Scoliosis Weak Side
 

The condition known as scoliosis can have many effects on the human body, one of which is muscular imbalance. The back muscles located either side of the spine can be heavily impacted by a sideways curvature, and in many cases, the patient will find that the muscles on one side are weaker than those on the other side.

 

Why does this happen?

Scoliosis sufferers often have one weak side because the muscles on that side of the body are underused. Conversely, the muscles on the other side will be overused because they are having to work harder to make up for the curve. Both underuse and overuse can be problematic.
 
 
The spine in the image above curves to the left. This forces the muscles on the left side of the body to work harder (potentially causing them to become stretched and overused), while the muscles on the right side will gradually grow smaller, tighter and weaker from underuse.
 

The effects of muscular imbalance

So is it really a problem when one side is weaker than the other? Well, yes it is - for one thing, the imbalance can result in a great deal of pain and discomfort, as some muscles are overworked while others begin to atrophy.
 
Muscular imbalance can also create significant issues for scoliosis sufferers who participate in sports and other physical activities. The imbalance (together with the reduced mobility that is another common symptom of scoliosis) may prevent the patient from performing to the best of their abilities.
 

Treating the imbalance

Many scoliosis treatment methods focus primarily on reducing the patient's Cobb angle, and while this is key, it's also important to treat the effects of scoliosis, such as muscle imbalance. A well-rounded treatment programme should include physical therapy to help the scoliosis sufferer achieve a better muscular balance, as this will in turn reduce pain/discomfort and enable the patient to move more easily while enjoying a better quality of life in general.
 
The Scoliosis SOS Clinic's ScolioGold treatment method is geared towards treating every aspect of scoliosis. We use a wide variety of non-surgical techniques to reduce the patient's spinal curvature and improve their overall quality of life.
 
Scoliosis in Males

It's a well-known fact that scoliosis is significantly more common in females than in males. It is not entirely clear why this should be the case, but the numbers are very clear: from age 10 onwards, female scoliosis sufferers outnumber male scoliotics 6 to 1. (Interestingly, it also appears that scoliosis is a lot more likely to be severe in female patients.)

This gender imbalance is reflected in the demographics of the people we treat here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic. If you take a look at our Patient Experiences page - where you can watch interviews with numerous Scoliosis SOS patients past and present - you'll notice that the vast majority of the people sharing their stories in those videos are female.

Men and boys are affected by scoliosis too!

However, to assume that scoliosis only affects women and girls would be a misconception. Scoliosis in males is far from a freak occurrence - remember, this condition can be found in hundreds of millions of people worldwide, and even if you only counted male scoliosis sufferers, your total would still fall somewhere between the entire population of Australia and the entire population of Canada.

Indeed, we have treated many men and boys here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, and our exercise-based ScolioGold programme has proven that it is an effective alternative to spinal fusion surgery regardless of the patient's sex.

Case study: Jamie Kaye

Jamie Kaye is a boy from London who came to us as a teenager when he was studying at the famous BRIT performing arts school in Croydon. He had been diagnosed with scoliosis several years prior - when we met him, he had a Cobb angle of around 48 degrees, but he was not yet able to go in for surgery because he was still growing (not that he was particularly keen to have surgery anyway!).

Jamie's spinal curvature was having an adverse effect on his studies. While performing, he frequently found that his teachers would comment on his poor posture, but because of his condition he was finding it difficult to correct. He was also experiencing back pain as a result of his scoliosis.

Watch the video below to find out how Jamie was helped by the non-surgical treatment techniques that we use here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic:

If you or a loved one suffer from scoliosis, please contact Scoliosis SOS today to arrange an initial consultation.

Scoliosis patient from Cyprus

Here at Scoliosis SOS, we have treated patients from more than 70 different countries and territories in the last 12 months alone. One of those places is Cyprus: 15-year-old Maria Photiou came to us from Cyprus this year seeking a second opinion after her diagnosis at home. This is her story.

