As we've seen time and time again on this blog, scoliosis can occur as a result of numerous other conditions - from congenital heart defects to Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, there are all kinds of different reasons why a person might have a curved spine.

Today, we'd like to talk about yet another condition that can lead to scoliosis: a rare genetic disorder called Rett syndrome.

What is Rett syndrome?

Rett syndrome (sometimes called RTT for short) is a neurological condition that affects approximately 1 out of every 12,000 girls born each year. Rett syndrome can affect boys as well, but male cases are exceedingly rare. The condition is named after Andres Rett, the Austrian doctor who first described it.


Most cases of RTT occur because of a spontaneous genetic mutation that affects the development of the brain. Rett syndrome is a postnatal disorder that usually doesn't develop until the patient is 6 to 18 months old; after that, the condition progresses in stages as time goes by.

Symptoms of Rett syndrome

A person with Rett syndrome will exhibit different symptoms depending on what stage their condition has reached. Here's a rough breakdown of how the condition progresses:
  • Stage 1: As mentioned above, the first stage tends to begin when the patient is 6 to 18 months old. Early symptoms include unusual or erratic hand/limb movements, difficulty feeding, and mobility problems that make it difficult for the child to crawl or walk. Babies with RTT may also take longer than average to start speaking.

  • Stage 2: Stage 2 can begin at any point between 1 and 4 years of age. At this point, the patient will often become unable to use their hands at all as the involuntary, repetitive movements (e.g. hand-wringing, clapping) become increasingly difficult to control. Additionally, the child will begin to display behaviours that are more commonly associated with autism, including periods of distress/irritability, refusal to maintain eye contact, and extreme social withdrawal. They may also have trouble sleeping and eating.

  • Stage 3: Stage 3 can start at any time between 2 and 10 years of age. At this point, most RTT patients begin to experience seizures and irregular breathing patterns; some may also be affected by arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat) and find it difficult to put on weight. However, some symptoms do improve at this stage: patients may find it easier to walk and/or engage in social interactions with others.

  • Stage 4: Some RTT patients never get to stage 4, but those that do tend to experience stiffness and muscle weakness, which can greatly impair their ability to get around. Many patients also develop scoliosis (a sideways curvature of the spine) as the condition continues to worsen.

Treating scoliosis in Rett syndrome patients

Since there is no cure for Rett syndrome, patients tend to be treated on a symptom-by-symptom basis. Anti-epileptic medication can help RTT sufferers to manage their seizures, while beta-blockers are sometimes used to combat the arrythmia that can arise in stage 3 (see above). Hand splints can help with the hand movements that are characteristic of this condition, and speech and language therapists often work to help RTT patients with their communication difficulties.

As for scoliosis, there are a number of different approaches to this. A Rett syndrome sufferer may attend physiotherapy sessions in order to prevent their spine from becoming curved; if scoliosis does occur, a doctor may recommend that the patient wears a brace or undergoes surgery to correct the curve.

However, physiotherapy and other exercise-based treatments needn't be seen as solely a preventative measure. Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we have helped numerous RTT sufferers to overcome the effects of scoliosis after it has begun to develop. Our ScolioGold treatment programme has proven very effective when it comes to:
  • Cobb angle reduction
  • Improving mobility
  • Reducing pain
Click here to find out more about our ScolioGold courses, or get in touch to arrange an initial consultation with our scoliosis specialists (consultations can be carried out via Skype or over the phone if necessary).
Many of the patients who receive treatment here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic - particularly our many overseas patients - opt to stay in our self-catering accommodation for the duration of their ScolioGold course. There are several studio apartments within the clinic building, and staying with us means that the City of London is right on your doorstep!

We've already suggested a number of things to do during your stay in London, but today, we'd like to focus specifically on the capital's many fine eateries. To get your mouth watering, here are 5 highly-rated restaurants located less than a mile from our clinic:


Bari Bari

  • Cuisine: Korean
  • Address: 24 White Church Lane, London E1 7QR
  • Distance from Scoliosis SOS Clinic: 0.3 miles
Bari Bari offers a wide range of traditional Korean dishes, plus a few modern twists. Their menu is packed with delicious stews, hot pots, and sizzling Korean barbecue dishes.


