Several individuals with scoliosis (a sideways curvature of the spine)

Every year, scoliosis sufferers and those close to them recognise the month of June as Scoliosis Awareness Month. This is an annual opportunity for people all over the world to come together, speak out about life with a curved spine, and educate others about what it means to have scoliosis.

This month-long event culminates in International Scoliosis Awareness Day, which falls on the last Saturday of June (meaning that the date to remember this year is 29th June 2019). The UK Scoliosis Association (SAUK) launched International Scoliosis Awareness Day six years ago - here, in the organisation's own words, is why they did it:

"SAUK launched ISAD in 2013 to unite people across the world to create positive public awareness of scoliosis, promote education, and bring together those affected."

 

How do people mark Scoliosis Awareness Month?

People mark this annual occasion in a number of different ways. If you use Twitter, keep an eye out for the hashtag #ScoliosisAwarenessMonth - throughout June, people with scoliosis use this tag to share their stories, their X-ray scans, and photos of their curved backs and surgery scars. All of these posts are intermingled with advice for fellow scoliosis patients and useful information about the condition.

There will also be a number of events taking place in recognition of Scoliosis Awareness Month. In June 2017, for instance, the Curvy Girls support group organised a large walk in New Jersey to raise awareness of spinal curvature.

 

4 things you should know about scoliosis

We're keen to do our bit for Scoliosis Awareness Month too, so here - for the benefit of anyone who is unfamiliar with this condition - are 4 things we think everyone should know about scoliosis. Feel free to share this post to help raise awareness!

1. What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition where the spine curves sideways, often resulting in symptoms such as pain, reduced flexibility, muscular imbalance, and (in extreme cases) compromised breathing.

Watch our video to find out more:

For a rough idea of what scoliosis actually looks like, consult the diagram below. However, do bear in mind that every case of scoliosis is different - symptoms, severity, and curve location vary hugely from one person to the next.

Scoliosis symptoms

2. How common is scoliosis?

Scoliosis affects roughly 4% of people worldwide (i.e. approximately 1 in 25 people). It can occur in any individual regardless of age or gender; however, it is most commonly found in adolescent girls. Read more >

3. What causes scoliosis?

There are many different types of scoliosis with many possible causes. By far the most common form is idiopathic scoliosis, which usually develops during adolescence and has no known cause, though it is thought to be linked to genetic factors.

However, scoliosis can also be caused by:

  • Birth defects
  • Old age
  • A wide range of conditions including muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, spondylolisthesis, and many more

It's worth noting that scoliosis is NOT caused by carrying heavy bags, though this is a common misconception. Read more >

4. How is scoliosis treated?

Scoliosis can be treated using a number of different methods, with bracing and spinal fusion surgery being the most common. Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in London, England, we treat scoliosis using a combination of non-surgical, exercise-based techniques that we call the ScolioGold method. This approach - using physical therapy to reduce the patient's spinal curve and improve their quality of life - has shown itself to be very effective. View results >

If you need more information about scoliosis, or if you're interested in the treatment courses we provide here at Scoliosis SOS, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Treatment Dates 2019   Book a Consultation

Happy 13th Birthday Scoliosis SOS

The Scoliosis SOS Clinic was founded by Erika Maude on 29 May 2006 - which means we're 13 today!

We've achieved a lot in the last 13 years. Here are just a few highlights:

Most importantly, though, we've helped thousands of people with scoliosis to take control of their condition, keep doing the things they love, and - in many cases - completely avoid undergoing spinal fusion surgery.

We'd like to say a huge THANK YOU to all the patients (and their families) who have visited the Scoliosis SOS Clinic over the past 13 years. It's been a huge honour to meet and help so many of you - long may it continue!

About Scoliosis SOS   Book a Consultation

The history of scoliosis therapy can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece.

More specifically, scoliosis treatment has its roots in the 5th century BC and one man in particular: Greek physician Hippocrates (c. 460 – 370 BC).

Statue of Hippocrates

Who was Hippocrates?

The mid-to-late 5th century BC was a turbulent time for the Hellenic people.

From 431 to 404 BC, the country was entrenched in a titanic war between the Delian League of Athens and the Peloponnesian League of Sparta. Meanwhile, Athens was also suffering from a devastating plague, which wreaked havoc in the city periodically between 430 and 426 BC.

In short, it was a dark time for Greece. But this was also the period that gave us Hippocrates, often referred to as the 'father of medicine'.

Born on the island of Kos around 460 BC, Hippocrates was the son of a physician and is believed to have learned the trade from his father. Among his long list of medical achievements, Hippocrates is heralded as the first person to theorise that diseases and ailments were caused by environmental factors and not the result of superstition or an act of the gods.

He's also the namesake of the 'Hippocratic Oath': the pledge taken by doctors declaring their moral and ethical obligations to their patients as medical practitioners.

Hippocrates and Scoliosis

Separating medicine from religion would probably have been enough on its own to secure Hippocrates's place in history, but his achievements go far beyond that. Notably, he was also a key figure in the history of spinal treatment, and he is believed to have been the first physician to focus on the anatomy and pathology of the human spine.

