Schroth Method vs. ScolioGold
 
Originally, the Schroth method was the primary form of physical therapy used to treat scoliosis here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic. However, we soon realised that there were several disadvantages to relying on this method alone. While Schroth remains a core element of the treatment we provide, we have since combined it with a variety of other well-established, scientifically proven spinal techniques to create the ScolioGold method, a far more comprehensive treatment programme that addresses all aspects of the patient's condition. 
 
In order to explain the differences between these two approaches more clearly (particularly for those who are researching the benefits and limitations of non-surgical therapy), we have put together a useful guide which compares the Schroth method to our own ScolioGold therapy:

What is the Schroth method?

Schroth Exercises
 
Developed by Katharina Schroth in 1921, the Schroth method is a conservative exercise therapy that takes a three-dimensional approach towards elongating the trunk and correcting imbalances of the spine. This therapy aims to develop the inner muscles of the rib cage in order to change the shape of the upper trunk and correct any spinal abnormalities in all three planes of the body: sagittal, frontal, and transverse. This means that correction needs to occur not only from side to side and front to back, but also longitudinally. The Schroth method also places emphasis on the conscious correction of posture during daily living, as well as during strenuous exercise periods.
 
Schroth’s technique involves an intensive course of inpatient physiotherapy, lasting 6-8 hours per day for 4-6 weeks. Following the inpatient treatment, it is recommended that the patient maintains an at-home follow-up routine consisting of 3-4 exercises for 30 minutes each day; this helps to maintain the improved postural balance gained during therapy.
 
A Schroth treatment programme includes the correction of the scoliotic posture and breathing pattern with the assistance of proprioceptive and exteroceptive stimulation and mirror control. Using sensorimotor feedback mechanisms, the patients learn an individual correction routine and corrected breathing pattern, providing them with the tools to maintain the results of their therapy. There is no formal follow-up or aftercare, which means that the treatment relies solely upon the patient once their course is completed. 

The ScolioGold Method

ScolioGold
 
The ScolioGold Method was developed by the Scoliosis SOS team in 2006, replacing the Schroth method as the primary form of treatment delivered here at our clinic. The principal components of ScolioGold therapy include:
  • Katharina Schroth & Rigo-Schroth methods
  • Functional Independent Treatment for Scoliosis (FITS method)
  • Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF method)
  • Scientific Exercise Approach to Scoliosis (SEAS method)
  • Orthopaedic Medicine
Our treatment courses also incorporate several common manual physiotherapy techniques, such as:
  • Myofascial release
  • Osteopathy
  • Trigger point  therapy
Treatment is further facilitated and accompanied by other techniques such as acupuncture and dry needling.
 
ScolioGold therapy is tailored to suit the specific concerns and demands of our patients, and involves ergonomic assessments, pedoscans, and insole fitting to optimise posture and back health. The ScolioGold programme is also continually monitored and developed according to the latest scoliosis research, ensuring that we always provide the best possible care for patients. Treatment can be carried out in an intensive group setting of 1, 2 or 4-week courses; alternatively, many patients elect to receive treatment through individual 1:1 outpatient-style appointments of between 1 and 3 hours per visit. There is no limit to the number of therapy sessions you can attend, and a long-term treatment plan is provided in order to continually care for our patients.
 
The aim of the ScolioGold Method is to enable patients to maintain a more central posture during everyday activities, and is based upon 5 core principles:
 
  1. Body and Postural Awareness – Improving the patient's understanding of their condition, anatomy and physiology, as well as representing their specific classification using the system of blocks.

  2. Axial Elongation – Stretching of the spine to open up areas of collapse and to better align the trunk whilst activating the muscles to address muscular imbalance.

  3. De-Rotation – Corrections of asymmetries in the transverse plane, using passive corrections (beanbags and wedges) to de-rotate the thorax assisted by rotational breathing.

  4. De-Flexion – Corrections in the frontal plane addressing coronal imbalance, pelvic torsion, rotation and shoulder positioning.

  5. Isometric Contraction – Prolonged muscle contraction to re-enforce corrections.
 
To find out more about ScolioGold therapy, please click here. You can also get in touch with Scoliosis SOS by calling 0207 488 4428 or by filling out our contact form.

Scoliosis is a fairly widespread condition, affecting roughly 4% of people worldwide. But even though tens of millions of people live with curved spines, there is still a lot of misinformation out there, and so many of the things you think you know about scoliosis may well be inaccurate or downright incorrect.

Here are 5 myths about scoliosis that we'd like to debunk once and for all:

1. Scoliosis can be caused by wearing heavy backpacks.

This first myth has been propagated by some big names over the years. For example, famous scoliosis sufferer Sarah Michelle Gellar has attributed her spinal curvature to wearing her school rucksack on just one shoulder, but while this bad habit puts extra strain on your back muscles and can lead to poor posture, there's no evidence that it can cause scoliosis.