The Dispensary

  • Cuisine: British / Various
  • Address: 19A Leman Street, Whitechapel, London E1 8EN
  • Distance from Scoliosis SOS Clinic: 0.2 miles
More than just pub food! In addition to British classics like pie and chips, The Dispensary offers a variety of posher options such as wild mushroom ravioli and spiced chicken breast with Cajun spices and Greek yoghurt.


Thai Square (Minories)

  • Cuisine: Thai
  • Address: 136-138 Minories, London EC3N 1NT
  • Distance from Scoliosis SOS Clinic: 0.2 miles
The Thai Square group has restaurants all over London - their Minories location is a mere 3-minute walk from our front door. The interior is decorated with traditional carvings and Buddhist sculptures, making this the perfect environment in which to enjoy contemporary Thai dishes like golden soft shell crab and the spicy Weeping Tiger.


Sushinoen

  • Cuisine: Japanese
  • Address: 2 White Church Lane, Whitechapel, London E1 7QR
  • Distance from Scoliosis SOS Clinic: 0.4 miles
If you love sushi, this is the place for you! Sushinoen's menu is home to a wide range of authentic Japanese dishes, including a variety of non-sushi options (including sukiyaki, a "legendary" hot pot meal) for those who would rather have something hot.


Absurd Bird (Spitalfields)

  • Cuisine: American
  • Address: 54 Commercial Street, London E1 6LT
  • Distance from Scoliosis SOS Clinic: 0.4 miles
Fancy a taste of the American South? Absurd Bird specialise in fried chicken, often served with waffles, maple syrup, and smoked sweet gravy (as shown in the photo above). It may sound like a strange combination, but don't knock it until you've tried it!

Click here to find out more about our scoliosis clinic, located right in the heart of London.
It's always lovely to know that our scoliosis treatment courses have made a real difference to somebody's life, whether by helping them to overcome their chronic back pain or simply by giving them a little extra confidence for a special occasion. Anna Smith, who came to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic from Birmingham and completed a 4-week treatment course in 2015, is a great example of the latter type of patient, and today we'd like to share her story with you.

Anna Smith

Anna (pictured above) was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 17. "I was diagnosed relatively late," she says, "and there weren't really that many treatment options offered to me. I had an X-ray, and it was explained to me that I had scoliosis, but I wasn't really given much information on what that meant and how that might affect me."

Over the years following her diagnosis, Anna received some treatment from chiropractors and osteopaths, but these occasional sessions never achieved completely satisfactory results. At the age of 36, Anna got engaged, and as her wedding day drew closer and closer, she decided that it was time to seek a more effective treatment route.

"As the day approached," remembers Anna, "I found myself getting quite self-conscious about the image of myself standing in front of all the guests with a lovely dress on and my back exposed. And though it isn't very prominent and most people aren't aware of it, I personally felt really self-conscious."

Anna wanted to beat her scoliosis and boost her body confidence in time to walk up the aisle, but this wasn't her only reason for researching possible treatment options. "I was really hoping for some cosmetic benefits to give me that extra confidence on the day, but as I began to read about scoliosis a bit more, I also became concerned about how things might worsen in the longer term. That was ultimately what prompted me to take this further step."

And so Anna looked for treatments that would improve her future quality of life as well as getting her the cosmetic results she wanted in time for her big day. Her research led her to Scoliosis SOS and our renowned ScolioGold treatment courses.

Anna on ScolioGold Course
Anna performs a stretch with the help of one of our our ScolioGold Therapists.

Here's what Anna had to say about the Scoliosis SOS Clinic at the end of her 4-week course:

"It's been great. They're a really lovely bunch of people, and I've felt really supported by the team of physios here. I feel like I've learned an awful lot about my condition and how I can better manage it. And the exercises have almost been - dare I say it - fun!

"I would highly recommend ScolioGold treatment. It gives really good value for money."

Anna married her fiancé in December 2015, and we are pleased to report that she did indeed feel happy and confident in her wedding dress!

Anna Gets Married

Click here to view the interview we conducted with Anna at the end of her ScolioGold course, or contact Scoliosis SOS today to find out more about our scoliosis treatment courses and book an initial consultation at our clinic.
 