Through his revolutionary study of the spinal structure and vertebrae, Hippocrates's work led to the pioneering identification of many spine-related diseases – including scoliosis.

Hippocrates is commonly credited as the person who coined the term 'scoliosis' and the first to try treating this condition.

Scoliosis

Hippocratic Scoliosis Treatment

From his unprecedented study of orthopaedics, Hippocrates created three pieces of equipment to treat spinal ailments: namely the Hippocratic ladder, the Hippocratic board, and the Hippocratic bench.

Hippocratic Ladder

Intended to reduce spinal curvatures, the Hippocratic ladder treatment required the patient to be elevated and tied to the ladder upright or head down (depending on the where the curvature lay). The patient would then be shaken on the ladder, with the gravitational pull theoretically straightening the spine.

Hippocratic Board

Similar to the ladder, treatment via the Hippocratic board involved the patient being tied to the board; however, this time, the patient was required to be prone, lying face down and flat. The physician would then apply pressure to the affected area of the spine using a hand, foot, or even the entire weight of the body.

Hippocratic Bench

Also known as the Hippocratic scamnum, the bench technique saw the patient lie face down on a bench similar to the board technique above. A smaller wooden board was then inserted into a pre-made hole in the wall, leaving the plank protruding out above the patient's back. An assistant would then apply pressure on the end of the plank while the physician manoeuvred the board along the body.

Like many ancient treatments, these techniques naturally seem archaic, even barbaric by today's standards. Nevertheless, these apparatuses – based on the principles of axial traction and three-point correction – were hugely innovative at the time, and they had a profound influence on the direction of spinal treatment to follow.

Luckily, medical science has come a long way since the days of Hippocrates, and there are now a variety of comfortable and safe non-surgical scoliosis treatments available. At Scoliosis SOS, our team of friendly, skilled therapists offer patients specialised scoliosis treatment that's specifically designed to enhance your quality of life.

Our Treatment Method   Contact Scoliosis SOS

Scoliosis and Menopause

Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, although it can come earlier or later. Symptoms of the menopause can be quite unpleasant at times; many women experience hot flushes, night sweats and depression (to name a few).

The arrival of the menopause also tends to trigger a loss of bone density. This is known as osteoporosis, and unfortunately, it can increase your risk of developing a curvature of the spine - especially if you already had bad postural habits.

Retaining your bone strength

There are a few ways to slow down the rate at which your bones weaken once you've reached menopause. The NHS recommend:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet
  • Increasing your vitamin D levels (i.e. spending more time in the sun)
  • Stopping smoking
  • Reducing your alcohol intake
  • Taking calcium / vitamin D supplements

Treating your scoliosis

Even if you do all the things listed above, you may still find that your spine is developing a curve. The good news is that there are plenty of different treatment options that can help you to improve the look and feel of your back.

Read our Scoliosis Treatment in Adults blog to see some of the different treatment options that are available at this stage of life. Most often, you will be offered one or a combination of the following treatments:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Pain Management
  • Spinal Surgery

What do we have to offer?

Here at the Scoliosis SOS clinic, we have treated lots of women who were suffering from adult degenerative scoliosis. Our exercise-based ScolioGold therapy programme is tailored to each patient's scoliosis curvature so that we can help them to achieve their specific treatment goals.

Our physical therapy courses may be able to:

  • Relieve pain in your back
  • Boost your mobility / flexibility
  • Reduce the visibility of your curvature

If you have any questions about scoliosis treatment, please feel free to get in touch with our specialist team, who will be able to advise you on the best course of action.

Enquire About ScolioGold Treatment Today >

Scoliosis heart problems

As we've discussed on this blog previously, scoliosis is generally not considered a life-threatening condition. A curved spine can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort (among other complications), but cases where the patient's very life is at risk are vanishingly few and far between.

Leaving out the risk of suicide - see Scoliosis and Depression - the only exceptions occur when scoliosis is allowed to progress to the point where the body is so distorted that vital organs can no longer function properly.

Can scoliosis affect your heart?

In the vast majority of cases, no. If your condition is closely monitored and treated in a timely manner, you should never come anywhere near the point where your scoliosis begins to cause heart problems.

Theoretically, however, scoliosis can affect the heart if the curvature goes untreated and progresses unabated over an extended period of time. A severely curved spine can distort the rib cage, and a severely distorted rib cage can leave the heart and lungs with too little room to beat / inflate.

Thus, heart failure is a possible outcome of severe progressive scoliosis - but again, it's important to bear in mind that is an extremely rare occurrence.

Treat your scoliosis early!

The symptoms and complications associated with scoliosis vary enormously from one patient to the next - pain isn't always proportional to the angle of one's curve - but nevertheless, it's always better to catch the condition early and seek treatment right away than to let it progress.

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we provide non-surgical scoliosis therapy for patients of all ages and curves of all sizes. Here's an example of a patient who came to us for early (almost pre-emptive) treatment after her older brother ended up requiring spinal fusion surgery:

Call Scoliosis SOS on 0207 488 4428 or use the links below to find out more about our ScolioGold treatment courses.

Upcoming Course Dates >   Book an Initial Consultation >

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