Similarly, Kurt Cobain once stated that the weight of his guitar caused his back "to grow in [a] curvature", but this was almost certainly not the original cause of his scoliosis. We hope this will come as a relief to any guitarists reading this!

2. Scoliosis is always painful.

As we've stated on numerous occasions here on the Scoliosis SOS blog, every case of scoliosis is different, and a curved spine sometimes won't cause any pain at all. It's true that scoliosis often does cause pain, but it's not a guarantee, and the severity of the pain tends to vary hugely from one patient to the next.

It's not even the case that a more pronounced curve equals more pain - we've met some people with very extreme scoliosis who suffer little to no pain, and others with only minor curves who feel a lot of pain. As we said, every case is different!

3. Scoliosis only affects females.

Scoliosis is vastly more common in females than in males - in fact, adolescent girls are up to 10 times more likely to develop scoliosis than adolescent boys.

But scoliosis absolutely affects males as well. For example, Connor Bartlett is a young man who recently came to our clinic for treatment - watch the video below to hear his story.

4. Nobody knows what causes scoliosis.

Scoliosis can arise as the result of numerous other conditions, including cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and Marfan syndrome. It can also occur in older people as a side effect of the natural ageing process.

However, most scoliosis patients have what's called idiopathic scoliosis. This type of scoliosis usually develops during adolescence, and while it's true that we don't yet know for sure what causes it, scientists have made some exciting progress on that front lately - click here to read more about that.

5. Scoliosis only ever develops during adolescence.

As mentioned above, idiopathic scoliosis usually starts developing during the patient's pre-teen / teenage years, but that's far from the whole story. Young children can developed curved spines,  as can older people; even if you're not of the age at which idiopathic scoliosis usually manifests itself, you may still develop a curved spine as the result of another underlying condition.

This information is provided by the team at Scoliosis SOS. Based in London, England, the Scoliosis SOS Clinic is one of the world's leading providers of non-surgical treatment for scoliosis and other spinal conditions - click here to learn more about our ScolioGold treatment programme, or contact us now to book a consultation.
Shoulder Pain
 
Given that scoliosis is a disorder of the spine, you might assume that the pain experienced by some scoliosis sufferers is exclusively concentrated in the back. But a person with a curved spine may also notice a degree of shoulder pain in addition to (or instead of) the more common back pains.
 

Why does scoliosis cause shoulder pain?

When a curved spine causes shoulder pain, it usually happens because the curve is located near the top of the spine and the muscles in this region are working harder than normal to control - and compensate for - the unusual angle. This puts a strain on those muscles, which may be felt as an ache or pain in the shoulder.
 

How severe is the pain?

The important thing to remember is that no two scoliosis patients have exactly the same experience. Even two people with exactly the same Cobb angle may report drastically different symptoms: one may feel no discomfort at all, while the other may be in such extreme pain that they require medication just to make it through the day.
 
The above applies to shoulder pain just as much as it applies to back pain. Shoulder pain (when it arises as the result of a spinal curvature) is usually limited to an achy or uncomfortable feeling - some scoliotics report feeling like they have a 'knot' in their shoulder - but it can be more severe in some cases.
 

How can shoulder pain be treated?

Extreme pain arising from a curvature of the spine may be treated using pain relief medication (various strengths may be prescribed depending on the severity of the pain). 
 
However, we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic have found that an exercise-based physiotherapy regime - namely our own ScolioGold programme - can be very effective for relieving back and shoulder pain. We use a combination of methods, including Kinesio Taping and myofascial release, to reduce pain and inflammation while improving mobility and generally helping the patient to live a more comfortable life.
 
Phoebe from Crystal Palace is one of the many scoliosis sufferers whose shoulder pain we have helped to alleviate. Watch the video below to find out what she thought of her time at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic:
 
 

Other Useful Links:

Scoliosis comes in a number of different forms - a curved spine can be caused by a variety of factors, and the condition may look very different from one case to the next.
 
While idiopathic scoliosis is by far the most common type, there are many ways in which scoliosis can develop, as well as endless possible variations in the placement, degree and severity of the patient's curve.
 
In order to provide a better insight for those who have recently been diagnosed with scoliosis, or are just beginning to find out more about this condition, we have put together this list which highlights the various forms of scoliosis and how each type affects those who suffer from it:

Congenital Scoliosis

Congenital Scoliosis
 
This form of scoliosis is present from birth - it occurs when the spine does not develop correctly in the womb. This can occur due to one or more vertebrae failing to form properly, and can also arise due to multiple vertebrae being joined together.
 