It has often recommended that, if an individual with scoliosis displays a Cobb angle of 50 degrees or more, they should seek surgical treatment in order to correct their curve. However, we at Scoliosis SOS have demonstrated on multiple occasions that patients with a 55 degree curve or more can be successfully treated using non-surgical methods. 

We have treated a large number of patients whose spinal curves exceed the oft-quoted threshold for surgery, with consistently impressive results. While the majority of our patients have Cobb angles that fall within the range of 20-65 degrees, we have successfully treated patients with spinal curves as severe as 120 degrees.

Many of our patients find the prospect of having to undergo surgery quite daunting and seek other ways to correct their spinal curves. Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we treat all types of scoliosis - from the mildest to the most severe and debilitating - with an approach that we call the ScolioGold method.

Eileen Morgan came to our clinic in her fifties after years of pain and disability. She was diagnosed with scoliosis at a young age, and at one point the angle of her curve was recorded as measuring 100 degrees. Watch the video below to find out how our ScolioGold therapy helped her.


The ScolioGold method combines a range of non-surgical techniques that help to relieve the pain, reduce the visibility of the curve, and prevent the condition from progressing further. These techniques have all been thoroughly researched and are proven to help with correcting scoliotic spinal curves. We're always monitoring and developing this method to ensure that we continue to deliver gold-standard results and helo our patients to enjoy a better quality of life. If you wish to learn more about our ScolioGold treatment, please click here.
 
If you wish to book an initial consultation, or if you have any questions regarding our treatment programmes, don't hesitate to get in touch with the Scoliosis SOS Clinic today.
Congenital Scoliosis

The most common form of scoliosis is idiopathic scoliosis, which usually develops during adolescence and has no known cause (although science is gradually getting closer to solving that mystery). The vast majority of idiopathic scoliosis patients are diagnosed between the ages of 10 and 18; as a general rule, the characteristic spinal curve does not develop until the onset of puberty, when the body goes through a rapid growth spurt.

However, some people have a type of scoliosis that sets in far earlier - from birth, in fact. This is called congenital scoliosis.

What is congenital scoliosis?

Congenital scoliosis is scoliosis that is present from birth. If a baby is born with a spine that curves to one side, they are said to have congenital scoliosis.

This condition is caused by irregular development of the bones in the spine while the baby is in the womb. In some cases, congenital scoliosis occurs because one or more vertebrae did not form properly, although a spinal curve can also arise because multiple vertebrae are joined together.

How to spot congenital scoliosis

The symptoms of congenital scoliosis are similar to the symptoms of idiopathic or any other type of scoliosis (although they may be somewhat harder to spot in an infant or small child):
  • Uneven hips and/or shoulders
  • Rib cage more prominent on one side than the other
  • Patient appears to lean to one side
  • Clothes do not fit properly

Is congenital scoliosis painful?

Every scoliosis patient has a different experience of the condition, and that applies to children born with scoliosis just as much as it applies to those who develop the condition later on. Some scoliosis patients do experience pain, reduced mobility, and/or compromised breathing, but these symptoms are relatively uncommon, especially in their more severe forms.

In cases where congenital scoliosis is linked to a problem with the spinal cord / nervous system, the patient may experience reduced coordination, reduced strength, and/or a feeling of numbness. Again, though, such cases are quite rare.

Treating congenital scoliosis

Scoliosis can be treated in a number of different ways, and congenital scoliosis is no exception. If the patient is still very young, some doctors may recommend simply waiting and monitoring their condition to see whether or not the spinal curve corrects itself as the child grows.

Especially severe cases of congenital scoliosis may be referred for spinal fusion surgery, but this is a major operation and surgery is not usually the preferred treatment route when the patient is a child.

As with other forms of the condition, congenital scoliosis can be effectively managed via exercise-based physiotherapy. We have treated many young children here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, and we have seen some real transformations - just visit our Results (4-14 Years Old) page to see how effective our treatment courses are when it comes to reducing spinal curves.

If you would like to find out more about our treatment courses and how they can benefit congenital scoliosis patients, please call Scoliosis SOS on 0207 488 4428 or click here to book an initial consultation.
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