Scoliosis leg length

It is fairly common for a person with scoliosis to also suffer from uneven legs and/or flat feet. Indeed, one of the key symptoms to look out for when attempting to spot a case of scoliosis is whether the patient has uneven hips and/or legs.

There are two different types of limb length discrepancy (LLD), which are as follows:

  • Functional Leg Length Discrepancy - Functional LLD is caused by scoliosis. A curved spine may cause the pelvis to become uneven, making one leg appear to be longer than the other (even though both legs are actually the same length).

  • Anatomical Leg Length Discrepancy - This is when the structural length of the two legs is actually different (i.e. there is a genuine length difference between one leg and the other).

Anatomical limb length discrepancy can actually lead to scoliosis, since the body tries to compensate for the difference in leg length. This means that scoliosis can both cause and be caused by a difference in leg length.

Luckily, there are some ways to address leg length discrepancy without resorting to corrective surgery.

Treating a scoliosis-related leg length discrepancy

One way to reduce LLD is by using orthotics and/or insoles that are designed to compensate for the difference in leg length. These insoles help to slow down the progression of the spinal curve and relieve some of the discomfort that scoliosis can cause. To learn more about how orthotics and insoles can help with scoliosis-related leg length discrepancies, read our blog on the subject here.

There's also the option to undergo a specialised physical therapy course such as those delivered here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic. Using our own ScolioGold method (a combination of proven non-surgical treatment techniques), we work with each individual patient to determine the best way to improve their scoliosis and leg length discrepancies (if present). After an initial consultation, a specialist will recommend the best course of treatment for your case.

The ScolioGold treatment method has been extremely effective with our patients - see some of the results here. Our treatment programme has helped to reduce pain, improve posture and boost confidence while also reducing the Cobb angle (spinal curve) of our patients.

If you are hoping that we can help you with your scoliosis leg length discrepancies, please get in touch with the Scoliosis SOS team today.

Cervicothoracic Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition where the spine is curved sideways. There are many different types of scoliosis; it can occur for a wide variety of reasons and affect different parts of the spine.

One of the more unusual forms of scoliosis is cervicothoracic scoliosis, where the curve occurs in the vicinity of the patient's neck and upper back. Cervicothoracic scoliosis is often present as a part of a larger curve of the spine, but scoliosis has been known to occur in the neck alone (see cervical scoliosis).

Cervicothoracic scoliosis can cause more pain and discomfort than other forms of the condition. As the curve spans both the neck and the upper spine, it presents an increased risk of:

  • Neck injury
  • Nerve roots getting trapped between vertebrae
  • Weight imbalance (where one side of your neck is carrying more weight than the other)

As it is one of the rarer forms of scoliosis, research on cervicothoracic scoliosis is still relatively thin on the ground. It's understood that the curvature of the spine can form with no clear cause (idiopathic scoliosis) at any time between infancy and adolescence; in adult cases, it appears that cervicothoracic scoliosis is more commonly caused by spinal injuries or the deterioration of the spine over time.

Other medical conditions such as Klippel-Feil syndrome have also been known to lead to cervicothoracic scoliosis.

Treating Cervicothoracic Scoliosis

There are several treatment methods that have proven very effective in relieving the pain caused by this particular type of scoliosis. The right course of treatment for a case of scoliosis is dependent on the patient's presentation; particularly their age and the cause and severity of the curvature. Typically recommended treatments include:

  • Physical Therapy - Exercise-based treatment programmes can help to strengthen the neck muscles. This often helps with neck discomfort and allows for freer movement.

  • Pain Management - In addition to over-the-counter pain medications such as paracetamol, methods such as epidural steroid injections, nerve blocks and radiofrequency nerve ablation can help to combat the pain that can arise from cervicothoracic scoliosis.

  • Bracing - A brace may be used in early cases of cervicothoracic scoliosis to stop the curvature from progressing until the patient is able to undergo surgery or other more intensive treatments.

Our Treatment Courses

We at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic have developed an effective scoliosis treatment regime for those who do not wish to undergo surgery. Our ScolioGold method has helped countless scoliosis sufferers to overcome the condition and achieve a better quality of life.

If you are suffering from any form of scoliosis, please get in touch with Scoliosis SOS to find out how we can help you with your condition. Contact us today to set up an initial consultation.

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!

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