How to care for your Scoliosis Brace

Modern Scoliosis braces are designed to be durable and to last for a long time – indeed, if you’re an adult being fitted for a brace, we’d like to think it should last you a lifetime. However, caring for your brace is important, and poor brace care is one of the reasons that they sometimes need to be replaced.

It goes without saying that braces made for children & adolescents do tend to take more wear and tear and often this is OK since most children will go through several braces during treatment – however, wherever possible it’s best to prolong the life of a brace as much as possible, not least to avoid the cost of replacing a brace which was otherwise effective! Here are some tips for good brace care.

 

Keep the Brace Clean

The first and most important step in caring for a scoliosis brace is to keep it clean. You should clean the brace at least once a week, but more often if it gets sweaty or dirty. Use a mild soap and warm water to clean the brace, making sure to rinse it thoroughly to remove any soap residue. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as these can damage the brace. Once you’ve cleaned the brace, let it air dry completely before wearing it again.

 

Store the Brace Properly

When you’re not wearing your scoliosis brace, it’s important to store it properly to prevent damage. Keep the brace in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources as much as possible. Avoid storing the brace in a damp or humid area, as this can cause it to mould or mildew. You may also want to consider using a brace hanger or stand to keep it upright and prevent it from becoming misshapen.

 

Avoid Extremes Of Temperature

Modern day plastic braces are designed to be light, stiff, not retain heat and be strong. This in turn imposes a challenge in plastic construction, in that the brace may not like being subjected to sudden changes in temperature in going from hot to cold, where the pastic may be weakened. So it would be wise to avoid sitting directly in front of a hot fire and then going out and rolling around in the snow.

 

Wear the brace correctly

When putting your brace on, make sure you adjust any straps or fittings as directed by your specialist – braces are designed to work properly when set up correctly and are strongest when worn properly. Improperly wearing a brace especially when it is too loose, can reduce its effectiveness and possibly lead to additional wear and tear over time.

 

Avoid Overexertion

While a scoliosis brace can help support your spine and patients are encouraged to do as many activities as they can whilst wearing it, it’s important to avoid overexertion when wearing it. Activities that involve bending, twisting, or lifting heavy objects can put extra strain on the brace and cause it to wear out faster. If you’re unsure about whether a certain activity is safe to do while wearing your brace, ask your specialist.

 

Check for Wear and Tear

Regularly inspect your scoliosis brace for signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, tears, or fraying. If you notice any damage, stop wearing the brace immediately and consult your specialist. Wearing a damaged brace can be dangerous and may not provide the support your spine needs. Most damage to braces is easy enough to repair – but if left unattended the brace may need to be replaced.

 

Wear a Bodysock Or Vest Underneath the Brace

Wearing a bodysock, seamless vest or shirt under your brace can help prevent skin irritation, but it also helps to stop your brace from getting sweaty. The garment should be seamless, made from a soft, breathable material, such as cotton or bamboo, and should fit snugly but not be too tight. Avoid wearing synthetic fabrics or clothing with rough seams, as these can rub against the skin and cause irritation.

 

Have any problems fixed

If any part of your brace is uncomfortable or doesn’t seem to be sitting quite right, get in touch and have it checked out right away. This is especially true if your brace has just been adjusted – even a small nagging issue will make you hesitant to wear the brace and might end up reducing your wear time and treatment effectiveness.

 

The advantages of Scoliosis Bracing

Scoliosis is a condition characterised by an abnormal curvature of the spine, which can cause pain, discomfort, and even breathing difficulties. Scoliosis bracing is a non-surgical treatment option that involves wearing a brace to stabilise and/or correct the curvature of the spine. While bracing may not be a cure for scoliosis, it has many advantages that make it an effective treatment option. Research shows that the use of modern, custom designed Scoliosis braces can prevent the need for surgery in most cases[1].

While Scoliosis bracing is a fantastic approach to treatment, it does come with some downsides – bracing takes time and commitment, and can be an adjustment especially for a young person. Similarly, while bracing is a cost-effective treatment over a period of time, Scoliosis braces can be expensive and represent a significant up-front cost for some families. The disadvantages however usually outweighed by the benefits!

 

Bracing Slows the Progression of Scoliosis

The primary advantage of scoliosis bracing is that it can slow down the progression of scoliosis in most instances.[2] When used correctly (and when a modern brace is used) it’s often possible to not only stop the progress of Scoliosis but also to reverse the condition – often by a considerable amount.[3]

Bracing is also more effective than alternative non-surgical approaches, such as exercise based therapy.[4] In children and adolescents with moderate to severe curves, bracing can reduce the likelihood of the curve getting worse and the need for surgery. The brace helps to apply pressure on the spine, which helps to straighten the curvature and prevent it from progressing further.

