Hydrotherapy

Derived from the Greek words hudōr (water) and therapeia (healing), hydrotherapy (also known as aquatic therapy) is a method that is used to treat a variety of different bodily ailments. We recently began incorporating hydrotherapy into our ScolioGold method for scoliosis treatment, and today we'd like to take some time to tell you a little more about it.

If you suffer from back pain due to scoliosis - but you’re worried that your reduced flexibility and mobility might hinder you in an exercise-based treatment setting - hydrotherapy is a great solution. Being immersed in water provides support for your body and creates a feeling of well-being without the intensity of land-based exercise.

 

How does hydrotherapy work?

Hydrotherapy combines physical rehabilitation treatments with the natural benefits of water-based exercise. The result is a gentle but efficient scoliosis treatment method.

Water has five key properties that play a large part in the effectiveness of hydrotherapy treatment:

  • Buoyancy – The upward pressure in the water eases stress on muscles and joints, soothing the aches and pains that scoliosis can cause.

  • Temperature – Warm water is known for soothing and relaxing the body.

  • Viscosity – The 'thickness' of water prompts gentle resistance from the muscles.

  • Turbulence – When placed in moving water, the body naturally moves to maintain balance, exercising the muscles.

  • Hydrostatic Pressure – Hydrostatic pressure provides a natural relief for joint swelling.

 

What are the benefits of hydrotherapy treatment for scoliosis?

The main benefit of hydrotherapy is that flexibility and mobility are no longer an issue. As mentioned above, the gentle pressure and buoyancy provided by water naturally soothe pain and allow the patient to exercise while at ease.

Pain is often dramatically reduced by hydrotherapy, and as a result of this, patients with limited mobility are able to achieve fantastic results through stretching in the water. These stretches strengthen the muscles in the back and can help improve the degree of the curvature. If patients choose, they can also combine hydrotherapy with land-based therapy on one of our ScolioGold courses.

Another benefit of hydrotherapy treatment for scoliosis is that it offers more stability and protection from falls for those who struggle with balance. This is a great confidence boost for many patients.

There are many other benefits of using hydrotherapy treatment for scoliosis, including:

  • Pain relief from muscle spasms
  • Ease of movement
  • Increased joint range and flexibility
  • Improved strength and endurance
  • Reduction of oedema (excess watery fluid in cavities or tissue in the body)
  • Improved circulation
  • Better cardiovascular fitness
  • Increased level of relaxation

 

Who can participate in hydrotherapy treatment?

Hydrotherapy is suitable for scoliosis sufferers of all ages. The healing and support provided make it an ideal method of treatment for those who lack confidence when it comes to more traditional forms of exercise. As mentioned above, stability is not an issue for elderly or less mobile patients, as the water allows them to exercise without fear of falling.

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we have had fantastic feedback from our hydrotherapy treatment sessions to date. We have found that it has offered hope to those patients who thought they would have to deal with their pain for the rest of their lives. Many of these patients did not think they would be able to improve their condition through exercise, but hydrotherapy treatment has provided them with that opportunity. 

If you think hydrotherapy treatment might be beneficial for you, please contact Scoliosis SOS today to book an initial consultation.

If you're not familiar with medical language (and the Greek/Latin words from which medical language is often constructed), it can sometimes be difficult to work out what people are talking about when they refer to different forms of scoliosis.

Levoconvex Scoliosis

As we've seen time and time again here on the Scoliosis SOS blog, there are numerous different terms and pieces of jargon used to describe curvatures of the spine, and one thing we aim to do in our blog posts is decode these terms and help everyone to understand the topic at hand.

Today, we'd like to take a look at levoconvex scoliosis.

 

What does 'levoconvex' mean?

Levoconvex scoliosis is a type of scoliosis where the spine curves to the left. It can develop on its own during adolescence (see idiopathic scoliosis), or it may occur as the result of another condition.

As previously explained in our Dextroscoliosis vs. Levoscoliosis article, the term levo- simply means 'left'. Levoscoliosis curves to the left, whereas dextroscoliosis curves to the right.

