De Novo Scoliosis

As we explained in our blog on the subject, there are two forms of adult degenerative scoliosis. Today, we're going to take a closer look at the condition known as de novo scoliosis.

What is de novo scoliosis?

De novo scoliosis is a sideways spinal curve that appears in adulthood. The difference between de novo scoliosis and degenerative scoliosis is that de novo scoliosis affects patients who have never had scoliosis in the past.

'De novo' means 'new', and this name refers to the fact that the condition occurs later in life, during the patient's adulthood rather than their adolescence. It is uncommon for de novo scoliosis to arise before the age of 40-50.

Causes of de novo scoliosis

As bones get weaker and the ligaments and discs in the spine become worn due to age-related changes, the spine may begin to curve.

In most cases, de novo scoliosis is caused by the ageing of the facet joints and discs in the lower (lumbar) spine, leading to the vertebrae slipping out of place and the spine losing its shape. However, a number of other conditions - including spinal canal stenosis, compression fractures, and osteoporosis - have been known to contribute to the occurrence of de novo scoliosis.

Diagnosing de novo scoliosis

A physical examination and X-ray scan / imaging techniques are required to diagnose de novo scoliosis.

Common symptoms include:

  • Muscle fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Feelings of stiffness, numbness and weakness in the back and legs

Posture may also be affected.

In many cases, de novo scoliosis is not properly diagnosed, especially when it does not cause a significant amount of pain. A thorough inspection of the patient's medical history helps to determine whether any underlying issues have contributed to its development.

De novo scoliosis treatment

The best treatment for this condition can depend on the nature of the condition and the symptoms experienced by the patient, with both non-surgical and surgical interventions available.

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we use our own physiotherapy programme called ScolioGold to treat scoliosis sufferers of all ages. Physical therapy can improve the patient's mobility, boost strength and correct abnormal posture, and ScolioGold therapy combines a variety of proven non-surgical techniques to achieve noticeable, lasting results.

More About ScolioGold >    Book a Consultation >

Several individuals with scoliosis (a sideways curvature of the spine)

Every year, scoliosis sufferers and those close to them recognise the month of June as Scoliosis Awareness Month. This is an annual opportunity for people all over the world to come together, speak out about life with a curved spine, and educate others about what it means to have scoliosis.

This month-long event culminates in International Scoliosis Awareness Day, which falls on the last Saturday of June (meaning that the date to remember this year is 30th June 2018). The UK Scoliosis Association (SAUK) launched International Scoliosis Awareness Day five years ago - here, in the organisation's own words, is why they did it:

"SAUK launched ISAD in 2013 to unite people across the world to create positive public awareness of scoliosis, promote education, and bring together those affected."

 

How do people mark Scoliosis Awareness Month?

People mark this annual occasion in a number of different ways. If you use Twitter, you may already have seen the hashtag #ScoliosisAwarenessMonth doing the rounds - scoliosis sufferers are using this tag to share their stories, their X-ray scans, and photos of their curved backs and surgery scars. All of these posts are intermingled with advice for fellow scoliosis patients and useful information about the condition.

There are also a number of events taking place in recognition of Scoliosis Awareness Month. Last year, for instance, the Curvy Girls support group organised a large walk in New Jersey to raise awareness of spinal curvature.

 

4 things you should know about scoliosis

We're keen to do our bit for Scoliosis Awareness Month too, so here - for the benefit of anyone who is unfamiliar with this condition - are 4 things we think everyone should know about scoliosis. Feel free to share this post to help raise awareness!

1. What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition where the spine curves sideways, often resulting in symptoms such as pain, reduced flexibility, muscular imbalance, and (in extreme cases) compromised breathing. Read more >

For a rough idea of what scoliosis looks like, consult the diagram below. However, do bear in mind that every case of scoliosis is different - symptoms, severity, and curve location vary hugely from one person to the next.

Scoliosis symptoms

2. How common is scoliosis?

Scoliosis affects roughly 4% of people worldwide (i.e. approximately 1 in 25 people). It can occur in any individual regardless of age or gender; however, it is most commonly found in adolescent girls. Read more >

3. What causes scoliosis?

There are many different types of scoliosis with many possible causes. By far the most common form is idiopathic scoliosis, which usually develops during adolescence and has no known cause, though it is thought to be linked to genetic factors.