 

Bracing is a Non-Invasive Treatment

Another advantage of scoliosis bracing is that it is a non-invasive treatment option. Unlike surgery, which involves cutting into the body and a long recovery time, bracing involves wearing a brace for a set period. The brace is designed to be worn under clothing and is not visible, so it does not need to impact daily life to a considerable extent. This makes bracing an excellent option for those who want to avoid surgery or cannot undergo surgery due to medical reasons.

 

Bracing Helps Improve Body Image

Scoliosis can cause a visible deformity in the spine, which can impact self-esteem and body image. Bracing can help improve body image by correcting the curvature of the spine, which can make the deformity less noticeable. For children and adolescents who may be self-conscious about their appearance, bracing can help boost confidence and self-esteem in the long term. Similarly, bracing in Adults who suffer pain or postural issues due to Scoliosis can improve movement and therefore independence and confidence.

 

It Provides Pain Relief

Scoliosis can cause back pain and discomfort, which can impact daily activities. Bracing can help to relieve pain and discomfort by applying pressure on the spine, which can reduce the strain on the back muscles. Bracing is often best combined with a Scoliosis specific exercise plan for this purpose – in combination, the two can lead to improved mobility and a better quality of life.

 

It’s a Customisable Treatment

Each scoliosis case is unique, and as such, each brace must be tailored to the individual. Early braces lacked the ability to be highly customised, but thanks to modern CAD/CAM techniques, current braces like Scolibrace can be fully customised to fit the unique curvature of the spine, ensuring that the brace is effective in treating scoliosis. This customisable treatment approach means that bracing can be an effective treatment option for a wide range of scoliosis cases.

 

Is Scoliosis bracing right for me?

Scoliosis bracing is a flexible and dynamic approach to treating scoliosis which is appropriate in many cases – both older and younger people can and do utilise Scoliosis braces to treat Scoliosis and its effects. Similarly, a range of Scoliosis types can be supported with modern braces making it an excellent option for a huge variety of people.

If you would like to learn more about Scoliosis and Scoliosis bracing, why not sign up for our free information series here.

 

 

 

[1]Effects of Bracing in Adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis’   [Results of the BrAIST Clinical Trial]
Stuart L. Weinstein, Lori A. Dolan, James G. Wright, and Matthew B. Dobbs, N Engl J Med 2013; 369:1512-1521 October 17, 2013DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1307337

 

[2]Effects of Bracing in Adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis’   [Results of the BrAIST Clinical Trial]
Stuart L. Weinstein, Lori A. Dolan, James G. Wright, and Matthew B. Dobbs, N Engl J Med 2013; 369:1512-1521 October 17, 2013DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1307337

 

[3] Brace treatment in juvenile idiopathic scoliosis: a prospective study in accordance with the SRS criteria for bracing studies – SOSORT award 2013 winner
Angelo G Aulisa, Vincenzo Guzzanti, Emanuele Marzetti,Marco Giordano, Francesco Falciglia and Lorenzo Aulisa, Scoliosis 2014 9:3 DOI: 10.1186/1748-7161-9-3

[4] Yu Zheng, MD PhD et al. Whether orthotic management and exercise are equally effective to the patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in Mainland China? – A randomized controlled trial study SPINE: An International Journal for the study of the spine [Publish Ahead of Print]

 

How to choose clothes with your Scoliosis Brace

Scoliosis is a condition that affects the spine, causing it to twist and curve sideways. It is often treated with a brace, which is worn around the torso to support the spine and prevent the curvature from worsening.

 

Scoliosis Braces

Modern Scoliosis Braces, such as the ScoliBrace which we offer at the UK Scoliosis Clinic are nothing like braces from the past – they are lightweight, low profile and even come in a wide variety of colours. Many people actually choose to wear their scoliosis brace as a sort of accessory – and with so many design patterns available, why not! Many people, however do prefer to keep their brace covered for all sorts of reasons. Moving about in a Scoliosis brace isn’t a huge issue, but choosing the right clothes can help with making the process as comfortable as possible – with a few tips and tricks, it is possible to find clothes that are both stylish and practical for all sorts of situations.

 

Tips and tricks!

Without further ado, here are the tips and tricks you need!

Look for clothes with stretchy or adjustable waistbands.

