Juvenile Idiopathic Scoliosis

Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type of spinal abnormality, referring to an excessive sideways curvature of the spine that occurs for no known reason. Idiopathic scoliosis is usually diagnosed during adolescence, but it can also be found in younger children; when diagnosed between the ages of 4 and 10, it is known as juvenile idiopathic scoliosis. 

This form of scoliosis accounts for around 10-15% of all idiopathic scoliosis in children, and unlike adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, it affects more boys than girls.

How is juvenile idiopathic scoliosis diagnosed? 

Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis can be recognised by the following symptoms:

  • Misaligned shoulder blades
  • Clothes that hang unevenly
  • One leg shorter than the other 
  • Uneven hips
  • Back pain
  • Respiratory/cardiovascular issues

If your child is affected by any of the above, the first thing to do is book an appointment with your GP. If your GP believes your child may have juvenile idiopathic scoliosis, they will then pass you onto a specialist who will be able to diagnose the extent of the curvature. They will also be able to recommend a treatment plan to help reduce the curvature of the spine and minimise any pain or discomfort.

How can juvenile idiopathic scoliosis be treated?

Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis tends to get progressively worse (i.e. the angle of the curve increases) if not treated. Fortunately, there are many ways in which juvenile idiopathic scoliosis can be treated, usually starting with a brace to stop the progression of the curvature.

Observation is then used to determine whether the curvature continues to worsen as the child grows or if their condition becomes stable. If the curvature continues to progress, your child may need to undergo further treatment for their juvenile idiopathic scoliosis:

  • Casting - Serial casting is sometimes used before bracing in an attempt to delay the need for bracing. Casting is harder to remove than bracing, so some parents may find this easier if their child is reluctant to co-operate.
  • Surgery - In severe cases of juvenile scoliosis, surgical procedures such as spinal fusion or the insertion of magnetic growing rods may be required to halt the progression of the curvature. However, bracing may still be required while your child is still growing. 
  • Physiotherapy - Exercises and stretches are often more preferable for a parent who does not want to put their child through the pain of surgery. The ScolioGold treatment courses we deliver here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic use a range of different non-surgical methods to reduce the curvature of the patient's scoliosis. Click here to view patient results.

If you'd like to find out more about the Scoliosis SOS Clinic and our non-surgical scoliosis treatment courses, please contact us today.

Athletes With Scoliosis

Many of our patients come to the Scoliosis SOS Clinic with the fear that their condition will prevent them from taking part in their favourite activities. However, while scoliosis may change the way you approach certain activities, it shouldn't stop you from doing the things that you enjoy.

If you're a sports-loving scoliosis sufferer, you'll be pleased to know that there are plenty of athletes with scoliosis, and they certainly haven't let the condition hold them back. Here are just a couple of well-known athletes who will inspire you to keep loving your sport even after a scoliosis diagnosis!

Usain Bolt

Sport: Sprinting

The fastest man on earth. You might be surprised to see Usain Bolt's name on this list, but the Olympic medal-winning world record holder does indeed have a curved spine. Bolt claims that, by training hard and keeping his core and back strong, he was able to overcome the problems scoliosis caused early on in his career. Despite being more prone to injuries, Bolt has learned how to manage his condition and achieve unparalleled success in his field.

Natalie Coughlin

Sport: Swimming

The winner of no fewer than 6 Olympic medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Coughlin also attributes the management of her condition to working hard at her sport. She has spoken about how her scoliosis has sometimes caused her back muscles to lock up, but by keeping her muscles healthy, Coughlin ensures that her 27-degree spinal curve doesn't hold her back from being a very successful competitive swimmer.

Non-surgical scoliosis treatment

We've treated lots of athletes here at Scoliosis SOS - in fact, we did a whole blog post about our sporty success stories! We understand what it means to have a love of sport, and this is why we strive to help patients manage and improve their condition. Our ScolioGold therapy programme has been very effective at tackling the symptoms of scoliosis, which means that patients are generally free to continue pursuing the sports they love. 

Of course, there are some sports that aren't recommended for those suffering with scoliosis, although exceptions can and have been made for those with a passion for said sports. That being said, here is a quick list of the sports that aren't typically recommended for scoliosis patients:

  • Weight lifting 
  • Impact sports (e.g. American football, rugby, hockey)
  • Hard landing sports (e.g. cheerleading, gymnastics)
  • One-sided sports (e.g. skiing, golf)

To find out more about which sports should typically be avoided and why, read our blog post Scoliosis: Sports to Avoid.

If you have any questions about how our non-surgical treatment courses can help with your scoliosis, we are more than happy to help - please contact us today.

Rolfing

From surgery to stretches, there are a number of ways to treat scoliosis, some of which are more effective than others. One technique that is sometimes used to treat scoliosis is Rolfing (also known as Structural Integration); today, we'd like to take a closer look at this approach.

What is Rolfing?

Rolfing is a form of physical manipulation that has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including scoliosis and other curvatures of the spine.

Rather than directly treating the spine itself, Rolfing practitioners instead focus on the tissues that surround the spine. Rolfers massage and manipulate the body's soft tissues, and this supposedly helps to improve the alignment of the person's spine.

Is Rolfing effective?

