What is Compensatory Scoliosis?

Compensatory scoliosis is slightly different from other types of scoliosis as the spinal curve seems to disappear when the patient is sat down. This is because compensatory scoliosis is usually caused by a pelvic tilt caused by the contracture of the hip, or because one of the patient's legs is shorter than the other. As there may be no structural abnormality in the spine itself, the apparent curve is significantly changed depending on the patient's position at any given moment.

The curve serves to maintain normal body alignment, which is why a patient with compensatory scoliosis will appear to straighten significantly on side bending. If left untreated, this will lead to the development of scoliosis over time - this is why you should see a medical professional if you think you may have this condition. The first course of treatment for a case of compensatory scoliosis often requires the patient to wear orthopaedic insoles (or similar), which correct the height difference and align the axis of the spine. The condition also has to be monitored to make sure that the spine isn't deteriorating over time.

To learn more about the other types of scoliosis, see our comprehensive list here.

How can we help?

If your spine's condition does deteriorate to the point where you require scoliosis treatment, we at Scoliosis SOS can help. We've combined a number of well-known non-surgical treatments (including the Schroth and FITS methods) to create a highly effective treatment programme called the ScolioGold method.

If you'd like to arrange a consultation with one of our specialists, please feel free to contact us today. We will work with you to determine the best treatment for your condition.

scoliosis chronic pain

Unless you yourself are living with chronic pain, it can be difficult to imagine how debilitating it can be to the sufferer.

'Chronic pain' means any persistent pain - it can last for weeks, months, or even longer. Chronic pain can occur as a result of scoliosis when your body tries to compensate for the curve in the spine.

Although some people with scoliosis feel only minimal discomfort, others suffer severe pain, including:

  • Muscles spasms
  • Trapped nerves
  • Leg and hip pain
  • Breathing / cardiovascular issues

All of these problems can make it incredibly difficult for someone with scoliosis to live a normal life. If your back pain is affecting your day-to-day activities, it may be a good idea to seek professional medical help in order to find out what can be done.

How to treat scoliosis-related chronic pain

Every case of scoliosis is different, so there is no 'one size fits all' cure for the associated pain. The level of pain doesn't even necessarily correlate with the angle of one's spinal curve; for example, someone with a 65-degree curve may feel little pain, whereas someone with a 20-degree curve may experience intense pain.

A scoliosis specialist will be able to help you determine the best method of treating the chronic pain caused by your scoliosis. In some cases, if the curve is particularly severe. a surgical operation may be required in order to correct your spinal curvature and relieve the pressure it is putting on your body.

However, there are several non-surgical methods for relieving scoliosis-related pain, including pain relief medication and physical therapy. Although pain relief medication can help to reduce the pain you feel, physical therapy programmes - such as our own ScolioGold method - can be more effective in the long run. ScolioGold combines a number of effective non-surgical treatment techniques and is tailored to the specific requirements that accompany a curvature of the spine.

We have helped countless scoliosis patients to overcome their chronic pain and achieve a significantly higher quality of life. If you want any advice about the pain caused by your scoliosis, we are more than happy to help - please contact us today to book a consultation with our friendly scoliosis specialists.

Exercise after Scoliosis Surgery

In a particularly severe case of scoliosis, surgery may be the only way to prevent the patient's spinal curvature from continuing to get worse. Spinal fusion surgery, while generally effective, is a major operation from which it typically takes months to fully recover.

After undergoing this type of surgery, it is often necessary to make some lifestyle changes in order to minimise your recovery time. For instance, bending, lifting and twisting should all be avoided in the weeks immediately following a spinal fusion procedure, as your spine and incision will need time to heal.

Later in the recovery process, you can start to consider your regular exercise routine. Many patients who undergo scoliosis surgery are able to maintain their usual lifestyle after the operation, but changes do sometimes need to be made to reduce pressure on the spinal area.

Can you exercise after scoliosis surgery?

Yes, you can, although the more important question is how long you ought to wait before exercising again. As mentioned above, heavy lifting, bending and twisting are all strictly off-limits to begin with; indeed, intense exercise of any sort is best avoided at this point. However, low-impact exercises - such as walking and swimming - will benefit both your health and the ongoing fusion process.

Before you can return to your usual sport and exercise habits, your skin will need to heal from the incision and your bones will need to fuse together again. This can take anywhere from 6-9 months. Your surgeon will be able to tell you when you're sufficiently healed, at which point you'll hopefully be able to ease back into more physically-demanding exercises and activities.

What exercises can you do after scoliosis surgery?

As a general rule, anything that puts too much pressure on your spine is best avoided after scoliosis surgery. Heavy weightlifting, high-impact sports like rugby, and exercises that involve your abs can all damage your spine again and should be removed from your exercise regime.