One of the most important things to consider when choosing clothes with a scoliosis brace is the waistband. The brace will add bulk to your midsection – and although it’s a small amount if you want to be able to wear clothes both with the brace on and off it is essential to choose clothes with waistbands that are stretchy or adjustable. Trousers with elastic waistbands or drawstring waists are obviously comfortable, but slightly stretchy options, like leggings, also work fine.

 

Avoid clothes with tight-fitting or restrictive waistbands.

On the flip side, it is best to avoid clothes with tight-fitting or restrictive waistbands, as they can be uncomfortable and even painful when worn with a scoliosis brace. This includes high-waisted pants, tight skirts, and tight-fitting shorts. Instead, opt for looser-fitting clothes that will allow for some movement and flexibility.

 

Choose clothes that are easy to put on and take off.

Putting on and taking off clothes can be a challenge when you are wearing a scoliosis brace – putting the brace on is easy (if you’re using a ScoliBrace!) but once you have the brace on it’s not possible to move the spine a great deal. Therefore, it’s best to choose clothes that are easy to put on and take off. This includes clothes with wide necklines, open fronts, and loose-fitting sleeves. Avoid clothes with tight or restrictive necklines, as these can be difficult to get over your head.

 

Look for clothes with extra room in the back.

Since the scoliosis brace will add bulk to your back, it is essential to look for clothes with extra room in the back. This includes jackets, blouses, and dresses with a loose or flowing back. Avoid clothes with tight or fitted backs, as they can be uncomfortable and restrict movement. With oversized clothing being in fashion, oversized fleeces, sweatshirts or hoodies worn with baggy joggers or leggings will keep adolescent girls feeling comfortable and looking on trend.

 

Choose clothes made from soft and breathable fabrics.

When choosing clothes to wear with a scoliosis brace, it is important to choose clothes made from soft and breathable fabrics. This includes cotton, linen, and bamboo fabrics, which are gentle on the skin and allow for air circulation. Avoid clothes made from synthetic fabrics, as they can be uncomfortable and trap sweat.

 

Consider layering your clothes.

Layering your clothes can be a great way to add warmth and style while wearing a scoliosis brace. Start with a soft, breathable base layer, such as a cotton tank top or t-shirt. Then, add a loose-fitting blouse or sweater on top. This will allow you to adjust your layers depending on the temperature and will provide some coverage for your brace.

 

Try on clothes with your brace.

Before buying any clothes, it is essential to try them on with your scoliosis brace. This will allow you to see how the clothes fit and feel with the brace, and you can make any necessary adjustments. If possible, try on clothes in a dressing room that has a full-length mirror, so you can see how the clothes look from all angles.

 

 

Disadvantages of Scoliosis-Specific Exercise

While there are several non-surgical treatment options available for scoliosis, scoliosis-specific exercise is a popular method that, like bracing, is gaining popularity. However, like any treatment approach scoliosis specific exercise also has its disadvantages that need to be considered.

 

Scoliosis Specific Exercise

Scoliosis-specific exercise is a highly specialised area of physiotherapy-based approaches to treating musculoskeletal conditions – unlike normal forms of physiotherapy, it does not focus on symmetrical, therapeutic movements, but rather attempts to use a person’s own body and strength to oppose a Scoliotic curve. Scoliosis-specific exercise – specifically the Schroth method, is the oldest approach to scoliosis treatment and has now been practised for over a hundred years. There’s no question that exercise-based approaches can indeed stop the development of Scoliosis and reduce it in some cases[1] – so it’s well worth considering. However, there are some disadvantages:

 

Limited impact on larger curves

One of the biggest disadvantages of scoliosis-specific exercise is the lack of scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness in larger curves. Most studies conclude that bracing is a better approach for larger curves and is a faster way to correct scoliosis overall. Some studies do show that exercise approaches may be effective in slowing the growth of a curve[2], but what’s needed (especially in a more significant case) is correction – not just slowing.  That being said, it does seem that combining an exercise-based approach with bracing is more effective than bracing alone.[3]

 

Requires commitment and consistency

Like any exercise program, Scoliosis specific exercise requires commitment and consistency. The exercises must be performed regularly to see any benefits, and this can be challenging for some patients – especially young children. Some patients may find it difficult to maintain the same level of motivation over a prolonged period. This can be especially challenging for people who are already struggling with chronic pain, making it harder for them to keep up with the exercises. Sadly without consistency, exercise-based approaches will not work.

