Phsyiotherapist with patient

When performed correctly, physical therapy is an effective form of treatment for scoliosis, and is often used as an alternative to having to wear a back brace or undergo spinal fusion surgery. However, physiotherapy is a very broad and varied field, and it can be hard to decide which type of physical therapy is best-suited to combating your spinal curve.

The NHS provides physiotherapy treatment for scoliosis sufferers, and many people resort to this to treat their condition. However, here at Scoliosis SOS, we offer a different form of physiotherapy that we call the ScolioGold method, and we feel it's a more effective form of physiotherapy that will provide far better results than those available from the NHS.

In order to demonstrate this, we've compared the two treatment methods and shown you where we differ from NHS physiotherapy below.

Physiotherapists

  • ScolioGold

Our physiotherapists have been specifically trained to treat scoliosis, and have also undergone months of extensive additional training and examinations to ensure they have the skills to treat a whole range of complex spinal conditions (including hyperkyphosis).

  • NHS Physiotherapy

There are no specialist physiotherapists for scoliosis at the NHS, and although they may have physiotherapy degrees, a recent study highlighted physio students’ lack of knowledge when it came to scoliosis and how to treat it. Our medical team are regularly invited to guest lecture on scoliosis at a number of UK universities and hospitals.

Treatment

  • ScolioGold

Our ScolioGold method is a hybrid of several scoliosis-specific treatments, exercises and methods from all around the world. By combining techniques such as FITS, SEAS, and osteopathy, we aim to provide the best non-invasive scoliosis treatment possible. In order to target each patient’s goals and give them the best possible care, we offer a combination of hands-on group therapies and individualised scoliosis-specific exercises. Our treatment method is continually monitored, and it constantly develops to reflect new advances in the non-surgical field, thus ensuring that our therapy continues to deliver gold-standard results. There's no limit on the number of therapy sessions we can provide; you may attend as many as you feel you need.

As well as providing physiotherapy, we also deliver radiation-free spinal and gain scanning, ergonomic assessments, and insole fitting to optimise posture and back health. We also provide patient education and long-term treatment and care plans for this lifelong condition.

  • NHS Physiotherapy

NHS physiotherapy programmes consist of generic stretches and strengthening exercises that are non-specific to your condition. There's minimal hands-on therapy due to time constraints, and in some hospitals, physiotherapists are no longer allowed to even touch their patients, instead directing them to websites for advice and care.

There are an increasingly limited number of physiotherapy sessions available due to NHS budget cuts, and most trusts offer a maximum of 6 x 30 minute appointments. Furthermore, you will often not see the same therapist from one session to the next, which results in a lack of continuity in care. There's also no aftercare, no follow-up appointments, and no ongoing advice or support.

To find out more about ScolioGold therapy, please click here. You can also get in touch with Scoliosis SOS by calling 0207 488 4428 or by filling out our contact form.

Dry Needling

Originally, we only used the Schroth method to treat our patients here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic. However, over time we realised that there are some disadvantages to only using one method for treating patients, and that there are elements of postural correction that Schroth is unable to address. We still use the Schroth method as a central part of our treatment courses, but we've assisted and complimented it with a range of other well-established non-surgical techniques from around the world to ensure that all aspects of each patient's condition can be fully treated. The end result is what we call the ScolioGold method

By using a unique combination of treatment methods, we are able to offer an unparalleled level of treatment success. We're always looking to develop this method, and we have recently been in the process of incorporating some new techniques into the ScolioGold programme.

This new technique is called dry needling, and today we're going to give a brief description of what this treatment method actually entails.

What is dry needling?

Dry needling is a relatively new technique with roots in Western medicine. It was devised by two doctors (Janet Travell and David Simons) in the 1940s when they put a theory of theirs into practice and inserted injections into hyper-irritable points in the muscle in order to reduce sensitivity and relieve pain. Following that, Dr Kavel Lewit concluded in 1979 that this pain relief was primarily caused by the needle itself and actually had nothing to do with the medication being injected at the site of the pain. Since then, dry needling has been used as an effective means of treating knots (also known as trigger points) in the muscles of the human body. 

A 'knot' in the muscle can be caused by numerous different factors, such as overuse, poor muscle positioning, or trauma. Knots restrict blood supply to the affected part of the muscle, which means that there is a decreased supply of oxygen as well as an increase in metabolic waste and toxins in that area. This causes abnormal function of the muscle which ultimately results in pain, discomfort, and/or stress on the surrounding area. 

How does dry needling work?

Dry needling works by inserting a small, dry needle (less than 9/100th of the size of a medical syringe) into the trigger point in the muscle with the aim of eliciting a twitch response. A twitch response causes the muscle to ‘jump’, after which the muscle relaxes. Dry needling is not a treatment modality on its own, but it can be effective as part of a holistic treatment programme; it is therefore essential that you complete your exercises and stretches as advised by your physiotherapist in conjunction with the needling therapy for optimal recovery.