Exercises that involve flexion of the spine or neck, such as sit-ups and squats, can place pressure on the discs above and below the spinal fusion site. These should also be avoided as much as possible, although they can be replaced with more gentle stretching exercises.

It is best to swap high-intensity exercise for more frequent low-impact exercise after scoliosis surgery. Recommended post-surgery activities include:

  • Swimming
  • Gentle yoga
  • Bicycle rides
  • Elliptical machine training

In this way, you can still maintain an active lifestyle without fear of damaging your vertebrae, discs or spinal cord.

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we believe that exercise is the best method for fighting spinal curvature. We treat both patients who are looking to avoid surgery and those who have already had a spinal fusion. Our non-surgical ScolioGold treatment courses combine stretches, exercises, and massages to reduce the angle of your spinal curve and improve your quality of life. Contact us now to arrange an initial consultation.

Worried that your scoliosis will prevent you from taking part in your favourite sport? Read about some of our sporty success stories here!

Are you born with scoliosis?

Scoliosis can potentially occur at any stage of a person's life. Some people grow up with curved spines, while others develop scoliosis in their old age. Every scoliosis sufferer's story is different.

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that there's no single, straightforward answer to the question we're discussing today: are you born with scoliosis?

Idiopathic scoliosis

By far the most common form of scoliosis is idiopathic scoliosis - that is, a sideways spinal curvature that occurs without any clear cause.

Idiopathic scoliosis usually doesn't develop until the pre-teen / teenage years, so it would be incorrect to say that one is 'born' with this type of scoliosis. However, idiopathic scoliosis is widely believed to be rooted in genetic causes, so it might be said that some people are born with the genes that will one day manifest as a progressive spinal curve.

Congenital scoliosis

While scoliosis most commonly occurs during adolescence, it is occasionally the case that a visible spinal curvature is present from birth. Babies born with scoliosis are said to have congenital scoliosis, a condition that occurs when the baby's spine doesn't develop properly in the womb. A baby with congenital scoliosis may have multiple vertebrae joined together, or one or more vertebrae that didn't form completely.

Scoliosis in later life

Even if you weren't born with scoliosis and you didn't develop a spinal curve during your teenage years, there's no guarantee that you won't be affected by scoliosis later in life. Scoliosis can occur in fully-grown adults for a number of reasons, including:

  • Asymmetric degeneration. The human body deteriorates with age, and if one side of your body deteriorates more rapidly than the other, this may result in a sideways spinal curve.

  • Osteoporosis, a loss of bone density that is most common in post-menopausal women (read about osteoporosis here).

  • Spondylolisthesis, where a vertebra slips out of place (read about spondylolisthesis here).

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we treat scoliosis in patients of all ages, from young children to people in their 60s, 70s and beyond. If you would like to arrange an initial consultation, please fill out our enquiry form here.

Kyphosis

Hyperkyphosis is a curvature of the spine that occurs in the upper back, resulting in a hunched or stooped appearance. This condition is most commonly seen in older people, but it can affect people of all ages.

A kyphotic spinal curve can develop for a number of different reasons, and some forms of this condition are more preventable than others. Today, we'd like to take a look at some of the most common causes of hyperkyphosis and who they're most likely to affect.

Common causes of hyperkyphosis

  • Bad Posture - If you persistently slouch forward or lean back when seated, you may notice that your spine starts to develop a visible curvature over time. Desk workers are particularly prone to the sort of postural problems that can lead to hyperkyphosis.

  • Scheuermann's Disease - Scheuermann's disease typically occurs during the growth spurt that accompanies puberty. If you have this condition, it means that your vertebrae (the bones that make up your spine) develop into a wedge shape, creating a forward spinal curve. Click here to read more about Scheuermann's disease.

  • Congenital Issues - While rare, it is sometimes the case that a baby's spine will develop incorrectly in the womb, and this can mean that hyperkyphosis is visible from birth.

  • Osteoporosis & Osteopenia - Human beings - especially women - commonly lose bone density as they get older, a condition known as osteoporosis (or osteopenia in its milder form). The resulting bone weakness can lead to a range of different problems, including curvature of the spine. Click here to read more about osteoporosis.

  • Spinal Injury - Certain accidents and injuries can impact the spine, resulting in hyperkyphosis in some cases.

If you or a loved one suffer from hyperkyphosis, effective non-surgical treatment is available from the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in London. Click here to view before/after photos of our hyperkyphosis patients, or contact us now to arrange an initial consultation.

Further Reading: How to Prevent Hyperkyphosis

Book Your Appointment >