 

Requires supervision

Scoliosis-specific exercise programs require supervision to be truly effective – like bracing, a treatment plan needs constant monitoring and adjustment to have the best possible impact. This can be a disadvantage for people who live in remote areas or do not have easy access to a scoliosis specialist. Patients who attempt to perform exercises without proper guidance may inadvertently worsen their condition. This is why it is crucial to seek professional advice and maintain it while using exercise-based approaches to treatment.

 

Can lead to muscle imbalances

Scoliosis-specific exercise focuses on strengthening specific muscles to correct the curvature of the spine. However, this can lead to muscle imbalances, where some muscles become overdeveloped while others remain underdeveloped. Muscle imbalances can cause pain and discomfort, and in severe cases, can lead to other medical conditions such as joint problems. When a program is properly monitored by a professional this shouldn’t be a problem – but it’s a risk for anyone who does not have the proper guidance.

 

Does not address underlying issues

While exercise-based approaches may be effective in reducing the curvature of the spine and alleviating pain in some cases, it does not address the underlying issues that led to scoliosis. In some cases, scoliosis may be caused by underlying medical conditions such as neuromuscular disorders or genetic factors, but the typical idiopathic scoliosis seen in teenagers and young people cannot be “cured” with exercise. To be fair, it cannot be “cured” with bracing either – the only way to truly manage the condition is to maintain the spine in as straight an alignment as possible until skeletal maturity is reached. Many professionals view that this is easier to do with bracing than exercise, because of the cost and effort involved in 10-15 years of exercise monitoring.

 

Is Scoliosis specific exercise right for me?

Scoliosis-specific exercise can be a valuable part of an overall treatment plan and may be the right option for some smaller curves, or stable curves in adults. This being said, it has its disadvantages, and patients should carefully consider these before deciding on this treatment option alone.

 

 

[1]SEAS (Scientific Exercises Approach to Scoliosis): a modern and effective evidence based approach to physiotherapic specific scoliosis exercises
Romano M, Negrini Am Parzini S, Tavernaro M, Zaina F, Donzelli S and Negrini S 2015, Scoliosis 2015 10:3, DOI: 10.1186/s13013-014-0027-2

 

[2] ‘Scoliosis-Specific exercises can reduce the progression of severe curves in adult idiopathic scoliosis: a long-term cohort study’
Negrini A, Donzelli S, Negrini M, Negrini S, Romano M, and Zaina F 2015,, Scoliosis Jul 11 10:20

 

[3]The effectiveness of combined bracing and exercise in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis based on SRS and SOSORT criteira: a prospective study
Negrini S, Donzelli S, Lusini M, Minnella S and Zaina F 2014, BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2014; 15: 263, Published online 2014 Aug 6. doi:  10.1186/1471-2474-15-263

 

Scoliosis: Should I seek treatment abroad in the UK?

When it comes to Scoliosis treatment, the simple fact is where you live has a big impact on the kind of treatment available to you and how you can best access it. The best place to seek treatment also depends on the kind of treatment you’re looking for, of course. Sometimes this might mean travelling abroad to a clinic is the best option for you. The option to see a specialist who has experience working with a specific co-existing condition might also be a factor to consider, even where others are available closer to home.

At the UK Scoliosis Clinic were thrilled to welcome patients from all around the world who are seeking non-surgical treatment approaches based around bracing. While many of our Clients are UK based, we can and do see many people from all around the world each year – of course, since the COVID 19 pandemic many people have been asking whether it’s a good idea to seek treatment with us in the UK, so this week we look at the pros and cons of travelling to the UK Scoliosis Clinic.

 

COVID

Firstly, let’s address the elephant in the room – COVID-19 – while largely under control in the UK, the disease is still prevalent – does this mean you shouldn’t travel? Of course, this is a decision for each of us to make individually, however, at this point in time, the vast majority of covid restrictions in the UK have been rescinded with items such as mask-wearing now optional based on your personal preferences. Covid levels in the UK remain broadly similar to most developed countries. At the UK Scoliosis Clinic, we’ve kept up with common sense measures such as enhanced cleaning and improved ventilation to help keep the spread of covid to a minimum.

 

The Economy and Pricing

In case you’re not a follower of global finance (we can forgive you for that) we’ll let you know that the UK Economy isn’t exactly doing fantastically at the moment… while this isn’t great for those of us living here it can be a significant advantage for those looking to travel for treatment. The weakness of the UK Pound means that our services, including consultations and braces, are now more affordable than ever before once you take the exchange rate into account.

