The history of scoliosis therapy can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece.

More specifically, scoliosis treatment has its roots in the 5th century BC and one man in particular: Greek physician Hippocrates (c. 460 – 370 BC).

Statue of Hippocrates

Who was Hippocrates?

The mid-to-late 5th century BC was a turbulent time for the Hellenic people.

From 431 to 404 BC, the country was entrenched in a titanic war between the Delian League of Athens and the Peloponnesian League of Sparta. Meanwhile, Athens was also suffering from a devastating plague, which wreaked havoc in the city periodically between 430 and 426 BC.

In short, it was a dark time for Greece. But this was also the period that gave us Hippocrates, often referred to as the 'father of medicine'.

Born on the island of Kos around 460 BC, Hippocrates was the son of a physician and is believed to have learned the trade from his father. Among his long list of medical achievements, Hippocrates is heralded as the first person to theorise that diseases and ailments were caused by environmental factors and not the result of superstition or an act of the gods.

He's also the namesake of the 'Hippocratic Oath': the pledge taken by doctors declaring their moral and ethical obligations to their patients as medical practitioners.

Hippocrates and Scoliosis

Separating medicine from religion would probably have been enough on its own to secure Hippocrates's place in history, but his achievements go far beyond that. Notably, he was also a key figure in the history of spinal treatment, and he is believed to have been the first physician to focus on the anatomy and pathology of the human spine.

Through his revolutionary study of the spinal structure and vertebrae, Hippocrates's work led to the pioneering identification of many spine-related diseases – including scoliosis.

Hippocrates is commonly credited as the person who coined the term 'scoliosis' and the first to try treating this condition.

Scoliosis

Hippocratic Scoliosis Treatment

From his unprecedented study of orthopaedics, Hippocrates created three pieces of equipment to treat spinal ailments: namely the Hippocratic ladder, the Hippocratic board, and the Hippocratic bench.

Hippocratic Ladder

Intended to reduce spinal curvatures, the Hippocratic ladder treatment required the patient to be elevated and tied to the ladder upright or head down (depending on the where the curvature lay). The patient would then be shaken on the ladder, with the gravitational pull theoretically straightening the spine.

Hippocratic Board

Similar to the ladder, treatment via the Hippocratic board involved the patient being tied to the board; however, this time, the patient was required to be prone, lying face down and flat. The physician would then apply pressure to the affected area of the spine using a hand, foot, or even the entire weight of the body.

Hippocratic Bench

Also known as the Hippocratic scamnum, the bench technique saw the patient lie face down on a bench similar to the board technique above. A smaller wooden board was then inserted into a pre-made hole in the wall, leaving the plank protruding out above the patient's back. An assistant would then apply pressure on the end of the plank while the physician manoeuvred the board along the body.

Like many ancient treatments, these techniques naturally seem archaic, even barbaric by today's standards. Nevertheless, these apparatuses – based on the principles of axial traction and three-point correction – were hugely innovative at the time, and they had a profound influence on the direction of spinal treatment to follow.

Luckily, medical science has come a long way since the days of Hippocrates, and there are now a variety of comfortable and safe non-surgical scoliosis treatments available. At Scoliosis SOS, our team of friendly, skilled therapists offer patients specialised scoliosis treatment that's specifically designed to enhance your quality of life.

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Scoliosis and Menopause

Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, although it can come earlier or later. Symptoms of the menopause can be quite unpleasant at times; many women experience hot flushes, night sweats and depression (to name a few).

The arrival of the menopause also tends to trigger a loss of bone density. This is known as osteoporosis, and unfortunately, it can increase your risk of developing a curvature of the spine - especially if you already had bad postural habits.

Retaining your bone strength

There are a few ways to slow down the rate at which your bones weaken once you've reached menopause. The NHS recommend:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet
  • Increasing your vitamin D levels (i.e. spending more time in the sun)
  • Stopping smoking
  • Reducing your alcohol intake
  • Taking calcium / vitamin D supplements

Treating your scoliosis

Even if you do all the things listed above, you may still find that your spine is developing a curve. The good news is that there are plenty of different treatment options that can help you to improve the look and feel of your back.

Read our Scoliosis Treatment in Adults blog to see some of the different treatment options that are available at this stage of life. Most often, you will be offered one or a combination of the following treatments:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Pain Management
  • Spinal Surgery

What do we have to offer?

Here at the Scoliosis SOS clinic, we have treated lots of women who were suffering from adult degenerative scoliosis. Our exercise-based ScolioGold therapy programme is tailored to each patient's scoliosis curvature so that we can help them to achieve their specific treatment goals.

