Dowager's Hump, you'll be happy to know it can be treated without the need for surgery. Here at Scoliosis SOS, we treat a variety of spinal conditions using our carefully developed ScolioGold method, including those suffering from kyphosis. This treatment programme is our own, unique approach to spinal therapy, which combines a wide range of proven, non-surgical techniques, to provide the best possible results for our patients.

If you wish to learn more about the methods included in our ScolioGold treatment programme, click here. To book an initial consultation, or to approach us with any additional questions, simply click here to get in touch.
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