We’re easy to get to

While travelling internationally often seems like a daunting prospect, the UK Scoliosis Clinic is very easy to get to – and much less complicated than many clinics based in London. Our Chelmsford Clinic is positioned close to both London Stansted (STN) and London Southend (SND) airports the trip from the airport is an easy one. Getting from the airport to the clinic is straightforward, and we have Bus, Cab or Train stops literally within 10 minutes’ walk of our door.

If you’re coming to the UK on a long-haul flight, you may want to stay in Chelmsford overnight, but many of our European-based patients can and do fly in, attend the clinic and return home at the end of the day. Direct flights to both airports are available from most major European destinations, from a wide variety of budget and national carriers – Flights at less busy times can be very inexpensive indeed.

If you’re travelling from Europe It’s also easy to reach our clinic via the Eurostar train service. The Eurostar will set you down at Kings Cross St. Pancras international station in London, from where you can easily connect to Chelmsford station, which is just a few minute’s walk from the clinic

We understand that international patients can often be subject to delays in arriving at the clinic due to situations beyond their control, thus we make all possible efforts to accommodate this – however if you are intending to conduct part of your journey by public transport, please leave at least an extra hour in your planning in case of delays – UK Public transport rarely runs on time!

 

It’s easy to enter the UK

Although it’s true that European citizens do now face slightly more paperwork when travelling to the UK than before Brexit, the process of acquiring the relevant visa for travel (a tourist visa is perfectly acceptable for visiting the UK Scoliosis Clinic) is straightforward for citizens of the vast majority of countries.

 

We’re Flexible!

As a Clinic, we want to provide fantastic treatment options to everyone, regardless of where they happen to live. We take a flexible approach to provide options for those who need to travel further to the clinic and we’ll go out of our way to make arrangements that work for you whenever possible. This starts right from the consultation stage with our new web-based consultation option – which is ideal for those living abroad.

 

Scoliosis Treatment in the UK

If you’re thinking about Scoliosis treatment in the UK, a web-based consultation is an excellent way to start – this will give us an opportunity to speak to you about what we might be able to offer in your specific case, as well as what the cost of treatment would be, before you leave your own home. Follow up and review appointments may also be able to be conducted online when required and we can work with your local x-ray imaging facility if necessary. In fact, if you have been thinking about treatment in the UK, there may never have been a better time!

 

Should I remove my brace before a progress X-ray?

X-rays are the gold standard when it comes to diagnosing scoliosis and tracking the progress of treatment for the condition. Scoliosis is notoriously difficult to gauge from a visual inspection alone, meaning that regular X-rays are critical to ensuring that treatment is progressing as expected and that any adjustments to a patient’s brace are made at the correct time. In the usual course of treatment, Scoliosis professionals take X-rays every 6-12 months with these goals in mind – which often leaves patients asking, should I take my brace off before the X-ray?

 

In-brace vs out of Brace correction

What’s important to understand is that a Scoliosis Brace provides better correction while being worn than not being worn – that might sound obvious but it’s important to remember that the role of the brace is to correct, or often, over correct Scoliosis, in order that over time the spine is corrected when the brace is removed.

When you put a Scoliosis brace on, research suggests that it takes around 2 hours[1] to reach the maximum correction that can be obtained by using a brace. After removing, the correction obtained is gradually lost over around 2 hours, after which the curve/spine stabilizes[2]  Over time, the goal of Scoliosis treatment is to reduce the amount that correction is lost when the brace is removed – over corrective braces, such as ScoliBrace achieve this by adding corrective force to he spine to help to move it towards its proper position.

 

Braces and X-rays

So, should you remove your brace before a progress X-ray?  Taking the brace off, perhaps even days before the X-ray gives a truer picture of what’s “really” happening with the spine – but tells us little about how much correction the brace itself is providing. By contrast, leaving the brace on during the X-ray, or removing it right before gives us an excellent idea of how well the brace is working (and whether it’s time to adjust it), but isn’t as good at showing us how the spine might look after hours, or days of no wear. A good compromise is often an in-brace X-ray, followed by an out-of-brace X-ray after a short break which can give an idea of in-brace correction, and allow us to approximate an out-of-brace figure.

Nonetheless, it’s a complex issue, and for these reasons, at present, there’s no defined standard for the best way to carry out progress X-rays – generally speaking, it’s up to the Scoliosis practitioner to decide how to perform X-rays, based on the specific needs of the patient.