 

Idiopathic Scoliosis

Idiopathic Scoliosis
 
As mentioned above, this is is the most common form of scoliosis. It usually develops between the ages of 10 and 15, roughly coinciding with the onset of puberty and a rapid growth spurt. The root cause of idiopathic scoliosis is not known, and it varies widely in severity.
 
 

Neuromuscular Scoliosis

In cases of neuromuscular scoliosis, the spinal curve develops as the result of a separate neurological or muscular condition. In cases such as these, the curve is often highly progressive, which means that the individual's spinal curve will get worse and worse over time if left untreated.
 
Neuromuscular scoliosis can be caused by many different underlying conditions - one example is cerebral palsy.
 

Degenerative Scoliosis

Degenerative Scoliosis 1Degenerative Scoliosis 2Degenerative Scoliosis 3
 
This type of scoliosis may occur when a pre-existing case of scoliosis gets worse later in the patient's life, but it can also occur due to asymmetric degeneration, which wears through the body's facet joints and intervertebral discs. In either case, degenerative scoliosis is usually diagnosed in adults over 50.
 

Syndromic Scoliosis

Klippel-Feil syndrome
 
In cases of syndromic scoliosis, the sideways curvature of the spine occurs as part of a syndrome, such as connective tissue disorders. Syndromes which can lead to scoliosis include Klippel-Feil syndrome, Marfan syndrome and Guillain-Barré syndrome.
 

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with scoliosis in any of its forms, it's important to seek treatment in order to limit further progression of the curve. Contact Scoliosis SOS today to discuss your condition and find out how we can help you.

Living with neurofibromatosis can be challenging enough in itself, but unfortunately, this is one of the many conditions that can lead to the onset of scoliosis.

In this post, we'll take a look at neurofibromatosis, how it is linked to scoliosis, and what can be done to treat a spinal curvature when it develops.

What is neurofibromatosis?

N.B. Strictly speaking, there are two different forms of neurofibromatosis: type 1 (NF1) and type 2 (NF2). NF1 is by far the more common of the two, and from here on out, we will be using the word 'neurofibromatosis' to refer specifically to NF1.

Neurofibromatosis (sometimes known as Von Recklinghausen's disease) is a genetic condition that causes tumours to grow on the coverings of the body's nervous system. The tumours are almost always benign, but as the patient reaches adolescence and approaches adulthood, they tend to manifest themselves in the form of visible lumps and bumps on the skin.

Neurofibromatosis

These bumps - which vary greatly in size and visibility from one patient to the next - are the most characteristic and recognisable symptom of neurofibromatosis, but the condition is also associated with a range of other problems as well, including:
  • Learning disabilities
  • ADHD and other behavioural conditions
  • High blood pressure
  • Impaired vision
  • Scoliosis (curvature of the spine)

What causes neurofibromatosis?

Neurofibromatosis is caused by the mutation of a specific gene that is responsible for controlling cell division in the human body. This can happen spontaneously, although the mutated gene can also be passed from parent to child (meaning that some - but not all - cases of neurofibromatosis are hereditary).

Neurofibromatosis affects roughly 1 out of every 3,000 babies born each year. The condition can be found in people of all races and sexes; interestingly, the condition can be detected in the womb via genetic screening tests, although the majority of NF1 sufferers aren't diagnosed until the classic symptoms (bumps and coffee-coloured patches on the skin) begin to develop further down the line.

Scoliosis in NF1 patients

Whereas a person with idiopathic scoliosis (that is, scoliosis with no apparent underlying cause) usually won't develop a spinal curve until they reach adolescence, a neurofibromatosis sufferer may well develop scoliosis during their childhood. In fact, roughly 10% of children with NF1 are also affected by scoliosis.

When neurofibromatosis does result the onset of scoliosis, it seems to happen because of benign tumours growing on the spinal cord. This leads to an overall weakening of the spine, which in turn can lead to the growth of a scoliotic curve.

Treating scoliosis in neurofibromatosis sufferers

Scoliosis that arises as a result of NF1 can generally be treated using the same methods as idiopathic scoliosis. Surgery may be recommended, as may the use of a back brace to halt the progress of the spinal curve. Since the spine tends to start curving at an early age when neurofibromatosis is the underlying cause, medical practitioners may even recommend simply waiting and monitoring the condition to see if it improves or deteriorates with growth.

The ScolioGold treatment courses that we deliver here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic represent another effective treatment option and a far more appealing alternative to surgery in many cases. We have treated numerous patients with NF1 (including several children), and the results have been consistently impressive.

ScolioGold therapy uses a combination of proven techniques to combat the symptoms of scoliosis without the need for surgery or bracing. This exercise-based treatment programme can relieve pain, improve mobility, and reduce the angle of the patient's spinal curve - click here to view upcoming course dates, or contact us now to arrange an initial consultation.