The Scoliosis SOS Clinic in Birmingham is based right in the heart of the city centre, so if you're staying nearby during your treatment, there are lots of attractions to be seen!

For shopaholics...

Our clinic is located in Birmingham's Great Western Arcade (pictured below). Originally built in 1877 as a tunnel spanning the rail line between Snow Hill and Moor Street stations, the arcade is now home to independent retailers and is often described as a 'home of hidden gems'. The arcade is bursting with character and Victorian charm.

Great Western Arcade in Birmingham
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

We also have The Bullring and Grand Central (only 0.4 miles from the Scoliosis SOS Clinic), which have linked up to highlight Birmingham as one of the ultimate UK shopping destinations. With over 200 shops between the two - including Selfridges, John Lewis and Debenhams - you can shop until you drop!

For a family day out...

Thinktank, Birmingham's science museum, is an attraction not to be missed. Located within the Millennium Point building (only 0.6 miles from our Scoliosis SOS Clinic), Thinktank is your opportunity to experience hands-on exhibits and historical collections that explore the science of the world around us. There's something for everyone to see and enjoy - highlights include the science garden, the planetarium and an exciting programme of events and activities.

You can also see how your favourite confectionery is made at Cadbury World. Explore the history behind Cadbury chocolate and watch the chocolatiers reveal the secrets of traditional chocolate making. You'll even have the chance to enjoy some of your favourite Cadbury treats along the way. This attraction is only a short train journey from Birmingham New Street station.


Photo by Elliott Brown

Other museums in Birmingham include:

Take in a show...

Located just 0.6 miles from our scoliosis clinic, the Birmingham Hippodrome is Birmingham's flagship theatre. Shows not to be missed in 2020 include the Nutcracker ballet, Mamma Mia! and Les Misérables. More seats are sold at the Hippodrome each year than by any other British theatre, including those in London's West End!


Photo by Elliott Brown

Other places to take in a show:

Off the beaten track...

Just ten minutes from The Bullring and Grand Central, Digbeth is Birmingham's bohemian district. Here you'll find the Custard Factory, a creative hub that's home to many independent shops, cafés, bars, restaurants and the Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen.


Photo by Sharon VanderKaay

Digbeth is full of character, and there's plenty to see and do, from street art to street food at the Digbeth Dining Club's weekly food and drink festival.

There's also Birmingham's oldest pub, The Old Crown, which first opened in 1368.

Getting to and from the clinic

Our Birmingham clinic is located within easy walking distance of three train stations:

Scoliosis SOS Birmingham Travel Map

  • Snow Hill Railway Station is 0.1 miles away (2 minute walk)
  • Birmingham New Street is 0.3 miles away (6 minute walk)
  • Birmingham Moor Street is 0.4 miles away (7 minute walk)

For information on bus services that run to and from Birmingham city centre, visit nxbus.co.uk.

Our Birmingham Clinic   Book a Consultation

Scoliosis SOS founder Erika Maude with gym balls

After our recent Q&A with Scoliosis SOS founder Erika Maude, we asked our followers on Facebook and Instagram what questions they wanted to ask Erika. We received a lot of suggestions - scroll down to read Erika's responses to some of your scoliosis questions!

 

What happens if you leave adult scoliosis untreated?

(Kail Mursili via Facebook)

That depends on a number of factors. Age, curve size, symptoms, lifestyle...the list is endless. The general medical opinion is that if you go into adult life with a curve greater than 40 degrees, it is likely to progress by 1-2 degrees per year for the rest of your life.

However, some people's curvatures will progress quickly due to lifestyle or career choices. Scoliosis is also likely to progress quickly during pregnancy or menopause, because of changes to hormonal balance, weight distribution on the spine and an increased risk of osteoporosis.

Prevention is always better, so if your condition is starting to bother you because of how it looks or any pain you may be experiencing, we would always recommend getting it checked out as there are lots of ways to help adults with scoliosis.

 

Can scoliosis improve with exercise and massage?

(Nafizah Bholah via Facebook)

Definitely! We have helped over 3,500 patients from all over the world to improve their scoliosis through scoliosis-specific exercise therapy. Our ScolioGold method combines scientifically-proven therapies with scoliosis-specific massage techniques to readdress muscle imbalances and give patients improved body image, Cobb angle reductions, relief from pain and a host of other benefits.