But let’s not forget the most important fact about Scoliosis bracing – it’s a treatment method which works over time – for this reason, we’re often less concerned with the exact method used to take progress X-rays, and more with the fact that the x-rays are performed in a consistent way. That is to say, during treatment, we care less about the exact degree of correction and more about the direction of travel.

 

Should I remove my brace before a progress X-ray?

The answer to the question is simply… do as your practitioner suggests! When to remove, or not remove the brace isn’t an issue that you as a patient need to worry about – but you should make sure that you comply with the instructions you’re given, and that you do so each time you visit for a progress X-ray. Rember, it’s consistency which matters!

 

 

 

[1] Katarzyna Zaborowska-Sapeta et al. The Duration of the correction loss after removing cheneau brace in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis Acta Orthopaedica et Traumatologica Turcica 53 (2019)

[2] Meng Li  1 , M S Wong, Keith D K Luk, Kenneth W H Wong, Kenneth M C Cheung, Time-dependent response of scoliotic curvature to orthotic intervention: when should a radiograph be obtained after putting on or taking off a spinal orthosis?  Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2014 Aug 1;39(17):1408-16.

Need to know more about Scoliosis? Sign up for our free information series!

At the UK Scoliosis clinic, one of our primary goals is to help educate people about Scoliosis, the symptoms it causes, how to spot its signs and most importantly, how we can treat it. With this in mind we’re always looking for effective ways to bring usable and easy-to-access information about scoliosis together for those who need it. This week, we’re pleased to launch our new information series, which you can now receive for free, via email.

 

Get the facts, for free!

Our new Scoliosis information series is aimed at those just learning about Scoliosis – whether you’re a parent who has just learned your child has Scoliosis, a young adult who has just been diagnosed, or an older individual experiencing the effects of degenerative or de-novo Scoliosis, the aim of this series is to help you learn the essential facts about the condition and what you can do about it.

 

What is Scoliosis anyway?

Scoliosis is a condition of the spine which, left untreated, can be a life-limiting condition which will often worsen and may require major spinal surgery. Thankfully, today there are a number of effective non-surgical options for treating scoliosis.

Like many conditions, scoliosis is much easier to treat when it is spotted early [i] and the best way to spot it early is to help people understand what to look for. It’s for this reason that scoliosis screening is considered a beneficial stage of treatment amongst the Orthopaedic community, as reported in the Consensus Paper which has been published by the Society on Scoliosis Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Treatment (SOSORT)[ii].  Indeed, numerous studies have suggested that school screening can reduce the number of cases which eventually require treatment – despite this, school screening has still not been implemented in UK schools, although in some countries screening is now widespread. Similarly, most people in the UK have never even heard of Scoliosis, much less the more modern approaches to treating it which exist today.

 

What you’ll learn

Over the course of this easy-to-access series you’ll learn:

  • What Scoliosis is, and what causes it
  • The types of Scoliosis, and who they affect
  • How you can screen for the signs of scoliosis, at home, in less than 5 minutes
  • How we can treat Scoliosis, and how treatment has improved over time
  • What the best treatment for Scoliosis is
  • The answers to the most frequently asked questions we hear about Scoliosis

Finally, we’ll let you know how to get in touch with us if you’re concerned about Scoliosis, or just need more information.

 

How to sign up

You can access this totally free series by signing up here

Please feel free to share this page with any friends or family – the more awareness we raise about Scoliosis, the more people we can help!

5 Tips to Help Reduce Scoliosis Pain

For most of the history of Scoliosis treatment, the widely held view has been that Scoliosis does not cause pain. It’s certainly true that many Scoliosis patients present at our clinic with no pain nor discomfort – but recent research, as well as our experience, has shown that in many cases Scoliosis can be painful.

At least one research study suggests evidence of a possible 35-42% prevalence of lower back pain in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis[1] (AIS), in another study of 2400 patients with AIS, 23% reported back pain at their initial contact[2]. Chronic non-specific back pain (CNSBP) also seems to be frequently associated with AIS, with a greater reported prevalence (59%) than seen in adolescents without scoliosis (33%)[3]  – in addition, patients diagnosed with AIS at age 15 are 42% more likely to report back pain at age 18.[4]

In patients under 21 treated for back pain, scoliosis was the most common underlying condition (1439/1953 patients)[5] and Scoliosis patients have between a 3 and 5-fold increased risk of back pain in the upper and middle right part of the back[6].

While this does not mean that everyone with Scoliosis will experience pain – in fact the numbers roughly support about a 50/50 chance – there are still a significant number of individuals for whom the management of Scoliosis & pain is a factor. At the UK Scoliosis Clinic, we utilise a number of approaches to help manage the pain associated with scoliosis – but there are also some steps you can take yourself.