How can dry needling benefit scoliosis sufferers?

When you suffer from scoliosis, the muscles surrounding your spine become imbalanced. This results in some of the muscles being overused while other muscles become smaller and contracted from under-use. In both instances, trigger points are likely to form in these muscles. Dry needling of these muscle groups can be effective in reducing some of the muscle imbalances prior to exercise therapy in order to achieve the best results from treatment. 

To find out more about our ScolioGold courses and the exercises involved in our treatment programme, please click here. If you have any questions regarding your condition, or you wish to book an initial consultation, please get in touch with our clinic today.

We often receive questions about our approach to treating scoliosis, particularly with regards to how it differs from other forms of non-surgical treatment. One of the methods most commonly referred to is the CLEAR approach, which is available as either a 'standard' or 'intensive' treatment plan. 

While there seems to be a prevalent idea that all non-surgical scoliosis exercise and therapy programmes are the same, this is simply not the case, particularly with regards to the ScolioGold method we have developed here at our clinic. In order to illustrate this in greater detail, we thought it would be a good idea to share an in-depth comparison of our treatment programme with another non-surgical treatment method, using CLEAR as an example.

Let's start with the CLEAR method:

CLEAR Treatment

Who practises CLEAR and what techniques are used?

CLEAR treatments are practised by chiropractors who have been specifically trained in this method. They use a variety of equipment tables, wobble chairs and vibrations to 'loosen up the muscles'. This is then followed by a series of spinal adjustments, and finally, the use of a traction chair to hold the body in the correct position.

What are the aims / targets of CLEAR?

CLEAR does not involve postural correction or strengthening, and is split into a standard plan (for those who are able to make regular visits) and an intensive plan (for those who are travelling to receive treatment in a shorter space of time). These plans are based solely on Cobb angle reduction, and not the presentation or symptoms of the patient.

What long-term results does CLEAR deliver?

This treatment has not yet been tested over a long period of time, and often Cobb angles 'spring back' after an initial course of treatment using this approach.

Now, let's ask the same questions of ScolioGold...

ScolioGold

Who practises ScolioGold and what techniques are used?

ScolioGold is practised by trained, specialist physiotherapists, and is a hybrid of treatment and exercise techniques gathered from all over the world. The treatments have been in use since the early 1900s, and have been modified in accordance with the latest scoliosis research. The programme is tailored to include a combination of hands-on therapy, scoliosis-specific strengthening, stretching exercises and group therapy, in order to achieve the best overall package of care. It also teaches patients how to hold a corrective posture and strengthen muscles to help support this.

What are the aims / targets of ScolioGold?

ScolioGold is a holistic treatment approach that focuses on patient goals, pain reduction, improved function, cosmetic appearance, and Cobb angle reduction (it can also be used very effectively to help patients who have had spinal surgery). There is no limit to the number of sessions patients may attend, as it is viewed as a long-term treatment approach and care plan for a lifelong condition. Ergonomic assessments, pedoscans and insole fitting are also provided to optimise posture and back health.

What are the long-term results of ScolioGold treatment?

The ScolioGold method is continually monitored and developed with the latest scoliosis research in order to ensure continual improvement. Patients are also provided with advice and an exercise plan that allows them to maintain their results at home.

To find out more about our ScolioGold method, click here or get in touch with our team today!
Here at Scoliosis SOS, we are very proud of the fact that we have helped scoliosis sufferers from every corner of the globe. If you're familiar with our Overseas Patients page, you'll know that people have travelled to our clinic from all over Europe, from North America, and even from Oceania and Asia.

One patient from that latter group is Amy, who travelled all the way to London from Taiwan to receive treatment for her scoliosis last year.

Scoliosis Treatment for Amy from Taiwan

Amy is a nurse, and she has been living with a curved spine for roughly 15 years! She wore a brace for 4-5 of those years, but was unhappy with this treatment - her back brace was uncomfortable to wear in the hot weather, and she noticed that her muscles were shrinking and she was becoming weaker as time went by.

Amy visited the Scoliosis SOS Clinic after reading about us online and being impressed with the results she saw on our website - photos of other patients who had received treatment here and were now living a higher quality of life as a result. 

To find out more about Amy's treatment here, you can watch this short video interview we conducted with her:

Why travel to the UK from Taiwan for scoliosis treatment?

The distance between Taiwan and England is pretty immense (about 6,000 miles). However, as Amy says in the video above, the benefits you gain from receiving treatment here are well worth the long journey. Non-surgical treatment can be hard to find in Taiwan, and finding an alternative to surgery has proven a difficult task for many Taiwanese scoliosis sufferers. 

