Scoliosis can impact anyone at any time of life, but the condition can be especially challenging in older patients. This is due in part to the increased chance of additional diseases or disorders - such as osteoporosis - being present.

Scoliosis most commonly affects adolescents (most cases are diagnosed between the ages of 10 and 15), and the cause is not usually known. However, in older patients, scoliosis often materialises due to asymmetric degeneration that wears through the body's facet joints and intervertebral discs. This has a very distinct appearance on X-rays, and the resulting spinal curvature tend to be very steep, with sideways slippage of the bone in the middle (called a lateral listhesis); this is usually caused by the weakening of fibres in the discs. Canal stenosis - the narrowing of holes in spinal nerves - is another common occurrence in degenerative scoliosis, which can often lead to pain that radiates down into the hips and legs.

How can we treat scoliosis in older people? 

Available scoliosis treatment options can become somewhat limited in later life. Back braces tend to be less effective, and it can be difficult for older patients to go through and recover from surgery. It is not guaranteed that surgery will 'fix' the problem for good, and there is a high possibility of the patient experiencing pain and reduced mobility and flexibility post-operation.

Instead, we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic treat the condition using our own unique combination of exercise-based techniques; we call this the ScolioGold method. By using our own treatment regime, we are able to offer patients an unrivalled level of treatment success; we have an expert team of consultants and physiotherapists on-site, and we are continually monitoring and developing our method in order to ensure that it continues to deliver top results. We have treated many elderly patients, helping them to overcome the effects of scoliosis without the need for a back brace or surgical intervention.

One such patient is 75-year-old Brenda Kenyon from Cheshire, who didn't even know she had scoliosis until 2010. She has now been attending the Scoliosis SOS Clinic for 6 years, and we'll let Brenda tell the rest of the story herself:

To see what we can achieve when treating scoliosis in older people, please click here. If you are interested in attending one of our 4-week treatment courses yourself, please get in touch with us to book your initial consultation.
As we've seen several times on this blog over the last few months, scoliosis is not just a condition in its own right but also - in some cases - a symptom of other conditions. 80% of scoliosis sufferers have idiopathic scoliosis, meaning that there is no known cause, but for many others, scoliosis is part of a larger disorder that potentially comes with all kinds of other symptoms as well.

For Louise, a young acrobat from Jersey, that larger disorder is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (or EDS for short).

Scoliosis patient with EDS

What is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome?

There are multiple different types of EDS, but all of them affect the body's connective tissues. Typical symptoms include:
  • Very stretchy skin
  • Joint hypermobility (also known as being 'double-jointed')
  • Fragile skin that breaks/bruises easily
This is because EDS sufferers have a genetic abnormality that affects their collagen, the protein that serves as the main component in all connective bodily tissues (some refer to collagen as the 'glue' that holds the body together).

In addition to the above symptoms, many EDS patients also suffer from:
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Dysautonomia (problems with the nerves that carry information to the heart, bladder, intestines, sweat glands, pupils and blood vessels)
  • Curvature of the spine
However, symptoms vary considerably depending on which type of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome you have.

Louise's story

Louise came to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic to receive treatment for a sideways curve in her spine. Spinal curvature is a common problem for people who suffer from a form of EDS called kyphoscoliotic Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (also known as EDS type VI).

Circus acrobat Louise understood that she needed treatment for her scoliosis, but she also knew that traditional scoliosis treatment methods (spinal fusion surgery or back bracing) could seriously affect her flexibility and thus her ability to perform.

Acrobat with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

In the end, she travelled from Jersey to London with her mother in order to complete a 4-week ScolioGold course. We'll let Louise and her mum tell you the rest of the story:

If you suffer from curvature of the spine (whether as the result of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or something else), we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic may be able to help you. Please contact us today to arrange an initial consultation, or give us a call on 0207 488 4428 to speak with a member of staff.

Learn about some of the other conditions that can result in a curved spine:

Orthopaedic Medicine

Here at Scoliosis SOS, we know that every scoliosis sufferer is different, and so we always aim to understand each patient's unique experiences in order to deliver lasting positive results. Our ScolioGold method consists of a variety of proven non-surgical techniques that we have combined into one scoliosis treatment programme that seeks to address every aspect of the condition.

Although the Schroth method is our primary technique for the treatment of scoliosis, it is complemented with an assortment of other recognised and medically sound treatment methods from across the globe, including the use of orthopaedic medicine.

What is orthopaedic medicine?

Established in the UK in 1929, orthopaedic medicine is used to diagnose and treat non-surgical lesions of the musculoskeletal system. The founder of this practice, Dr James Cyriax, found that there was no satisfactory method in place to test the function of soft tissues in areas such as the joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons, making treatment of associated conditions unreliable and non-specific. 

From his research, he developed a system for assessing the patient and devising a suitable treatment programme, which has influenced the way in which we provide therapies for musculoskeletal disorders today. Using a combination of exercises and stretches to enhance the patient's muscle strength, this technique can provide significant relief from pain and improve overall bodily function, a result that we have seen in many scoliosis patients when using orthopaedic medicine as a treatment method.

