Before and After Scoliosis Treatment

Scoliosis is defined as any sideways spinal curvature that measures 10 degrees or more (see Cobb angle). That being said, any curve measuring less than around 25 degrees is considered quite mild and generally less likely to require immediate medical attention. For context, spinal fusion surgery is usually recommended only in cases where the curve measures at least 40-50 degrees.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean that 15 degree scoliosis doesn't need to be treated at all. For one thing, some symptoms of scoliosis can occur no matter how slight your spinal curvature may be. Many people with so-called 'mild' scoliosis still experience:

  • Back pain
  • Stiffness
  • Noticeably reduced mobility/flexibility

If these symptoms persist, it may be necessary to treat them in order to minimise their impact on the patient's day-to-day life. Pain medication can help, and physical therapy can improve flexibility/mobility while also combating the source of any pain or stiffness.

15 degree scoliosis won't necessarily stay that way!

Another thing to consider is that scoliosis often progresses (i.e. gets worse) as time goes by. A 15-degree curve may gradually grow into a 20-degree curve, then 25, and so on until eventually the patient has to go in for surgery.

Scoliosis Intervention Stages

For this reason, preventative treatments are sometimes required in order to stop that progression from happening. Young scoliosis patients often wear a back brace until the body has finished growing to stop the condition progressing. And while surgery is not recommended in milder cases of scoliosis, treatments like our own ScolioGold programme can reduce the Cobb angle, sometimes past the 10-degree threshold to the point where the patient's condition is no longer classified as scoliosis at all. Click here for examples of this.

Would you like to find out more about our non-surgical scoliosis treatment courses? Contact Scoliosis SOS now to arrange an initial consultation.

Scoliometer App

There has been a recent increase in people downloading scoliometer apps and attempting to diagnose and measure scoliosis using their smartphones. In this blog, we'll endeavour to explain how scoliometer apps differ from actual medical equipment, and why you shouldn’t rely on the app readings to gauge the severity of your spinal curve.

What is a scoliometer and how do you use one?

A scoliometer is a medical instrument that is placed on the patient's back to measure the angle of scoliosis rotation.

Using a scoliometer

At a typical scoliosis consultation, the consultant will first look at your back to see if there are any noticeable abnormalities (e.g. one shoulder higher than the other, one shoulder blade protruding more than the other).

Next, they will conduct an Adams forward bending test using the scoliometer:

  • You will be asked to bend over and touch your toes so that your back is parallel with the ground.
  • The scoliometer will be placed onto your back level at T1.
  • The scoliometer will be moved slowly along your spine, and the needle will move in line with your scoliosis curvature.

How do scoliometer apps work?

The most popular scoliometer apps work in a similar way to the instrument itself. You conduct an Adams forward bending test by bending down to touch your toes, then laying your mobile phone across your spine and waiting for the scoliometer app to take a reading.

How accurate are scoliometer apps?

In our opinion, scoliometer apps are perfectly fine for patients and their families to use at home to track or check their scoliosis. However, there are issues with smartphone scoliometer apps that make them unfit for use in a professional, medical setting.

The most significant issue is that phones do not have a cut-out that allows the scoliometer to sit comfortably over the spine. This means that the likelihood of a false reading is incredibly high.

Secondly, the person using the app to measure your curvature (perhaps a friend or relative) will probably not have had the medical training required to carry out a scoliosis consultation correctly and thoroughly. You might find that, like most cases of self-diagnosis, you cause yourself or others undue stress because you diagnose a back problem that isn’t actually there, or at least isn't as severe as the app suggests.

If you think you might have scoliosis, don’t risk misdiagnosis using a scoliometer app. Book a Scoliosis SOS consultation today so that your back can be properly assessed using the correct medical equipment.

Cydney came to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic to receive non-surgical treatment for her spinal curvature. She was concerned that her scoliosis would interfere with her ambitions to become a professional dancer - read on to find out about Cydney's experience with us!

Scoliosis SOS Patient Cydney

When Cydney was 13 years old, her dance teacher noticed that her back and shoulders were not properly aligned. The teacher advised her to go and get her back checked by a doctor, so Cydney went for an X-ray, and the results were worse than she could have anticipated. The X-ray scan revealed that Cydney had 55-degree scoliosis.

Naturally, Cydney was worried that her scoliosis might affect her chances of pursuing a career in dance, so she sought treatment straight away. While her parents scoured the Internet for answers, Cydney attended some basic physio sessions that were provided by the NHS. Unfortunately, they could only provide ten hours of treatment, and neither Cydney nor her parents felt this was sufficient.

In a bid to find alternative treatment options, Cydney's mother reached out on social media. A friend responded and suggested Scoliosis SOS, and Cydney arranged her treatment with us shortly afterwards. Watch the video below to find out how Cydney got on!

Cydney has been dancing since the age of seven, and she was devastated when she found out her scoliosis could affect her applications for dance college. She was, however, overjoyed when one college (the one she is attending now) accepted her application despite her condition. Dealing with scoliosis while attending dance school has put added pressure on Cydney, who has to work harder than other dancers to maintain correct posture and balance.

Cydney says that using the ScolioGold exercises she learnt here at the clinic alongside her usual dance training is helping her to develop and maintain her amazing results and progress at college in a way she never thought possible. Cydney was recently chosen to perform in the open day ballet class at her college, a prestigious event for which she didn't think she would be considered because of her scoliosis.

Dancers

In the future, Cydney wants to pursue a dance career in the West End, on cruises or in music videos. She is already working hard alongside her studies to accomplish these dreams; she teaches dance, she assists and demonstrates for one of her friends, and she is already travelling the length and breadth of the country to perform!