Our treatment method, ScolioGold, is a proven non-surgical treatment for scoliosis; as our research has shown, it can visibly reduce a patient's spinal curve in addition to providing relief from pain and improving flexibility and self image.

If you live in Taiwan (or anywhere else in the world for that matter) and you would like to find out more about our scoliosis treatment courses, please contact us today. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and we can even carry out a full consultation with you via Skype or telephone call.
Schroth Method vs. ScolioGold
 
Originally, the Schroth method was the primary form of physical therapy used to treat scoliosis here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic. However, we soon realised that there were several disadvantages to relying on this method alone. While Schroth remains a core element of the treatment we provide, we have since combined it with a variety of other well-established, scientifically proven spinal techniques to create the ScolioGold method, a far more comprehensive treatment programme that addresses all aspects of the patient's condition. 
 
In order to explain the differences between these two approaches more clearly (particularly for those who are researching the benefits and limitations of non-surgical therapy), we have put together a useful guide which compares the Schroth method to our own ScolioGold therapy:

What is the Schroth method?

Schroth Exercises
 
Developed by Katharina Schroth in 1921, the Schroth method is a conservative exercise therapy that takes a three-dimensional approach towards elongating the trunk and correcting imbalances of the spine. This therapy aims to develop the inner muscles of the rib cage in order to change the shape of the upper trunk and correct any spinal abnormalities in all three planes of the body: sagittal, frontal, and transverse. This means that correction needs to occur not only from side to side and front to back, but also longitudinally. The Schroth method also places emphasis on the conscious correction of posture during daily living, as well as during strenuous exercise periods.
 
Schroth’s technique involves an intensive course of inpatient physiotherapy, lasting 6-8 hours per day for 4-6 weeks. Following the inpatient treatment, it is recommended that the patient maintains an at-home follow-up routine consisting of 3-4 exercises for 30 minutes each day; this helps to maintain the improved postural balance gained during therapy.
 
A Schroth treatment programme includes the correction of the scoliotic posture and breathing pattern with the assistance of proprioceptive and exteroceptive stimulation and mirror control. Using sensorimotor feedback mechanisms, the patients learn an individual correction routine and corrected breathing pattern, providing them with the tools to maintain the results of their therapy. There is no formal follow-up or aftercare, which means that the treatment relies solely upon the patient once their course is completed. 

The ScolioGold Method

ScolioGold
 
The ScolioGold Method was developed by the Scoliosis SOS team in 2006, replacing the Schroth method as the primary form of treatment delivered here at our clinic. The principal components of ScolioGold therapy include:
  • Katharina Schroth & Rigo-Schroth methods
  • Functional Independent Treatment for Scoliosis (FITS method)
  • Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF method)
  • Scientific Exercise Approach to Scoliosis (SEAS method)
  • Orthopaedic Medicine
Our treatment courses also incorporate several common manual physiotherapy techniques, such as:
  • Myofascial release
  • Osteopathy
  • Trigger point  therapy
Treatment is further facilitated and accompanied by other techniques such as acupuncture and dry needling.
 
ScolioGold therapy is tailored to suit the specific concerns and demands of our patients, and involves ergonomic assessments, pedoscans, and insole fitting to optimise posture and back health. The ScolioGold programme is also continually monitored and developed according to the latest scoliosis research, ensuring that we always provide the best possible care for patients. Treatment can be carried out in an intensive group setting of 1, 2 or 4-week courses; alternatively, many patients elect to receive treatment through individual 1:1 outpatient-style appointments of between 1 and 3 hours per visit. There is no limit to the number of therapy sessions you can attend, and a long-term treatment plan is provided in order to continually care for our patients.
 
The aim of the ScolioGold Method is to enable patients to maintain a more central posture during everyday activities, and is based upon 5 core principles:
 
  1. Body and Postural Awareness – Improving the patient's understanding of their condition, anatomy and physiology, as well as representing their specific classification using the system of blocks.

  2. Axial Elongation – Stretching of the spine to open up areas of collapse and to better align the trunk whilst activating the muscles to address muscular imbalance.

  3. De-Rotation – Corrections of asymmetries in the transverse plane, using passive corrections (beanbags and wedges) to de-rotate the thorax assisted by rotational breathing.

  4. De-Flexion – Corrections in the frontal plane addressing coronal imbalance, pelvic torsion, rotation and shoulder positioning.

  5. Isometric Contraction – Prolonged muscle contraction to re-enforce corrections.
 
To find out more about ScolioGold therapy, please click here. You can also get in touch with Scoliosis SOS by calling 0207 488 4428 or by filling out our contact form.