In theory, Rolfing treats scoliosis by improving the muscular structure of the body. 'Rolfers' purport to de-rotate the connective tissues that have shortened and tightened around your muscles, thus balancing out the muscles either side of your spine and pulling everything back into place.

In practice, however, there is little to no evidence that Rolfing is an effective method for the treatment of scoliosis. The practice of Rolfing is based on founder Ida Rolf's ideas about energy fields and the Earth's gravitational pull, but there is no proof that these things have any bearing on the curvature of one's spine. Muscular imbalance is a genuine issue that must be considered when treating scoliosis, but there is no reason to believe that Rolfing is the best way to address this or any other aspect of the condition.

Alternatives to Rolfing

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we treat our patients using a combination of scientifically proven exercise-based techniques such as the FITS method, SEAS method and PNF technique. Our ScolioGold treatment programme blends a number of different approaches in order to address every part of each patient's condition. This includes strengthening the back muscles and reversing the muscular imbalance that a curved spine can cause.

Contact Scolios SOS today to book an initial consultation or find out more about our treatment method.

Can Scoliosis Be Reversed

If you've been diagnosed with scoliosis, it's important to seek treatment as soon as possible because the condition very often progresses (gets worse) as time goes by. Left untreated, the curve in your spine will become more and more pronounced, potentially taking a greater and greater toll on your daily life as it does so. 

Wearing a scoliosis brace can arrest the progression of scoliosis while your body is still growing, but is it possible to actually reverse the progression of your scoliosis? Is it possible to make the curve shrink over time instead of growing larger?

Happily, the answer is yes - given the right type of treatment, scoliosis can be reversed. Surgery is one option; if you choose to undergo spinal fusion surgery, your surgeon will straighten your spine using a series of rods before performing a bone graft to hold the spine in place. Click here to read more about the spinal fusion procedure and what to expect if you go in for surgery.

Reversing scoliosis with the ScolioGold method

If you don't wish to undergo spinal fusion surgery, you'll be pleased to learn that there other ways to reverse scoliosis effectively. Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we treat scoliosis patients using our own carefully-chosen combination of techniques called the ScolioGold method. This programme includes the following non-surgical treatments:

Using these and other methods, our highly-trained physiotherapists work with scoliosis patients to relieve pain, increase flexibility, improve muscle balance, and boost overall quality of life while reversing the progression of scoliosis.

If you'd like to see some examples of the results our ScolioGold courses can deliver, please click here to visit our Before & After gallery.

Contact Scoliosis SOS today to arrange a consultation for yourself or a loved one. Consultations can be conducted via Skype or over the phone if you cannot attend an appointment at our clinic in London.

Curved spine

Scoliosis (a sideways curvature of the spine) can affect the body in all sorts of different ways. Most obviously, it affects the way you look: scoliosis patients often lean visibly to one side, and they may also display an unevenness of the shoulders, legs, hips and/or rib cage.

But the visible effects of scoliosis are truly just the tip of the iceberg. A casual observer might only see the curved back, but someone who lives with scoliosis will typically experience a variety of other symptoms ranging from back pain and stiffness to fatigue, digestive problems, and even breathing difficulties.

And then there's the effect that severe scoliosis can have on one's nervous system. Remember, your spine isn't just there to hold you upright - it also houses your spinal cord, the bundle of nerves that allows your brain to communicate with the rest of your body. If the spine is greatly distorted because of scoliosis or a similar condition, this can disrupt nervous system activity in some pretty problematic ways.

The effects of severe scoliosis on the nervous system

First of all, it's important to note that mild to moderate cases of scoliosis generally don't affect the nervous system in any noticeable way. Unless you have a very pronounced spinal curvature, it is quite unlikely that you will experience any of the symptoms we're about to discuss.

However, as the curvature of your spine progresses further and further beyond what is considered normal, there's a chance that the increasing distortion of your body may end up putting pressure on nearby nerves. When this occurs, parts of your body may begin to feel numb, weak and/or painful - this happens because the pressure is interfering with the signals that travel through your nervous system. This sometimes manifests as a mildly irritating tingle in one's lower extremities, but in the worst cases, the pressure on the nerves can actually affect the patient's ability to walk normally.

Depending on the location of the irritated/pinched nerve(s), scoliosis patients may also find that they are having trouble controlling their bladder and bowel functions. Not being aware of when you need to go to the toilet is another sign that your spinal curvature may be disrupting your nervous system.

How can I avoid these symptoms?

As mentioned above, these things generally won't happen to the average scoliosis sufferer unless their curve is allowed to progress past a certain point. For this reason, the best way to minimise the risk of scoliosis affecting your nervous system is to treat your scoliosis - halt its progression and reduce your Cobb angle to a point at which the condition is unlikely to interfere with your daily life too drastically.

This can be achieved via spinal fusion surgery, but this procedure usually won't be offered to a scoliosis patient until their curve has already progressed beyond a certain point. Fortunately, non-surgical treatment methods such as ScolioGold therapy can also be very effective when it comes to reversing the progression of scoliosis and combating the various symptoms it causes.

If you or a loved one suffer from scoliosis and you would like to attend a treatment course at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, please contact us now to arrange an initial consultation.