Living with scoliosis can be an ordeal even in the best circumstances, but managing a spinal curve while simultaneously going through puberty and striving to stay on top of schoolwork is a challenging feat indeed. Unfortunately, since most cases of idiopathic scoliosis develop during adolescence, many young people are forced to learn how to live with scoliosis just as they're also trying to navigate the general turbulence that tends to accompany one's teenage years.

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we've helped countless teenagers and pre-teens to manage their scoliosis and achieve a higher quality of life. Today, we'd like to share the story of a young woman from Cardiff named Louiselle, who came to our clinic for treatment around ten years ago. Back then, Louiselle was an intelligent, high-achieving 14-year-old girl who was suffering enormously due to her dramatically curved spine.

Louiselle
Photo of Louiselle by David Hurst (originally published in the Western Mail, 10 September 2007)

Louiselle's scoliosis first began to assert itself when she was just 9 years old. Unfortunately, doctors misdiagnosed her early symptoms, dismissing her pains as 'growing pains' and incorrectly attributing her compromised breathing to asthma. When Louiselle hit puberty, things got even worse: she experienced heavy, painful menstruation and a dramatic reduction in her ability to take part in activities such as swimming and running. She was eventually diagnosed with scoliosis when she visited the doctor for a minor chest infection, but this diagnosis sadly did not signal the end of Louiselle's suffering.

At the age of 14, Louiselle was admitted to hospital, where an X-ray revealed the true severity of her spinal curve:

Scoliosis X-Ray

Soon afterwards, she was told that the best course of action would be to wait for another 6 months, then go back to the hospital for a surgical procedure that would involve the removal of several ribs and the insertion of metal rods into her spine. This is a terrifying prospect for anyone, let alone a 14-year-old, but Louiselle was not offered any alternative.

As time passed, Lousielle's severe abdominal pain continued to worsen. She became addicted to painkillers, and was bullied in school for her increasing reliance on medication. To make matters even more desperate, medical professionals often dismissed her symptoms entirely, suggesting that she was simply 'making a fuss'. At one point, Louiselle was referred to a psychologist in the hope that this would help her to overcome her 'imaginary' pain.

And then, one day, a glimmer of light appeared at the end of the tunnel. Louiselle's mother was watching BBC Breakfast one morning when she witnessed this interview with Erika Maude, founder of the Scoliosis SOS Clinic:


Not long after that, Louiselle and her mum arrived at our clinic, which at the time was located in Suffolk. Lousielle was desperately hoping that our exercise-based treatment would help to relieve her suffering and enable her to live well without the need for surgical intervention; not only was the pain practically unbearable at this point, she was also missing a lot of school time (and just before her GCSEs!) in order to get treated.

Fortunately, this last-ditch attempt to beat scoliosis was not in vain. Here is what Louiselle looked like before and after her 4-week course at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic:

Scoliosis Before & After Treatment

Here's what Louiselle had to say after completing her scoliosis treatment course:

"Scoliosis SOS were able to explain all my symptoms. They could sympathise with me, and I really felt I was around people who could related to my experiences! After my trip to the Clinic, my legs now feel like they're the same length. I am walking straighter and taller, and - importantly - I don't feel like the freak that the surgeons made me feel like before. The way I was seeing myself was that image of a twisted spine: completely wrong."

Scoliosis SOS helped Louiselle to achieve a better posture, kick the painkillers, and see her own body in a far more positive way - and all without surgery! Back in Cardiff, Louiselle's story was featured in two local newspapers (the South Wales Echo and the Western Mail), and Louiselle herself went on to earn a degree in psychology. She still comes back to see us every so often - she even appeared alongside Erika on BBC Breakfast in 2010 - and we were overjoyed to learn that she is now set to embark upon a career that will see her helping people just like her younger self to live with scoliosis.


If you or a loved one suffer from scoliosis and you're looking for an alternative to spinal fusion surgery, we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic may be able to help. Click here to arrange a consultation.
Can You Get Scoliosis at Any Age?

Since the vast majority of scoliosis sufferers are diagnosed between the ages of 10 and 15, it's easy to assume that this condition doesn't really affect people either side of that age bracket. Certainly, if you've glanced at our Patient Experiences page, you may be under the impression that everyone we treat is either a teenager or an adult who was diagnosed with scoliosis as a teenager but didn't do anything about it at the time.

But the truth is that scoliosis doesn't always develop within that 5-year window. The condition often makes itself known during adolescence because this is when you go through growth spurts, periods of rapid growth during which the spine becomes more prone to curvature. However, some children do develop scoliosis years prior to hitting puberty (this is known as 'juvenile scoliosis' - see Treating Scoliosis in Young Children), and many older people who previously had perfectly healthy spines develop scoliosis later in life due to factors such as osteoporosis and the natural ageing and weakening of the human body over time.

So the answer to the question, 'Can you get scoliosis at any age?' is 'Yes - it's most likely to develop during adolescence, but there is ample evidence that the condition can develop earlier or later in life.'

This brings us to question #2...

What treatments are available for scoliosis sufferers?

Scoliosis can be treated in a number of different ways. Spinal fusion surgery is often utilised as a means of correcting the spinal curve, but this is a risky, invasive procedure that many patients would rather avoid. Surgery may be a particularly undesirable course of action if the patient is very young or very old.

Thankfully, there are alternatives. Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we treat scoliosis sufferers using a combination of non-surgical techniques that we collectively refer to as the ScolioGold method - this is an exercise-based regime that helps patients to overcome the symptoms of their spinal curvature and improves their quality of life immeasurably.

Contact us now to arrange an initial consultation at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, or click one of the links below to see the results we've helped patients of different ages to achieve.
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.
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