Along with increased range of movement, relief from pain is often a key goal for scoliosis sufferers, which is why orthopaedic medicine plays such an important role in the treatment we provide at our clinic. The effectiveness of our treatment is reflected by the continued improvements recorded in our patients, which show substantial reductions in pain both immediately after their treatment course and as they continue to maintain their exercise programme at home.

If you are interested in finding out more about our ScolioGold programme and would like to see if our ScolioGold treatment method is right for you, please click here to get in touch with the Scoliosis SOS Clinic.

As you may have already noticed from previous blog posts, we treat a huge variety of patients here at Scoliosis SOS, ranging widely in age, gender and nationality.  Although we are based in London, during our years in operation, we have treated an array of patients not only from across the UK, but from all around the world!

Looking at the map on our Overseas Patients page, you will notice that we have treated patients from several different continents and numerous countries, including those who made the long journey from the Southern Hemisphere to enrol on one of our treatment courses. We regularly welcome scoliosis sufferers from both Australia and New Zealand, allowing them to return to their home countries with straighter spines, and bags of positivity.

While travelling such a large distance from home may seem like an extreme step for some, for our former patients it has often been the final attempt to avoid drastic spinal surgery, and has been more than worth it in terms of the list of improvements that they achieve in only four weeks of therapy. To highlight just some of the benefits that our ScolioGold treatment programme has granted patients from Australia and New Zealand, here are two case studies which detail the experiences of our former patients:

Patient #1: Ben Stanton
21 // Male // Australia

Like many of our patients, Ben is an extremely active individual, who enjoys working out at the gym and is a keen rugby player. He first noticed an irregularity in his spine whilst bending over in the gym, and was keen to get the problem fixed straight away, in order to avoid any restrictions to his physical ability in the future.

Why did Ben choose Scoliosis SOS?
Before Ben visited Scoliosis SOS to receive his own treatment, his sister had also suffered with scoliosis, and was able to successfully treat her symptoms thanks to the help of our clinic. Having witnessed the possibilities of the treatment, Ben was confident that the programme would not only allow him to relieve the physical symptoms of the condition, but would also help him learn how to properly support his physical activities without causing further damage to his body.

After completing his treatment course, Ben found that his flexibility and posture had greatly improved since initial enrolment, which was incredibly positive in terms of supporting his further training. He also found that he was able to easily transfer the skills he had learnt in one-on-one sessions to his own gym work, allowing him to maintain his activity level without injuring or limiting himself. Watch the video below to hear Ben’s full story.

Patient #2: Katy Bramble 
12 // Female // New Zealand

Katy was diagnosed with scoliosis at 10 years old, and like many sufferers, was left devastated by the prospect of undergoing corrective surgery. Not only did she feel isolated by her peers, who were able to take on numerous physical activities and live a carefree life, she also felt incredibly intimidated by the prospect of undergoing irreversible changes to her spine.

Why did Katy choose Scoliosis SOS?
Katy was sad and frightened at the prospect of surgery, but was left feeling hopeful after her mother read about Scoliosis SOS online. Although she was daunted at the prospect of travelling to an unfamiliar country at such short notice, she was determined to try anything in order to avoid surgery.

Treatment at Scoliosis SOS not only improved the physical symptoms of Katy’s condition, but also massively improved her confidence and wellbeing. Plus she noticed changes in her appearance, and felt considerably stronger, which was great news in terms of her sporting ambitions. Best of all, she was able to return to life as a normal, active young girl, having made lots of new friends on the way. To read Katy’s full story, click here

If you’re looking for scoliosis treatment in Australia and New Zealand, but feel that you are unable to access an approach which suits your needs, then please don’t hesitate to contact the Scoliosis SOS team. For overseas patients, we are able to conduct over the phone consultations, which can be requested here.
Although there is no cause for the curvature of the spine in that majority of cases we treat here at Scoliosis SOS, and in scoliosis patients in general, there are several medical conditions which can lead to the development of scoliosis. 
Today, we are focusing on one of the conditions which can lead to the development of scoliosis, namely, Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Many will not have heard of the condition previously, due to its rare and serious nature. It occurs when the immune system attacks part of the nervous system, and is often the result of a viral or bacterial infection.
One of the primary symptoms of Guillain-Barré is progressive muscle weakness, and a resulting loss in coordination. Although many sufferers of Guillain-Barré go on to recover from their condition, a lasting impact is often caused by this weakening of the muscles, which in some cases, can lead to the development of scoliosis. 
Such was the case for our previous patient Jonathan, who suffered with Guillain-Barré for a year, and was diagnosed with scoliosis shortly afterwards. Upon initial diagnosis, Jonathan was told he had a 19° curve and was given a corrective brace, but six months later he was told that this had progressed to a 38° curve.
Improved muscle strength and coordination are a huge part of our treatment process here at Scoliosis SOS, targeted by the inclusion of methods such as the PNF Technique, along with other elements of our ScolioGold programme. For this reason, our treatment approach can be incredibly beneficial for an individual who has been left weakened by the impact of Guillian-Barré, as is exemplified in Jonathan’s treatment video below:
If you would like to learn more about how we can aid the recovery of Guillian-Barre sufferers, and relieve symptoms of their scoliosis, please get in touch by calling 0207 488 4428, or by filling out our enquiry form here.