 

1 – Keep active, Keep fit

Being physically active and reducing the amount of time spent in sedentary positions is very important, not only for pain management but for your overall health and well-being. While it’s true that Scoliosis can make some activities more difficult, and there are some exercises (especially “one-sided” activities, like racket sports) which we might advise against – there’s no reason why Scoliosis should stop you from being as active as possible. If pain is already a significant issue, low-impact activities such as Yoga or Pilates  can be an excellent way to keep moving, and may even provide some additional pain relief. Swimming, once thought to treat Scoliosis (sadly, based on current research, does not[7]) is nonetheless an excellent way to stay fit with almost no risk or injury.

 

2 – Improve your posture.

While it’s not true that poor posture causes Scoliosis – poor posture can cause pain, both for Scoliosis sufferers and those without Scoliosis.

A huge part of Physiotherapy based approaches to Scoliosis is increasing awareness of posture – when sitting and standing and to take note of the position of your spine. Are you collapsed to one side or slouching? Try to straighten & lengthen your spine and keep balanced, avoid leaning to one side as this can aggravate pain – instead, try to remain in a neutral or corrected position. Many people with Scoliosis pain find that regular movement helps to reduce pain too.

 

3 – Avoid extended sitting/extended standing

Where possible, avoid extended sitting when working, studying or at school. Regular postural changes/breaks (every 20-30 minutes) are very important and can be as simple as standing up, walking to the other side of the room, or stretching, before sitting back down.

This is, like most of these tips, a good idea to do regardless of your Scoliosis status as long periods of sitting encourage imbalances in muscles and ligaments – in fact, it’s the cause of a huge percentage of back pain cases treated by Chiropractors every year.

 

4 – Light Stretching or Massage

Stretching or Massage, either as a targeted activity or part of something like Yoga can be highly beneficial for Scoliosis suffers –focussing on elongation and decompression of the spine is likely to help relieve pain for many, and can often be performed at home using a tennis ball, foam roller or massager. That being said it’s best to consult with a Scoliosis expert when it comes to stretching or flexibility routines, for example many people with AIS will have reduced spinal curves or flat backs, so it is important that significant hyper-extension/arching backwards is not performed as it may increase the flattening of the back which may in turn progress the scoliosis.

Repetitive one-sided movements, or exercises & stretches leading to excessive spinal rotation may actually worsen pain – due to the 3D nature of scoliosis. Repetitive twisting or one-sided movements can potentially put your spine into an unfavourable position or even counteract an ongoing treatment program, so use with care.

 

5 – The Best Option, Scoliosis Specific Exercise

The best option to address Scoliosis pain is, of course a professional plan. A Scoliosis professional can design a series of Scoliosis Specific exercises, that will help improve posture, manage pain and slow the progression of your condition. These scoliosis-specific exercises, once mastered, can be incorporated into your day-to-day life or form part of an active treatment program.

In some cases, the part-time use of a Scoliosis brace could also be considered – for example, while bracing in adults is not likely to reduce the Scoliotic curve itself, research does indicate that bracing can be effective in reducing chronic pain.[8]

 

 

 

 

[1] Théroux, J., et al.Prevalence of low back pain in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis: a systematic review. Chiropractic & manual therapies, 25(1), 1-6.

[2] Ramirez N, Johnston CE, Browne RH. The prevalence of back pain in children who have idiopathic scoliosis. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1997;79:364–8

[3] Jean Theroux et al. Back Pain Prevalence Is Associated With Curve-type and Severity in Adolescents With Idiopathic Scoliosis Spine: August 1, 2017 – Volume 42 – Issue 15

[4] Clark EM, Tobias JH, Fairbank J. The impact of small spinal curves in adolescents that have not presented to secondary care: a population- based cohort study. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2016; 41:E611–7.

[5] Dimar 2nd JR, Glassman SD, Carreon LY. Juvenile degenerative disc disease: a report of 76 cases identified by magnetic resonance imaging. Spine J. 2007;7:332–7.

[6] Sato T, Hirano T, Ito T, Morita O, Kikuchi R, Endo N, et al. Back pain in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis: epidemiological study for 43,630 pupils in Niigata City. Japan Eur Spine J. 2011;20:274–9

[7] Berdishevsky H, Lebel VA, Bettany-Saltikov J, et al.: Physiotherapy scoliosis-specific exercises—a comprehensive review of seven major schools. Scoliosis Spinal Disord, 2016, 4: 1.

