Analysing what causes scoliosis

While scoliosis most commonly develops during adolescence, this debilitating condition can affect anyone at any time of life. Some people aren’t affected by scoliosis until they reach old age; others notice the symptoms far earlier. In some cases, the condition is actually present from birth (although this is quite rare).

The causes of scoliosis

In around 80% of cases, the exact cause of scoliosis is unclear. This is known as idiopathic scoliosis, which is by far the most common form of the condition. Idiopathic scoliosis is thought to occur due to genetic factors, but nobody knows for sure.

When scoliosis is not idiopathic, the cause may be one of the following:
  • Muscular dystrophy (also known as MD). This is a genetic condition that weakens the muscles over time. This gradual weakening can lead to – among other things – curvature of the spine. Learn more >

  • Cerebral palsy. This condition affects the patient’s movement and coordination, and can also cause irregular posture. Learn more >

  • Birth defects. As mentioned above, some people are born with scoliosis because their spines developed improperly in the womb. This is known as congenital scoliosis. Learn more >

  • Marfan syndrome. This is a hereditary disorder that affects the body’s connective tissues, which in turn can have an effect on the patient’s spine. Learn more >

  • Ageing. Getting older will naturally have an adverse effect on one’s body, and some previously healthy people are affected by scoliosis in their later years due to changes in the discs and joints that make up the spine. Learn more >
In the future, we may understand more about scoliosis (particularly idiopathic scoliosis), and this will hopefully help doctors to prevent some cases of scoliosis before they emerge. In the meantime, all we can do is treat the symptoms of scoliosis, such as postural deformities, decreased mobility, and chronic pain.

Surgical correction is the most common method for treating scoliosis, but many scoliotics find that they are able to overcome the symptoms of their condition through non-surgical, exercise-based physical therapy.

Click here to learn about non-invasive alternatives to scoliosis surgery; alternatively, please contact Scoliosis SOS if you wish to book an initial consultation with one of our scoliosis consultants.

Scoliosis assessment

If you suffer from scoliosis, you may have been told that you need surgery in order to correct the curvature of your spine. Many people undergo scoliosis surgery each year, but while these procedures can deliver the desired results, there are a number of reasons why a scoliosis sufferer might decide against surgical correction. Surgery always comes with a certain level of risk, and scoliosis surgery specifically can, on rare occasions, lead to complications such as vertebral degeneration and pseudarthrosis.

Should I refuse to undergo scoliosis surgery?

If your scoliosis is particularly severe (for example, if the angle of your spinal curve exceeds 45°) then surgery may be the only effective treatment option.

However, many scoliotics find that it is possible to overcome the symptoms of their condition without surgical intervention. Erika Maude, founder of the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, is a prime example: she was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 11, and was offered spinal fusion surgery when she was in her teens. At that point, her spine exhibited a 42° curve; however, Erika refused surgery and instead sought non-surgical treatment using the Schroth method.

This treatment worked, and Erika is no longer affected by the symptoms of scoliosis.

What's the alternative to scoliosis surgery?

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we treat scoliosis sufferers using our own ScolioGold method. This 4-week programme combines elements from the aforementioned Schroth with a number of other therapeutic methods, including:
  • FITS (Functional Independent Treatment for Scoliosis)
  • SEAS (Scientific Exercise Approach to Scoliosis)
  • Kinesio taping
  • Myofascial release
  • Osteopathy
Together, these therapeutic methods help to relieve the pain caused by scoliosis while reducing the patient's Cobb angle and improving their quality of life in general.

How can I find out if non-surgical scoliosis treatment will work for me?

We recommend that you book an initial consultation at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic – this will allow our scoliosis consultants to assess the severity of your condition and make an informed decision as to whether or not ScolioGold treatment would be an effective alternative to surgery in your case.
Myofascial Release

The physiotherapists here at Scoliosis SOS treat patients using the ScolioGold method. This approach combines a number of non-surgical scoliosis treatments (including the Schroth method) in order to provide unparalleled relief from the effects of spinal curvature.

One of the techniques utilised by our ScolioGold therapists is myofascial release. In this blog post, you’ll learn all about myofascial release, how it works, and how we incorporate it into our highly effective treatment courses

What is myofascial release?

Myofascial release therapy was conceived in America in the 1940s. The technique is based on the medical findings of such practitioners as Dr Ida Rolf and Andrew Taylor Still (the founder of osteopathy, another method that we incorporate into our ScolioGold courses).

Myofascial release (commonly abbreviated to MFR) is a form of soft tissue therapy that can help to relax the muscles, improve circulation, and stimulate the patient’s stretch reflex.

How can myofascial release help scoliosis sufferers?