Scoliosis Cyprus: Maria’s Story

Maria was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 11 by the school nurse, who used a scoliometer to measure the curve of her back. After this initial diagnosis, she went to the doctor and was told that she had to wear a brace due to her 32 degree sideways spinal curve.

Maria wore her brace for about 3 years after that, but finally took it off when the doctor told her it was unlikely she would grow any taller. Unfortunately, the next summer she grew taller by around 2-3cm, meaning that her scoliosis increased yet further.

Maria went back to the doctor and was told that her scoliosis had now reached 44 degrees and that surgery was needed to correct this. Maria searched for a second opinion while wearing a hard brace to stunt the growth of her scoliosis.

Before coming to Scoliosis SOS, Maria tried exercising in the gym in Cyprus with an instructor to help improve her spinal curvature. She found out about Scoliosis SOS when she visited her sisters in the UK and discovered our Clinic while searching on the Internet. She then came here for an initial consultation last September.

Maria decided to book a fast-track course, meaning that she only spent 2 weeks with us rather than the usual 4. She found our Scoliosis SOS instructors and the course very helpful, and though it could be challenging at times, she became accustomed to the exercises quite quickly. To complete the exercises, she did not wear her brace for many hours a day, and she found that she was experiencing no pain or aching.

Her advice to anyone suffering from scoliosis in Cyprus and across the world is to always seek a second opinion and if that means you have to travel, you definitely should. She believes that scoliosis treatment is very important, and she would like to increase awareness of the condition. She thinks it’s best to find out about it when you’re younger rather than later because the issues can be more easily addressed then.

Here is an interview with Maria that we conducted after the completion of her two-week course in our scoliosis clinic:

Maria is one of the many scoliosis sufferers we have welcomed from foreign countries. If you would like to learn more about the Scoliosis SOS Clinic and the treatment courses we provide, please click here to get in touch.

People living with scoliosis

Just because you've been diagnosed with scoliosis, that doesn't necessarily mean you have to change the way you live. Even individuals with fairly pronounced spinal curves can enjoy a high quality of life as long as their condition is treated and their symptoms properly managed.

If you're concerned about the challenges that come with a curved spine, perhaps we can help to reassure you. Here are the stories of three people who know what living with scoliosis is really like - all of them have undergone treatment here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in London and their experiences hopefully demonstrate that, as problematic as this condition can be, it doesn't have to drastically alter your life!

Phoebe Kaniewska

15 years old // London

Phoebe was diagnosed with scoliosis as a pre-teen. When her mother noticed that her hips looked uneven, she went to the GP and - after being referred to a specialist - was told she had a 30-degree curve in her spine. The doctor thought she had finished growing, but when she returned a year later she had grown a lot more, and this had caused her scoliosis to progress by 15%.

Phoebe was told that spinal fusion surgery would reduce the visibility of her curves, but as she herself states in the video below, she "wasn't worried about anything to do with looks". She was, however, concerned about the pain that she experiencing; it wasn't too bad to begin with, occurring only when she bent down, but that occasional pain gradually progressed until was a big part of Phoebe's life. She was also concerned about the effect that scoliosis might have on some of her favourite activities - would her spinal curve limit her ability to row and run?

Phoebe came to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic for treatment and was pleased to find her pain beginning to recede. We are pleased to report that she is still a keen runner and rower, and when she does experience pain/tension as a result of her scoliosis, she finds that massage and Kinesio tape are great for relieving these symptoms.

Rowan Cottee

22 years old // Essex

Rowan first visited our clinic in 2012. He works as an IT technician, and thus spends a lot of time sitting at a desk. This can be bad for anybody's posture, but when you already have a curved spine, full-time desk work can be very problematic indeed.