Dextroscoliosis vs Levoscoliosis

The term levoconvex scoliosis actually means more or less the same thing as levoscoliosis - it's just a slightly more specific way of saying it. Adding the word 'convex' merely clarifies that it's the outer (convex) edge of the curve that's on the left.

 

Convex vs. concave

Every curve has a convex side and a concave side. 'Convex' refers to the outside of the curve, and 'concave' to the inside.

Convex and Concave Scoliosis Curve

If a doctor describes your spinal curve as 'levoconvex', it means that the convex side of the curve is on the left. In other words, the spine curves to the left.

Scoliosis SOS provide non-surgical treatment courses for scoliosis patients. Get in touch now to book an initial consultation - our ScolioGold treatment method is very effective at reducing curvature and improving quality of life.

Contact Scoliosis SOS > Our Treatment Courses >

Specialised scoliosis physiotherapy

Idiopathic scoliosis (which usually arises during puberty, when the body is going through a period of rapid growth) is often treated using a rigid back brace that prevents the spinal curve from progressing as the patient grows. It's important to note that the aim of this bracing treatment is not to correct / reverse the sideways curvature of the spine, but simply to stop it from getting worse until the body has finished growing.

And while bracing can be very effective in that respect, it does very little to assist in building up the muscle strength that will be needed to ensure spinal stability once the brace comes off.

In fact, bracing tends to have a negative effect on muscle strength.

Scoliosis braces typically have to be worn for over 20 hours a day in order to achieve the best treatment outcome. During the bracing period, the muscles around the spine are likely to become inactive because the brace is doing their job (i.e. supporting the spine) for them.

This often results in a weakening of the spinal muscles, which may lead to the patient becoming reliant on the support of the brace.

But physical therapy can help with this problem.

There is a lot of clinical evidence to suggest that bracing delivers better outcomes for the patient when combined with scoliosis-specific physiotherapy. A 2011 study1 found that combining these two approaches reduces the risk of future curve progression and thus the likelihood that spinal fusion surgery will eventually be required. It has also been shown2 that completing a scoliosis-specific exercise programme limits the reversal of spinal correction when bracing ends.

Not only are scoliosis-specific exercises recommended in the SOSORT 2011 guidelines for people with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis who are undergoing brace treatment, but several authors who developed scoliosis braces (such as the Milwaukee, Boston, Lyon and Chêneau braces) have proposed that scoliosis-specific exercises should be used to complement brace treatment. Indeed, the newly-developed Sforzesco and Gensingen braces are specifically designed to be worn in conjunction with exercise-based therapy.

In short: it's good to receive physiotherapy for your scoliosis even if it's also being treated with a brace. Integrating scoliosis-specific exercises with a bracing treatment helps to provide a more complete rehabilitation programme for growing patients with idiopathic scoliosis.

Links

  • ScolioGold Therapy - The Scoliosis SOS Clinic's own combination of proven exercise-based scoliosis treatment techniques
  • Contact Scoliosis SOS - Arrange an initial consultation (to be conducted at our clinic in London or via Skype / telephone)

 1. Negrini S, Aulisa AG, Aulisa L, Circo AB, de Mauroy JC, Durmala J,  Grivas TB, Knott P, Kotwicki T, Maruyama T, Minozzi S, O'Brien JP, Papadopoulos D, Rigo M, Rivard CH, Romano M, Wynne JH, Villagrasa M, Weiss HR, Zaina F: 2011 SOSORT guidelines: Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation treatment of idiopathic scoliosis during growth. Scoliosis 2012, 7:3

2. Zaina F, Negrini S, Atanasio S, Fusco C, Romano M, Negrini A: Specific exercises performed in the period of brace weaning can avoid loss of correction in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) patients: Winner of SOSORT's 2008 Award for Best Clinical Paper. Scoliosis 2009, 4(1):8.

Back pain isn't generally associated with being young, but scoliosis (a curvature of the spine that often leads to back pain) very often develops quite early in life - usually during adolescence. If your spinal curve went unnoticed and/or untreated during teenage years, you may well find yourself seeking scoliosis treatment as you enter your early 20s. Don't worry - no age is 'too late' to start treatment, and the many 20-year-old patients we've treated here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic have seen fantastic results. 

scoliosis treatment for a 20 year old

A person who is suffering from scoliosis may suffer from pain, stiffness, postural problems, and self-esteem issues. Common symptoms include back pain (as mentioned above), muscular imbalance, uneven shoulders/legs/hips, and a visibly curved back.