The important thing when choosing a treatment programme is to ensure that it is scoliosis-specific and customised to you; otherwise, it is unlikely to be effective.

 

What's the largest degree of spinal curvature that can be fixed using exercises?

(Kail Mursili via Facebook)

As there is no cure for scoliosis, it all depends on your definition of 'fixed', as this can vary from person to person. We have had patients who arrived in wheelchairs and were able to walk some distance after treatment.

Some people are able to reduce their Cobb angle and avoid surgery. Others seek relief from a life of constant pain. Because scoliosis can affect individuals in so many different ways, treatment goals are very unique to that person.

We have successfully treated patients with a range of curve sizes. The most memorable is a gentleman who visited us from India with a 120-degree curve - he grew by 5cm during his treatment course.

 

Can conditioning and dance help to straighten the spine?

(@summergraceslate via Instagram)

General core strengthening and flexibility are key to good spinal health, regardless of whether someone has a spinal curvature. However, there has been no scientific evidence that conditioning, dance or routine physiotherapy can straighten the spine. Only scoliosis-specific exercises have shown to be effective in targeting the muscle imbalance in a way to make it possible to straighten the spine.

 

What can I do if I have a painful trapped nerve because of scoliosis?

(@Lindsey_bowler via Instagram)

In the first instance, we would recommend seeking medical help from your GP, in case the symptoms are actually pointing to something else.

After that, it is important to ascertain whether the nerve pain is due to being trapped by your vertebrae or by your soft tissues due to the muscle imbalance caused by your scoliosis. If it is the first, then you may need to be referred to seek specialist help; if it's the latter, this will often resolve with a good scoliosis-specific exercise programme and hands-on release work.

 

At what age does it become impossible to resolve the deterioration of the spine?

(@Mouad_elkahlani via Instagram)

The simple answer is: there isn't one! We have treated lots of patients well into their 90s with our scoliosis-specific exercise programmes, and as long as the patient is still relatively active and mobile, there is plenty our therapists can do to help.

Alternatively, if someone has lost their mobility, there are orthotic manufacturers who supply and fit custom-made Lycra suits that can help support the patient in a seated position.

 

Do you plan to open a clinic in New York? (Or any other places?)

(@mima.vojnovic via Instagram)

We are in the process of developing regional clinics to make treatment more accessible to people across the UK. Our first locations in Birmingham and Bristol opened at the end of November 2019, and we're planning to add further locations in 2020.

Several people have asked us if we would consider opening clinics overseas; however, at the moment our focus is on maintaining the brilliant treatment standards for which we are famous, and any future expansion cannot be at the expense of quality control. Nevertheless, we are hopeful that these satellite clinics will prove that, regardless of the location, patients can expect to receive the same high level of care and expertise as they have come to expect from our London clinic.

 

Does playing the guitar affect scoliosis? What exercises should I do to compensate?

(@louise_wils via Instagram)

Any one-sided activity or hobby can cause the symptoms and/or curvature of existing scoliosis to worsen. The guitar does involve an element of twisting and overload on one side of the body, and therefore it could be a contributing factor to the progression of the condition.

Ideally, you want to be doing stretches and muscle strengthening in the exact opposite of your guitar-playing posture to negate any unwanted effects. As part of our treatment programme, we incorporate advice and exercises to counteract any one-sided hobbies / sports to ensure that all of our patients can continue to do the things they enjoy, whether that means getting back out into the garden or playing national-level tennis.

 

Are there spinal treatments for failed spinal tethering?

(rideoordie444 via Instagram)

The short answer is yes. However, it will very much depend on the individual case and presentation of scoliosis, plus the circumstances surrounding why the spinal tethering failed in the first place. The conventional treatment would be to do a full spinal fusion surgery; however, there are some instances where it may be possible to treat the issue with a scoliosis-specific exercise programme to avoid further surgery. The best advice would be to contact us for advice and to arrange a consultation.

Get in touch with Scoliosis SOS >>

Two friends comforting each other

Scoliosis can be a painful and debilitating condition that makes even the simplest tasks uncomfortable.