Our physical therapy courses may be able to:

  • Relieve pain in your back
  • Boost your mobility / flexibility
  • Reduce the visibility of your curvature

If you have any questions about scoliosis treatment, please feel free to get in touch with our specialist team, who will be able to advise you on the best course of action.

Enquire About ScolioGold Treatment Today >

Scoliosis heart problems

As we've discussed on this blog previously, scoliosis is generally not considered a life-threatening condition. A curved spine can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort (among other complications), but cases where the patient's very life is at risk are vanishingly few and far between.

Leaving out the risk of suicide - see Scoliosis and Depression - the only exceptions occur when scoliosis is allowed to progress to the point where the body is so distorted that vital organs can no longer function properly.

Can scoliosis affect your heart?

In the vast majority of cases, no. If your condition is closely monitored and treated in a timely manner, you should never come anywhere near the point where your scoliosis begins to cause heart problems.

Theoretically, however, scoliosis can affect the heart if the curvature goes untreated and progresses unabated over an extended period of time. A severely curved spine can distort the rib cage, and a severely distorted rib cage can leave the heart and lungs with too little room to beat / inflate.

Thus, heart failure is a possible outcome of severe progressive scoliosis - but again, it's important to bear in mind that is an extremely rare occurrence.

Treat your scoliosis early!

The symptoms and complications associated with scoliosis vary enormously from one patient to the next - pain isn't always proportional to the angle of one's curve - but nevertheless, it's always better to catch the condition early and seek treatment right away than to let it progress.

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we provide non-surgical scoliosis therapy for patients of all ages and curves of all sizes. Here's an example of a patient who came to us for early (almost pre-emptive) treatment after her older brother ended up requiring spinal fusion surgery:

Call Scoliosis SOS on 0207 488 4428 or use the links below to find out more about our ScolioGold treatment courses.

Upcoming Course Dates >   Book an Initial Consultation >

Gardening with Scoliosis

National Gardening Week has been taking place in the UK this week (29 April - 5 May 2019). The theme for 2019 is Edible Britain, and so gardeners all over the country have been sharing their love of home-grown produce on social media over the last few days.

Find out more on the RHS website >

 

Gardening with scoliosis

Gardening can be quite a physically demanding activity, and over the years, we at Scoliosis SOS have treated a number of keen gardeners who were having difficulties due to their scoliosis. Back pain and reduced flexibility are no help whatsoever when you're digging, planting, pruning and weeding!

Here are just some of the gardening enthusiasts our ScolioGold treatment programme has helped (click the links to view news articles in full):

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Are scoliosis and arthritis connected?

Is there a link between arthritis and scoliosis?

Before we answer that question, let's first make sure we understand what those two conditions are:

  • Scoliosis is a condition where the spine curves or twists sideways to create a 'C' or 'S' shape. Common symptoms include back pain and reduced flexibility, but every case is different.

  • Arthritis is a condition characterised by inflammation and pain in one's joints. The most commonly-affected joints are the hands, knees, hips and spine.

So how are these two conditions linked, if at all? Research suggests that if a patient suffers from degenerative arthritis in the spine (a type of arthritis that is somewhat common in older patients), a scoliosis curve will often develop too. We refer to this kind of scoliosis as degenerative scoliosis.

Some of the symptoms that an older patient might experience if they suffer from degenerative scoliosis are:

  • Pain in the legs caused by the pinching of nerves
  • Lower back pain

That being said, symptoms may be quite severe in one degenerative scoliosis patient and very mild in the next - again, every case of scoliosis is different!

Treatment Options

For elderly patients who suffer from the above-mentioned symptoms, there are some treatments that can help to relieve the pain and improve mobility in the affected area of the body. Like most back pain, improving the patient's strength and range of motion can have huge benefits, not only strengthening the back but making it more flexible and reducing pain.

Exercise-Based Therapy

If you're suffering from degenerative scoliosis, an exercise-based programme like our own ScolioGold method may be extremely beneficial for you.

When you come to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, our specialist scoliosis therapists will work with you to compose an exercise routine that will gradually build your strength, improve your mobility and reduce your pain. Once you have learnt the different exercises and stretches, you will be much better equipped to manage your condition independently.

Surgery

If your degenerative scoliosis becomes incredibly severe, your doctor might recommend that you have surgery to help correct the problem. Surgery might be suggested if:

  • You're experiencing intense pain
  • Your nerves are at risk

Degenerative scoliosis does not commonly become severe enough to necessitate surgery, but it's not unheard of.

If you'd like to find out more about the Scoliosis SOS Clinic and how we can help with your condition, please contact us today to arrange a consultation.