Scoliosis can affect the body in a number of different ways and with varying severity.
For example, significant spinal curvature and rotation can sometimes affect lung function, leaving the patient short of breath.
How does spinal rotation affect lung function?
According to the Thoracic Institute at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children's Hospital, "spine rotation causes a windswept thorax, with both restriction of the volume of the convex hemithorax and restriction of the motion of the involved ribs".
In other words, scoliosis and other curvatures of the spine can limit your movement and inhibit the inflation of your lungs.
As a general rule, the more severe the angle of trunk rotation (ATR), the more severely your respiratory system may be affected. This can be particularly noticeable during periods of activity and exercise, which may leave you feeling short of breath.
Can lung function be improved?
Despite this correlation between spinal rotation and lung function, there may be light at the end of the tunnel. Our ScolioGold treatment programme can provide relief for people with scoliosis, even when it is so severe as to affect the patient's lungs.
The Scoliosis SOS Clinic's own research has shown that treatment via the ScolioGold programme can improve a patient’s forced vital capacity (i.e. the amount of air that can be forcibly exhaled from the lungs after taking the deepest breath possible).
However, due to the retrospective nature of the study along with other contributing outside factors, the improvements cannot be fully attributed to decreasing ATR. Nevertheless, it’s an encouraging statistic and shows how ScolioGold can be beneficial for scoliosis patients seeking non-surgical help.
What is ScolioGold?
ScolioGold therapy is a treatment programme that combines the Schroth method with myriad other tried and tested therapeutic techniques from across the globe.
Continuously monitored, modified and developed, the ScolioGold programme is constantly evolving to include the latest advancements in non-surgical treatment.
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It's important to eat healthy whether or not you have scoliosis, but it might be especially important if you do.
Below are some quick tips that are worth bearing in mind if you have a curved spine. For more general information about a balanced, nutritious diet, visit the NHS Eat Well website.
Dietary tips for people with scoliosis:
- Avoid foods that contain lots of chemicals and additives - these can cause excessive inflammation
- Avoid overly salty foods - eating too much salt can cause you to lose calcium through your urine
- Avoid sugary drinks and soda - they inhibit the body's ability to absorb calcium
- Don't drink excessive amounts of alcohol - drinking too much alcohol can lead to reduced bone mass
- Don't drink too much caffeine - excessive caffeine can cause your bones to lose calcium
Here are a few specific items that should ideally be enjoyed in moderation only:
- Soy products
- White flour
- Fast food
- Processed meats
- Caffeinated tea and coffee
Don't worry, though - there are plenty of delicious foods that can be very beneficial for people with scoliosis, including:
- Healthy fats like avocados, coconuts, egg yolk, and lots of nuts!
- High-quality protein from grass-fed animals.
- Herbal teas and fresh vegetable juices.
If you or your child are suffering from scoliosis, please don't hesitate to contact the Scoliosis SOS Clinic. We specialise in exercise-based treatment for scoliosis and other spinal conditions - get in touch now to arrange a consultation.
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Some time ago, we shared a series of stretches for scoliosis sufferers to perform in order to improve strength and balance while also relieving some of the aches and pains that a spinal curvature can cause.
While performing a few exercises at home is no substitute for attending a full ScolioGold treatment course here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we know that these stretches can be very beneficial in their own right, and so we'd like to share a few more suggestions today. As before, please note that performing these stretches does not mean you shouldn't also seek professional treatment for your scoliosis. They are designed to complement, not replace, other treatment methods.
- Find a flat wall that you can stand against. (You can also use the floor if there's no available wall space.)
- Stand with your back to the wall and your feet slightly in front of you.
- Press your head/shoulders back so they're firmly against the wall.
- Push your lower back towards the wall. Try to touch the wall if you can (but don't strain too hard).
- Hold this position while you take three deep breaths in and out.
- Relax and repeat five times.
Watch a Video of This Stretch >
- Stand in a doorway.
- Place one arm on the doorframe so that it's pointing upwards (your elbow should be bent to a 90° angle, and your upper arm should be roughly in line with your shoulder).
- Step forward with one leg (on the same side as your raised arm).
- Keeping your arm pressed against the doorframe and lean forward slightly. You should feel the stretch in your pectoral (chest) area.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds, then relax and repeat two more times.
- Finally, turn around and repeat steps 1-5 with the other side of your body.
Watch a Video of This Stretch >
- Sit in a sturdy chair in front of a desk.
- Place your feet flat on the floor so that your knees are bent to a 90° angle.
- Place your arms under your desk with your palms down (so that the backs of your hands are touching the underside of the desk).
- Gently push upwards with your hands and forearms so that they're pressed against the underside of the desk.
- At the same time, stretch your upper back and allow your pelvis to rock forward slightly.
- Tuck in your chin so that you feel the stretch in your neck as well as your upper back.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds, then repeat twice.