We have found that MFR often helps to relieve the pain caused by scoliosis and other musculoskeletal disorders. If the condition is restricting the patient’s movements, myofascial release can help with this, too.

As stated above, myofascial release is just one of the many methods we utilise here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic. This particular technique does not aim to reverse the spinal curvature that’s present in patients with scoliosis; rather, it helps to relieve pain and improve circulation/mobility whilst complementing the corrective exercises espoused by the Schroth method and some of the other therapeutic techniques we use.

For more information about myofascial release and the many other methods we use here at Scoliosis SOS, please visit our main ScolioGold page. If you are a scoliosis sufferer and you would like to arrange a consultation with a member of our team, please click here and you will be directed to our contact page.
Scoliosis in teenagers

Idiopathic scoliosis can develop at any stage of a person's life, but it most commonly arises between the ages of 10 and 15. With this in mind, it's no surprise that teenagers account for such a large percentage of the Scoliosis SOS Clinic's patient base – as you can see here, we treat a lot of people in their mid-to-late teens, and our courses consistently help adolescent patients to overcome the symptoms of scoliosis at a relatively young age.

How does scoliosis affect teenagers?

Scoliosis can cause back pain, muscular imbalance, and compromised breathing, and these symptoms can have a hugely detrimental effect on the quality of one's life at any age. The condition can also have a noticeable impact on one's appearance – common effects include:
  • Visible spinal curvature
  • Uneven shoulders/legs/hips
  • Clothes not fitting properly
While these issues can be distressing no matter how old you are, they are often especially damaging when the patient in question is a teenager. The visible effects of scoliosis often lead to reduced self-esteem and a negative self-image, and the emotional repercussions can often be just as problematic as any physical difficulties experienced, if not more so.

Non-surgical treatment courses

Our ScolioGold therapy courses have proven extremely effective in the treatment of scoliosis and similar spinal conditions, and as previously mentioned, they have helped countless teenage patients to achieve marked improvements. But don't take our word for it - listen to the feedback we received from Phoebe, Madeline and Ava, three teenage girls who completed treatment courses at our clinic last year:


Our four-week courses utilise a variety of proven treatment methods to combat the effects of scoliosis without the need for surgical intervention. Course dates are flexible, allowing teenagers to receive treatment around school/college and other commitments.

How to book your initial consultation

If you or your child suffer from scoliosis and you wish to arrange consultation with a member of the Scoliosis SOS team, please fill out the form on our Contact page and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we are committed to conducting research into our field on a constant basis. This research helps us to better understand scoliosis itself, and in turn, enables us to deliver the best level of treatment to those who suffer from it. To offer you some insight into the topics we have researched recently, here are a few short summaries outlining our aims and findings:

Back pain

Pain Research

The aim of this project was to determine whether or not an intensive 4-week scoliosis exercise programme could decrease patient pain in cases of idiopathic scoliosis, and to ascertain if it could then be maintained. Pain is one of the most common and most debilitating symptoms of the condition for both adults and adolescents, and we therefore wanted to examine whether or not a scoliosis-specific exercise programme would be able to significantly reduce pain.

35 patients took part in this study, and each one was asked to report their pain levels before the course, immediately after the course, and at a check-up session 6 months later. The results were very encouraging, as patients displayed significant reductions in reported pain, as well as displaying further improvements as they continued to use the home exercise programme thereafter.

Cobb angle research

Cobb Angle Research

This research was conducted to determine the impact of a 4-week scoliosis-specific exercise programme on the Cobb angle in subjects suffering from idiopathic scoliosis. The Cobb angle is the angle between the most tilted vertebral bodies above and below the apex of the spinal curve, and has been the standard by which to assess Scoliosis since 1948.

This study involved 11 patients, each of whom were given X-rays by an independent radiographer to compare the Cobb angle before and after treatment. This research displayed significant reductions in the Cobb angle for a range of patients with juvenile, adolescent and adult scoliosis, proving that scoliosis-specific physiotherapy is demonstrably capable of reducing the Cobb angle.

Body image

Body Image Research

For people suffering with scoliosis, body image is often a key motivation for seeking treatment. For this reason, we conducted a study into whether or not an intensive 4-week course of exercises would improve each patient’s body image; we also looked at whether improvements would be rated equally by therapists, a scoliotic rater, and the patients themselves.

82 patients with idiopathic scoliosis rated their own body image, and were also rated by two blinded physiotherapists and a scoliotic rater. Patients reported significant improvements in body image post-treatment, although there were variations between patients’ scores and those of the raters, demonstrating the importance of patient-rated body image in our treatment.

Click here for more detailed accounts of our scoliosis research, or contact us if you would like to find out more about the Scoliosis SOS Clinic and what we can do to help you.
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