However, scoliosis can also be caused by:

  • Birth defects
  • Old age
  • A wide range of conditions including muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, spondylolisthesis, and many more

It's worth noting that scoliosis is NOT caused by carrying heavy bags, though this is a common misconception. Read more >

4. How is scoliosis treated?

Scoliosis can be treated using a number of different methods, with bracing and spinal fusion surgery being the most common. Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in London, England, we treat scoliosis using a combination of non-surgical, exercise-based techniques that we collectively call the ScolioGold method. This approach - using physical therapy to reduce the patient's spinal curve and improve their quality of life - has shown itself to be very effective. View results >

If you need more information about scoliosis, or if you're interested in the treatment courses we provide here at Scoliosis SOS, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

40 Degree Scoliosis

While even a minor spinal curvature can have a huge impact on an individual's life, scoliosis tends to be particularly problematic when the curve measures 40 degrees or more.

As we've explained previously in our guide to Cobb angle measurements, UK medical professionals usually recommend surgery when a scoliosis patient's spinal curve reaches 40 degrees (although in some other countries, the threshold is 50 degrees instead). Spinal fusion remains by far the most commonly-used surgical method for correcting curvatures of the spine, and so this is the procedure that most people with 40-degree scoliosis end up undergoing.

READ MORE: What Happens During Scoliosis Surgery?

 

Is there an alternative to surgery for people with 40-degree scoliosis?

While surgery is the most frequently-recommended treatment option for spinal curves measuring 40+ degrees, it is not the only path available.

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we often treat scoliosis patients with curves of 40 degrees and up, and we have consistently found that our non-surgical, exercise-based treatment programme can eliminate the need for surgical intervention altogether.

VIEW TREATMENT RESULTS: Before & After X-Rays

 

Case Study: Ahda from Malaysia

Ahda Khalil, a 12-year-old girl from Malaysia, came to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic in late 2016 because she didn't want to undergo surgery for her condition. Ahda's scoliosis had already passed the 40-degree mark, and several surgeons in Kuala Lumpur had told her family that surgery was the only viable option, but after conducting some research on the Internet they travelled to London and Ahda completed a ScolioGold treatment course under the supervision of our highly-trained physiotherapists.

If you'd like to hear the full story, please watch this video interview with Ahda and her father:

 

How do we treat 40-degree scoliosis?

The ScolioGold method incorporates a number of proven non-surgical techniques into a wide-ranging treatment programme that's specifically tailored to the needs of people with scoliosis (and other curvatures of the spine).

Here are just a few of the methods we currently utilise on our scoliosis treatment courses:

If you would like to book a Scoliosis SOS consultation for yourself or a loved one, please fill out our online form or give us a call on 0207 488 4428.

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition where the spine curves sideways. Everyone's spine is at least a little curved – nobody has a perfectly straight backbone – but if the angle of the curve measures 10 degrees or more, the patient is said to have scoliosis.

Scoliosis affects roughly 3% of the population, and it can contribute to a number of health issues, including:

  • Back pain
  • Muscle imbalance
  • Visible prominences
  • Compromised breathing

The condition usually develops during adolescence, and the majority of scoliosis sufferers are female. However, scoliosis can occur at any time of life for a wide variety of different reasons.

To learn more about scoliosis, watch our video:

 

Causes of Scoliosis

In approximately 80% of cases, scoliosis is idiopathic, meaning that it has no known cause. Idiopathic scoliosis usually develops when the patient is between 10 and 15 years old, roughly coinciding with the onset of puberty. It is thought that this form of scoliosis occurs due to genetic factors, although research into the exact cause of idiopathic scoliosis is still ongoing.

Scoliosis can also arise as a result of underlying medical conditions such as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and Marfan syndrome. Sometimes, a baby will be born with scoliosis because of the way their spine developed in the womb; conversely, some types of scoliosis don't develop until old age.

Click here to learn more about the causes of scoliosis >

 

Scoliosis Curved Spine

 

Symptoms of Scoliosis

When diagnosing a patient with suspected scoliosis, a medical professional will usually look for the following symptoms:

  • Leaning to one side
  • Shoulders not the same height
  • One shoulder blade more prominent than the other
  • Uneven hips, waist, legs and/or rib cage

While curvature of the spine often results in back pain, it is important to remember that back pain alone is not necessarily an indicator of spinal curvature – there are all sorts of things besides scoliosis that might be making your back hurt!