It is amazing to see the things Cydney has been able to achieve already, and we can't wait to see what the future holds for her. If you or a loved one have scoliosis, please get in touch today so we can discuss the treatment options available to you.

Contact Scoliosis SOS Today >   Scoliosis & Dancing: More Success Stories >

By far the most common form of scoliosis is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, which - as the name suggests - develops during adolescence. However, there are also many cases of scoliosis developing later on in an individual's life, often resulting in a great deal of pain and discomfort.

Since the majority of discussions of scoliosis treatment focus on younger patients, many people wonder how to fix scoliosis in adults and what treatment options are available for older patients. Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we frequently treat adults with scoliosis and help them to achieve a better quality of life. In fact, our oldest patient is over 90 years old!

Correcting scoliosis in adulthood

Scoliosis that doesn't develop until the patient has already reached adulthood is known as adult degenerative scoliosis. Of course, adults may also suffer from idiopathic scoliosis if they were not treated during adolescence. We're going to take a look at both types of scoliosis today.

Adult Degenerative Scoliosis

Adult degenerative scoliosis (also known as de novo scoliosis) occurs in adults as a result of degenerating discs and arthritis of the facet joints. It is most commonly found in the lower (lumbar) part of the spine, and as a result, it can cause numbness and discomfort in the legs as well as the back.

Idiopathic Scoliosis

When an individual develops scoliosis at a young age, they may carry it with them into adulthood, especially if the spinal curve is left untreated. It is vital that individuals diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis continue to monitor their condition, as the angle of the curvature can progress over time.

How Can Scoliosis SOS Help?

There are several differences between idiopathic and adult degenerative scoliosis, but the corrective methods that we use here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic are highly effective in both cases. Our non-invasive treatment courses (consisting of specialised group physiotherapy and one-to-one exercise sessions) are able to improve mobility and reduce pain in patients of all ages.

To get a clearer idea of how we can help to fix scoliosis in adults, take a look at the video below and watch Anne's story:

We have had many success stories here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, with patients of all ages reporting significant improvements in their strength, flexibility and overall wellbeing. By continuing our prescriptive exercises at home after they have completed their treatment course, adult patients frequently see further improvements as time goes on.

If you'd like to attend a consultation session to discuss treatment options for your scoliosis, please get in touch with Scoliosis SOS today!

Enquire About Scoliosis Treatment >

Patient Care Coordinator Kylie Hobson

I have worked for Scoliosis SOS for 10 years this month, and over those 10 years I have watched and played a part in the huge growth of the clinic. We can now say that we have treated patients from all over the world, and helped thousands of people to avoid spinal fusion surgery.

Throughout that time, I have also spent time travelling to different scoliosis conferences throughout the world. I met my wonderful husband - who was in fact a ScolioGold therapist! I underwent 3 rounds of unsuccessful IVF treatment, had my amazing little girl (who were told by a consultant we would never conceive naturally!) and I am now 20 weeks pregnant with our 2nd natural miracle! The support of Scoliosis SOS as an employer and a clinic as a whole has been incredible, and words simply cannot describe how amazing I think the ScolioGold method is.

Kylie with the Scoliosis SOS team

Being rushed through an appointment with an orthopaedic consultant, our patients are often left bewildered in a world of unanswered questions. Patients usually turn to the Internet for guidance and advice.

However, from my personal experience, Google is often the last place patients find that reassurance, and are often left even more worried and concerned about what the future may hold.

So many of the patients and parents I talk to are so confused about their (or their child's) diagnosis and treatment options. Often, they have not even heard about scoliosis and had no idea how quickly it can develop, especially in adolescents. They are often scared, even terrified by what they have been told and have no idea what direction to turn. Most parents or newly-diagnosed scoliosis patients just want someone to listen to them. They want to be given information and facts that are specifically related to their scoliosis, and they also want to hear that there is a very successful, realistic alternative to spinal fusion surgery.

The NHS currently has a very strict protocol for newly-diagnosed scoliosis patients. If a patient’s Cobb angle is less than 40 degrees, they use the relatively non-proactive 'watch and wait' approach. This usually involves a check-up appointment once every 6 months. Rarely is any treatment offered, although occasionally patients are fitted with a hard corset-style brace to try and prevent progression.

What patients are not told is that if they just wear the brace and do no other exercise, the muscles that currently support the spine in their scoliotic posture will probably waste completely, and when they come out of the brace, progression is likely to occur again.

Conversely, research has found that wearing a brace alongside doing specific exercises for scoliosis CAN prevent progression, and patients are often able to hold a non-scoliotic posture when they are not wearing the brace.

Our treatment is designed to strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine, bringing the patient into a more central upright position. The exercises have been proven to reduce the pain caused by muscle imbalance, improve cosmetic appearance by decreasing rotation, and ultimately prevent the patient's Cobb angle from getting any worse. Patients have also been able to reduce the size of their Cobb angle by up to 20 degrees.

Unfortunately, some (not all) orthopaedic consultants are very closed-minded when it comes to exercise therapy. They believe that surgery is the only option once a patient’s Cobb angle exceeds 40 degrees; however, we know this is not the case, and we have helped so many patients to regain control of their lives and manage their condition through exercise rather than by going under the knife.

So, if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with scoliosis, please call Scoliosis SOS and speak to one of our patient care co-ordinators. They will be more than happy to spend time answering all of your unanswered questions, and will be able to offer you advice that relates specifically to your particular condition.

Spinal fusion surgery can come with huge risks for some patients, and being given information on the different options available may just mean you make the decision that is right for you and that you won’t live to regret in 20 years’ time.

From my own personal experience, consultants are not always right and there are always alternatives to what you are told in that 30-minute appointment.

For more information, call Scoliosis SOS on 0207 488 4428 or have a look at our website.