However, even when weighed against all the problems that scoliosis can cause, spinal fusion surgery (the most common treatment for spinal curves that have progressed past a certain point) is still an incredibly daunting procedure that some young scoliosis patients would prefer to avoid. At Scoliosis SOS we use a range of non-surgical treatment techniques to reduce spinal curvature and improve patient quality of life without surgical intervention.

Case study: Ornela, a 21-year-old scoliosis patient from Albania

Ornela was diagnosed with scoliosis at 19 years old. Seeking treatment, she travelled from Albania to our clinic to undergo a 4-week non-surgical treatment course. Watch the video below to find out what she had to say about her experience with Scoliosis SOS:

ScolioGold therapy combines a number of non-surgical techniques to give scoliosis sufferers a non-invasive option for combating their condition. As Ornela experienced, our non-surgical treatments have proven extremely effective for patients of all ages - click here for more 'before and after' examples of patients aged 20-39.

No matter how old you are, we are more than happy to review your individual case and recommend the most suitable course of action for you. Contact Scoliosis SOS now to arrange an initial consultation.

If you have recently been diagnosed with scoliosis, you may know that bracing is a method that's commonly used to treat curvatures of the spine. As you research which bracing options are available to you, you may come across the Gensingen brace for scoliosis. Here's all the information you may need about this option:

What is a Gensingen brace?

A Gensingen brace works differently to more traditional 'hard' braces such as the Boston brace, the Charleston brace, the Milwaukee race and the Wilmington brace. The Gensingen brace for scoliosis works to improve scoliosis through corrective movement instead of through immobilising the patient like the hard brace alternatives. Although the Gensingen brace is a hard brace, it is less restrictive and provides more flexibility for patients. 

The creator of the Gensingen scoliosis brace is Dr. Hans-Rudolf Weiss. After working on brace development since the 1990s, Weiss was inspired to create this new bracing method when he realised that other scoliosis treatment methods were simply not serving the patients as well as they could. The Gensingen brace was created to ease the symptoms of scoliosis and to provide real, long-term improvement.

How does a Gensingen brace work?

The Gensingen brace works by positioning the patient's back in the opposite position to the curvature, creating a sort of mirror image. This means that the patient is placed in an exaggerated corrected position that effectively works to realign the spine. Each Gensingen brace is designed for the individual patient by Dr Hans-Rudolf Weiss himself and then created by orthopedists to ensure that it fits the patient correctly. Gensingen braces have been shown to halt the progression of spinal curvature and improve long-term quality of life without the need for surgery.

Gensingen braces form part of the Schroth Best Practice Academy, a complete treatment package of bracing and physiotherapy. Here at Scoliosis SOS, we can provide Schroth physiotherapy to complement a Gensingen brace. Prior to brace fitting, this involves increasing trunk flexibility and correction to enable the best in-brace correction result. Then, during brace wear and after the patient ceases to wear their Gensingen brace, Schroth physiotherapy can aid in maintaining trunk strength to ensure that positive results are sustained in the long term.

How long should a Gensingen brace be worn?

A Gensingen brace for scoliosis needs to be worn 22 hours a day to be effective. It may also need to be worn for as long as the patient continues to grow, so in the case of young children or adolescents, this could be a number of years. As the curve improves, the 22 hours a day may be reduced to 12-16 hours per day.

The Gensingen brace for scoliosis is a great method of combating spinal curvature, but while it isn't quite as uncomfortable as other scoliosis braces, it can still be a little restrictive, especially when you can only take it off to bathe/shower. Additionally, if you’re looking for an alternative to bracing, our ScolioGold course can help improve your scoliosis through physical therapy alone. We treat scoliosis patients using exercise methods that help to realign the spine and reduce the Cobb angle. Our 4-week course provides an effective method of improving the Cobb angle significantly - you can see the results here.

If you think our ScolioGold course might be for you, please get in touch with us today to book an initial consultation.

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