Click here to book a consultation at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic >

 

ScolioGold Treatment for Scoliosis

 

How is Scoliosis Treated?

The recommended treatment for scoliosis varies depending on a number of different factors, including:

  • The patient's age
  • The severity of their spinal curve
  • The location of the curve
  • How quickly the curve is progressing (getting worse)
  • Whether or not the patient is still growing

Common scoliosis treatment methods include bracing, where the patient wears a rigid plastic shell to prevent the curve progressing further, and spinal fusion, a surgical procedure that uses metal rods to fix the spine in place. Surgery is usually only recommended if the patient's curve has progressed to an angle of 40 degrees or more.

There is another option, however. Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we provide non-surgical treatment courses for scoliosis sufferers, using specialised physiotherapy techniques to combat the effects of this condition. The Schroth method, which forms the basis of our treatment programme, has proven effective in reducing the angle of spinal curves, but this is just one of the techniques that we use to achieve the best possible results for our patients.

 

The ScolioGold Method

We at Scoliosis SOS are proud of our unsurpassed track record of consistently excellent results with no side effects or invasive, risky procedures. Our ScolioGold method comprises a variety of non-surgical spinal treatments from around the world. Using these methods, our therapists are able to help scoliosis patients to overcome their symptoms without the need for surgery.

Our scoliosis treatment programmes are tailored to the unique needs of the patient. The ScolioGold method is designed to help the patient adopt a more central, balanced posture while also reducing pain/stiffness and reversing the curve's progression. This treatment regime also enables patients to learn a specific, individualised exercise programme which can be performed on a daily basis at home to maintain and further their spinal correction.

Click here to see a list of upcoming ScolioGold course dates >

All of our patients, regardless of their age or type of spinal deformity, have noticed a dramatic improvement in their overall fitness, wellbeing and appearance. Patients and their families often start to notice the physical and emotional improvement only a few days into the course.

If you suffer from scoliosis (or another curvature of the spine, such as hyperkyphosis), please get in touch to learn more about Scoliosis SOS and what we can do to help you.

 

Other Conditions We Treat:

  • Hyperkyphosis (an excessive outward curvature in the upper spine)
  • Hyperlordosis (an excessive inward curvature in the lower spine)

who is affected by scoliosis

Unfortunately, scoliosis can affect anyone and may occur at any time of life for a variety of different reasons. However, the condition usually develops during adolescence and the majority of sufferers are female.

No one has a perfectly straight back - everyone’s spine is a little bit curved, and this causes no problems in most cases. Scoliosis is only diagnosed when the angle of curve exceeds 10 degrees.

So who is affected by scoliosis? This condition actually affects roughly 4% of the population, making it quite a bit more common than some people realise.

Most cases of scoliosis are diagnosed between the ages of 10 and 15. During this time, most teenagers are going through a growth spurt, and this is where scoliosis tends to become more pronounced. However, it is not clear why the condition affects more women than men (although multiple theories have been put forward). As mentioned above, scoliosis can affect a range of people for a range of different reasons, such as those listed below.

severe scoliosis

Causes of Scoliosis

Idiopathic – If the patient has no other health problem that might have caused their spine to curve, then they are said to have idiopathic scoliosis. This is the most common form of scoliosis, and while the cause is not known, it is thought to stem from genetic factors.

Ageing – While the majority of scoliosis cases are diagnosed early on in life, getting older also causes your body to change quite dramatically. Deterioration of the spine with age may result in a sideways curvature.

Health Conditions

Scoliosis can sometimes be caused by other health conditions. Unfortunately, those affected by the following conditions (among others) may also be affected by scoliosis:

Birth Defects – Although it is rare, sometimes the condition is present from birth. This happens when the baby’s spine doesn’t develop properly in the womb.

Muscular Dystrophy (MD) – This is a condition where the muscles weaken over time. This is a genetic problem that may eventually cause the spine to start curving.

Marfan Syndrome – A hereditary disorder where the body’s connective tissues deteriorate. This can eventually affect the spine.

Cerebral Palsy - This condition is associated with muscle weakness, and a weakening of the muscles around the spine can lead to scoliosis.

If you are worried that you might be affected by scoliosis, our expert team would be happy to talk to you and discuss your options. To book a consultation, please click here.

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