Yoga for Scoliosis

It seems that yoga classes are popping up everywhere these days, and this ancient Indian practice has also become very popular among online communities. Placing emphasis on psychological and physical balance, yoga is often used to improve an individual's physical ability, as well as their mental well-being. This is achieved via a combination of poses and breathing exercises, which are said to improve strength and flexibility while also combating the negative effects of everyday life (such as stress and bad posture).

While yoga has received a lot of good press in the health and wellness industry, it's important to examine how yoga is being promoted to those with specific medical conditions, including scoliosis. The benefits of yoga have been well documented, but we feel that it is also important to scrutinise the ways in which some people are presenting this approach as a viable, non-surgical treatment for curvature of the spine.

How is yoga used to treat scoliosis?

The form of yoga that is sometimes used to treat scoliosis is called hatha (which, in Sanskrit, simply means 'force'). Hatha yoga focuses on physical postures and exercises, but also emphasises proper breathing, mental exercises, and a controlled diet.

The main aim of yoga-based scoliosis treatment is to create proper alignment within the body while minimising pain and spinal damage. This is achieved by focusing on a number of key areas, including:

  • Strengthening the feet and legs (supposedly relieving some of the burden on your spine)
  • Straightening / lengthening the spine
  • Aligning the lower limbs with the torso for improved function
  • Addressing the rounding of the back
  • Strengthening the core muscles to prevent the back from tightening
  • Incorporation of breathing awareness to improve structural alignment

Should I use yoga to treat my scoliosis?

While yoga can lead to a number of positive benefits for scoliosis sufferers - most notably improved posture and muscle strength, as well as pain relief in some cases - the use of yoga as a scoliosis treatment should be regarded with caution. This is especially true if you are visiting a class or treatment centre that does not cater specifically to the demands of scoliosis sufferers; scoliotic spines don't always behave in the same way as healthy spines, and this can prove problematic when scoliosis patients participate in certain exercises and activities.

In particular, scoliosis sufferers who practice yoga should be careful when performing exercises that involve:

  • Backward / forward bending
  • Torso twists
  • Sideways bends
  • Shoulder stands
  • Bending of the rib cage

The problem is the sheer variety of different deviations that exist in scoliosis patients. Ideally, all treatments (whether yoga-based or not) should be specifically tailored to the patient's unique condition while also assessing potential areas of concern in order to avoid secondary risks.

Is there a safer alternative to yoga for scoliosis sufferers?

For those who wish to treat their scoliosis without surgery, there are other non-surgical treatment methods available - methods that provide the corrective and strengthening benefits of yoga while also doing more to address the individual needs of the patient. Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we use our own ScolioGold treatment method: this is a combined programme of non-surgical techniques that we specifically created to address a combination of issues present in individuals suffering from scoliosis. In order to provide the best results, patient outcomes and treatments are constantly monitored and updated in line with the latest medical research in our field.

Click here to find out more about our ScolioGold treatment programme, or get in touch with Scoliosis SOS today to arrange a consultation.

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.