Click here for more scoliosis exercises, or contact Scoliosis SOS today to arrange a consultation with Scoliosis SOS.
Weightlifting has the potential to be quite a damaging pastime for people with scoliosis, but it can also be beneficial in the correct circumstances. If approached carefully, weight-based exercise may help to improve muscle balance and reduce the visibility of one's spinal curvature.
In this blog post, we'll discuss a few things to bear in mind if you have scoliosis and you plan to start lifting weights.
Weightlifting might be painful - don't push yourself too hard!
Would-be weightlifters with scoliosis need to be mindful of their condition at all times. Start with small weights and simple exercises to gauge what's comfortable and what isn't. Work with a comfortable weight for the first few weeks, and then step up your weight a little bit and see how you feel.
Don't do anything that causes you pain - you should avoid certain back-focused exercises like deadlifts, squats or lunges unless you are certain you can handle them. Bending and straightening your back while carrying weight is likely to cause injury. Speak to your GP to discuss what weightlifting exercises are appropriate for your condition; you could also enlist the help of a personal trainer to guide you while you're lifting.
Focus on exercises that stretch your back muscles instead of compressing them.
Here are some weightlifting exercises you may wish to try if you have scoliosis:
- Pull-down cable exercises
- Seated exercises
Stretching and strengthening the muscles on the concave side of your spinal curve can gradually help to improve mobility and reduce pain. That's because the muscles on the convex side usually do most of the work for you back - these are muscles that have been trying to keep your back upright since you developed scoliosis.
The concave muscles, however, are often shorter and atrophied (weaker), so working on these muscles can help to correct your scoliosis curve.
How can Scoliosis SOS help?
If you have scoliosis and you're interested in pursuing weightlifting or another physically-demanding leisure activity, we recommend coming to our clinic for a consultation to establish how severe your condition is. Our consultants will be able to offer advice about the best types of exercise for you and what you can work towards in the future.
Our 4-week ScolioGold treatment courses are ideal if you want to work towards being able to lift weights (or to carry on weightlifting, if this was a hobby you enjoyed before you were diagnosed). Click the button below to get in touch and book your initial consultation.
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It's not uncommon for people with scoliosis to feel depressed from time to time. Scoliosis is a lifelong condition, and it can be hard to come to terms with this, but that doesn't mean that scoliosis patients can't live physically and emotionally fulfilling lives.
In this blog post, we'd like to discuss the connection between scoliosis and depression and what can be done about it.
Why might scoliosis lead to depression?
The link between scoliosis and depression is reasonably well-established; this population-based study, for example, concluded that "patients with scoliosis may have an increased risk of depression" and that "health care professionals should consider designing and planning effective psychological prevention and treatment for scoliosis patients".
There are several possible explanations for this connection. The visible symptoms of scoliosis (e.g. leaning to one side, shoulders sitting at different heights) can result in low self-esteem and negative body image (especially in young people) and this can be compounded by the limited range of treatment options available in some territories. Braces can be uncomfortable and unflattering, and recovering from spinal fusion surgery can be physically and mentally draining and may make the patient feel isolated. Whether or not these factors can cause depression, they may well exacerbate it if it already exists.
Many people with scoliosis will feel depressed about their condition at some point, but the severity and persistence of that depression can vary drastically depending on the patient's age, their recovery prospects, the size of their spinal curvature(s), and any number of other factors.
How can you tell if someone is depressed?
If you know someone with scoliosis, look out for the following symptoms of depression:
- Loss of interest in things they previously enjoyed
- Noticeably lower energy levels
- Unusual, out-of-character and/or reckless behaviour (e.g. drug use, excessive drinking)
- Expression of suicidal thoughts (even if they seem to be joking - talking about suicide in any manner can be a cry for help)
What should I do if I feel depressed?
IMPORTANT: If you are feeling suicidal, please consider calling a suicide crisis line. If you're in the UK, you can call Samaritans now on 116 123. For other countries, see this list of suicide crisis lines.
- Talk to someone. Whether you are reaching out to a friend, a family member, or a professional counsellor, simply talking about your depression can be a large step towards overcoming it. If you are suffering because of your scoliosis, it may be beneficial to speak to other people with this condition, as they will be able to empathise with you in a way that others can't. Look at our list of scoliosis support groups to see if there's a group in your area.
- Visit your doctor. Your GP may be able to help you deal with your depression and can prescribe antidepressants / refer you for additional therapy if necessary.
- Treat your scoliosis. If you think that your depression is linked to your scoliosis, you may wish to look into different treatment methods that could help you to reduce the angle of your curvature and feel better both physically and mentally.
Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we use a combination of non-invasive treatment techniques to help people with scoliosis and other spinal conditions. If you're interested in attending a consultation session to discuss treatment options, please click the button below to get in touch.
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