Seeing a loved one go through such discomfort can be agonising to watch. However, you don't have to stand idly by - here are five simple things you can do to help someone with scoliosis today.

 

1. Be Available

People with long-term illnesses, conditions and disabilities often find it hard to ask for help.

In fact, some may actively avoid seeking outside help, preferring to deal with the problem on their own.

But even in those cases, knowing that there's a shoulder you can lean on when things get too much can make all the difference.

Being there as an emotional and physical crutch when your friend or loved one needs you is the ultimate sign of support, so don't be afraid to let them know your door is always open.

 

2. Prepare for Change

Scoliosis can cause excruciating pain at inopportune times. This can cause plans to change at the drop of hat, with last-minute cancellations a natural by-product.

While this can be somewhat frustrating, try not to make a big deal out of it. Remember, the other person is probably just as disappointed as you are, and on top of that, they may well feel guilty for letting you down.

Be understanding and reassure them that whatever it was can be rearranged for another time.

 

3. Look Past the Condition

Helping someone deal with scoliosis doesn't necessarily mean physically helping them with their daily tasks or providing them with pain relief.

In fact, helping someone with scoliosis can be as easy as helping them put it in the rear-view mirror and forget about the pain for a few hours.

Walking on eggshells and being overly aware of their ailment will only bring attention to it. Scoliosis doesn't change the person they are, so why should it affect the way you act around them?

 

4. Accept Their Tiredness

Enduring a prolonged period of pain can be exhausting. For scoliosis sufferers, even simple everyday tasks can be taxing at times.

What's more, a busy day of activities or a bad day involving a flare-up can leave them totally wiped out and feeling tired, lethargic, and generally less than 100%.

Dragging them out or pressuring them into taking part when the tank is empty can not only impact their enjoyment, but it can also impact their physical health after the fact.

Accept that when your friend or loved one says they're too tired to do something, they really mean it. It's nothing to do with you.

 

5. Mental Awareness

Like any physical ailment, scoliosis can have a negative effect on mental health, from impacting self-image to making the patient more introverted and withdrawn.

Infographic: How Does Scoliosis Affect Body Image?

Scoliosis can naturally exclude a person from taking part in things they love, such as sports and recreational activities.

Meanwhile, as previously mentioned, it can also prevent them from doing things they want to do and impact on plans made.

The result of this can have a knock-on effect on mental health, particularly if several setbacks occur in quick succession.

Be aware of mental health and, if there are signs that depression may be creeping in, don't hesitate to step in and help.

Read More: Scoliosis & Depression   Book a Scoliosis Consultation

Highlights of 2019

Happy new year! 2019 was a truly momentous time for the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, so before we dive into the new decade, we thought we'd take a moment to look back at some of the highlights of the past 12 months:

  • New clinics in Birmingham and Bristol! In November 2019, we opened two new scoliosis treatment centres in Birmingham and Bristol, UK. This means that, counting our flagship clinic in London, we now have 3 locations in total - and we're planning to open more in the near future!

  • Scoliosis SOS on BBC One! Back in August, the Scoliosis SOS Clinic was featured on BBC One's A Matter of Life and Debt. The programme told the story of our founder, Erika Maude, and how she was able to set up the clinic with the financial assistance of responsible lenders Foundation East. If you missed A Matter of Life and Debt, don't worry - here's the clip:

  • SOSORT Annual Meeting in San Francisco! In April 2019, several members of the Scoliosis SOS team crossed the Atlantic to attend the 14th annual SOSORT conference in San Francisco, USA. The event included a number of enlightening talks, including a presentation from our own Erika Maude on the cost-effectiveness of scoliosis-specific exercise programmes. Watch Erika's presentation here.

Darren Lui with Scoliosis SOS team

  • A visit from an orthopaedic spinal surgeon! In February 2019, orthopaedic specialist Mr Darren Lui (pictured above centre) came to our London clinic to talk to our therapists and discuss the value of physiotherapy in treating scoliosis patients. Read more about his visit here.

And if you think that's impressive, just wait! We've got lots of big things in store for 2020 - be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don't miss any news.

Scoliosis SOS on Facebook   Scoliosis SOS on Twitter

Weight scales and tape measure

Maintaining a healthy weight can be a tough task for people with scoliosis, especially those who find themselves in perpetual pain and discomfort as a result of their condition.