For Rowan, one of the most important parts of living with scoliosis is concentrating on his posture. The treatment he received here at Scoliosis SOS made him a lot more aware of his posture, and he now makes sure to sit/stand up as straight as possible wherever he is. He returns to our clinic regularly to make sure he doesn't slip into any bad habits, and we've taught him a number of stretches and exercises to help him relieve aches and pains when they occur.

Carol Inskipp

68 years old // Cambridgeshire

Carol is a very enthusiastic hiker who frequently goes on treks in other parts of the world. She got in touch with Scoliosis SOS because she was suffering from what she describes as "conspicuous" scoliosis with "a lot of pain".

Scoliosis posed a number of problems for Carol, not least the possibility that she might have to hang up her walking boots. Her doctor informed her that, while she'd had a good run, it would not be a good idea for her to carry on putting stress on her body by walking miles and miles over rough terrain.

Here's what she had to say after completing a treatment course at our clinic:

"My pain disappeared, my back looked much better. Friends said so, family said so...the pain's gone."

When the above video was filmed, Carol had recently returned from a trek to Nepal, where she camped and used tree branches to help with her stretches!

Worried that scoliosis will have a big impact on your life? Contact Scoliosis SOS today to discuss your condition and arrange a consultation.

Syringomyelia

While the Scoliosis SOS Clinic specialises in the study and treatment of curvatures of the spine (primarily scoliosis and hyperkyphosis), we also possess a wealth of knowledge relating to many health problems that are closely linked to these spinal conditions. One such condition is syringomyelia, a chronic illness that causes a fluid-filled cavity or cyst to form within the spinal cord.

In this post, we will discuss syringomyelia in greater detail, looking at the symptoms and exploring its connection with scoliosis.

What is syringomyelia?

Syringomyelia occurs when a syrinx (cyst) forms within the spinal cord, expanding over time and disrupting the surrounding tissue. In the majority of cases, the condition is linked to a brain abnormality called a Chiari malformation. In other cases, syringomyelia can also be caused by meningitis, tumours, and physical trauma; it can also be idiopathic (having no underlying cause, like most cases of scoliosis itself).

The condition usually takes one of three forms:

  • Congenital - In these cases, the syringomyelia is linked to an abnormality of the craniovertebral junction (e.g. a Chiari malformation).

  • Secondary - Refers to cases with no obvious cause, or those that occur due to specific known causes which have damaged the spinal cord.

  • Post-traumatic - This is used to categorise cases which result from trauma to the spinal cord.

What are the symptoms of syringomyelia?

While symptoms and their severity can vary greatly from patient to patient, some common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the back/neck/shoulders, as well as some pain or tingling in the arms and hands.
  • Muscle weakness and wasting, particularly in the arms/hands/shoulders.
  • Numbness/loss of sensation in the fingers/arms/upper chest.
  • Pain and stiffness in the legs.
  • Uncoordinated movements and involuntary muscle contractions.
  • Abnormal sideways curvature of the spine (scoliosis).

How is syringomyelia linked to scoliosis?

As mentioned above, scoliosis most often presents itself without an underlying cause. However, many cases of scoliosis arise as a result of syringomyelia - this is especially common in younger patients (syringomyelia sufferers under the age of 16 are far more likely to have scoliosis than those who develop symptoms later in life). In terms of treatment, it is considered important to treat the syringomyelia before addressing the patient's scoliosis, as this allows improvement of the syrinx to be properly assessed.

Here at Scoliosis SOS, our treatment approach is carefully considered in order to ensure that all aspects of the individual's condition are addressed. This means that our treatment courses can be specifically tailored to the needs and constraints of the patient in order to achieve the best results.

Take a look at this video case study to find out how our treatment programme helped Grace, a 15-year-old syringomyelia patient from Essex:

If you are a syringomyelia sufferer, or a former syringomyelia patient who has received treatment but is still struggling with scoliosis, please get in touch with Scoliosis SOS today. Or for any other questions you may have about anything scoliosis related, Call us on 0207 488 4428 or fill in our contact form to request an initial consultation.

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