Chronic back pain can slam the brakes on physical activity - even when the mind is willing, you may feel physically unable to get up and exercise, and this can take its toll on your overall fitness.

But that doesn't mean you have to throw the towel in and resign yourself to a life of inactivity. Luckily, there are a whole host of ways for scoliosis patients to stay healthy and keep weight gain at bay.

 

Exercise caution

While it might seem like exercising with scoliosis is putting yourself on the fast track to a bad back, it can actually have the opposite effect - as long as you're careful.

Staying active can be beneficial for your body in a number of ways, helping you stay slim and trim while also keeping your body limber and flexible.

Being smart about the exercises you choose can make a huge difference, so be sure to exercise caution before you exercise your body.

In the weight room, heavy deadlifts are obviously not a good choice for someone with spinal issues. The same goes for other back-heavy exercises, like good-mornings and power cleans. Meanwhile, lower-body exercises like squats and lunges can also put indirect pressure on your spine.

Exercises to Avoid If You Have Scoliosis >>

Even some yoga positions, such as the cobra pose, can cause your vertebrae to rotate beyond the point of comfort. Be smart and avoid exercises that are likely to put considerable strain on your spine.

Strengthening your core can be a great way to alleviate discomfort, while regular stretching can also help to reduce back pain.

 

Young at heart

Running can put a lot of stress on the spine, jarring the body every time your feet hit the ground. As such, going out for a jog or hitting the treadmill may be a bad idea - but that doesn't mean cardio is completely off the table.

Most gyms have elliptical trainers (cross trainers) that allow you to exercise in a fluid motion without the jarring effect of running. Similarly, the stair climber is also a good way to get your cardio fix while reducing the impact on your spine.

Another great way to maintain and improve cardiovascular fitness with scoliosis is swimming. The buoyancy of the water minimises impact on the joints while still providing resistance, making it the ideal cardio exercise for scoliosis sufferers.

Swimming with Scoliosis >>

That being said, these exercises can be challenging for people with severe scoliosis, particularly those with reduced lung capacity. If you are unable to complete the above exercises, it may be worth considering less strenuous options, such as walking or aqua aerobics.

 

Smoke signals

If you're a smoker, another great way to stay in shape is to - you guessed it - give up smoking.

Quitting smoking can help improve lung capacity by as much as 10% within nine months, and this can help considerably when it comes to exercise. Qutting will also improve your circulation, providing additional energy and reducing fatigue.

However, quitting smoking isn't without its challenges. In addition to being a notoriously hard habit to break, it can also lead to some initial weight gain.

This is due to the fact that smoking suppresses your appetite and speeds up your metabolism. Meanwhile, it can be tempting to use food as a replacement for cigarettes - many ex-smokers find themselves snacking to fill the void.

That being said, while you may gain weight at first, giving up smoking will pay dividends in the long run - both in the gym and from a pain standpoint. A 1999 study by the Division of Clinical Epidemiology at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal found that smoking can exacerbate back pain, particularly in scoliosis sufferers. All the more reason to bin the cigs!

 

You are what you eat

Finally, and perhaps most obviously, diet plays a huge role in weight management. Even with plenty of exercise, you can't out-train a bad diet - so be sensible when it comes to junk food and unhealthy snacks.

If your scoliosis is severe and limits your ability to exercise, a healthy diet is vital in maintaining a healthy weight. Removing exercise from the equation puts you at a disadvantage to begin with, making a healthy diet all the more important.

What's more, certain foods are beneficial for reducing scoliosis symptoms, while others can only amplify those symptoms. Food and drinks that are rich in salt, sugar or caffeine can have a negative effect on calcium absorption, while alcohol can also contribute to poor bone density.

Avoid foods rich in additives, such as ready meals and fast food. Meanwhile, try to limit your consumption of soft drinks, tea, coffee and alcohol. Eating organic meals and fresh fruit and veg will give your body a fighting chance of fat loss, while also giving you a simultaneous boost in the bone department.

Best Diet for Scoliosis >>

If you would like to explore the possibility of non-surgical treatment for your scoliosis, please contact the Scoliosis SOS Clinic to arrange a consultation.

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