Zaina, F., Donzelli, S., Lusini, M., Minnella, S., and Negrini, S. (2015). Swimming and spinal deformities: A cross-sectional study. The Journal of Pediatrics, 166(1): 163-167.

Gonen Aydin C, Oner A, Hekim HH, Arslan AS, Oztas D, Akman YE. (2020) The prevalence of scoliosis in adolescent swimmers and the effect of swimming on adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Turk J Sports Med.;55(3):200-6.

[8] Scoliosis bracing and exercise for pain management in adults—a case report Weiss et al, J Phys Ther Sci. 2016 Aug; 28(8): 2404–2407.

Online Booking available now – which consultation is right for you?

As part of ongoing efforts to make accessing services at the UK Scoliosis Clinic easier than ever, we have now introduced an option to book either an online or in-person consultation right here through our website. With two options to pick from you might be wondering which consultation type is right for you?

 

Online consultation

An online consultation is an excellent way to speak to a Scoliosis expert from the comfort of your own home and at a lower cost than an in-person consultation at our clinic. Our online option includes the taking of an essential Scoliosis specific medical history, a review of any x-rays which you may have, movement assessment, a visual postural assessment (if desired) and time for Q & A.

An online consultation generally lasts approximately 20-30 Minutes and takes place via our secure online platform, which means your consultation remains totally private.

An online consultation is ideal for someone who wants to speak to an expert, get a second opinion on a diagnosis or treatment recommendation or is simply seeking some advice about the first steps when learning they have Scoliosis. The major drawback of an online consultation is that we cannot take X-rays nor physical measurements of your spine, nor see you in person – this means that in most cases we cannot formally diagnose Scoliosis during an online consultation, although we can usually give our professional opinion. If you already have X-rays, a web consultation can be an excellent option, although it’s important to keep in mind that our diagnosis and advice in this situation relies on the currency of the X-rays you provide.

Since a web consultation is also cheaper, they’re a good choice for people who want to explore scoliosis treatment, without incurring larger costs – for example, an older person considering bracing to help manage Scoliosis related pain.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of the online consultation option is the fact that you can participate from anywhere in the world – allowing you to access world-class Scoliosis advice wherever you happen to be located. Please note, that we currently offer consultations in English only.

 

In-person consultation

An in-person consultation at our clinic is the most comprehensive option designed to provide not only a formal diagnosis of Scoliosis but also practical advice on treatment steps and the options which would be applicable for you.

Scoliosis consultation at our clinic is the fastest and most efficient way to get answers on Scoliosis. Our consultations can include X-rays (for a additional fee), which are taken here at the clinic enabling you to get a professional diagnosis and a plan to move forward with treatment if appropriate for your case.

Our In-clinic consultation lasts between 1.5 and 2 hours, and includes a detailed, Scoliosis specific medical history, Scoliosis impact assessment, Postural Assessment, Scoliosis measurement and evaluation and a detailed report outlining your case, diagnosis and recommended options for treatment. We can also provide a report to your insurance provider (if required).

Your appointment can include a full set of Diagnostic X-rays utilising our state-of-the-art digital X-ray machine, allowing Scoliosis to be definitely diagnosed and understood. You will also receive a digital copy of your X-rays to take away.

Our in-clinic consultations are most suitable for those who are concerned that they may have scoliosis but do not have X-rays or other documentation to rule the condition in, or out. It’s also ideal for those who know they have Scoliosis and are actively looking to take up non-surgical treatment or are wanting to change treatment, perhaps from another provider.

 

Next steps

All of our consultations are standalone options – meaning there’s no obligation to take up treatment with us after your consultation. In some cases, it might be determined that Scoliosis isn’t the correct diagnosis, or it may be the case that more appropriate treatment can be obtained through another provider – in this case, we’re often able to recommend suitable practitioners close to you.  Where Scoliosis is determined to be an issue for you, an in-person consultation can lead directly into the formation and beginning of a treatment plan should you want to take action as soon as possible.

For those consulting with us from overseas, we work with a network of other Scoliosis treatment providers across the globe and can often recommend a practitioner in your general area – but should you wish to visit our clinic you’ll still be very welcome!

 

 

 

New year, New Opportunities!

As the year comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on all the ups and downs of the past 12 months and look forward to what the future holds. New Year’s Eve is a time for celebration and renewal, a time to say goodbye to the old and embrace the new.

The New Year brings with it the promise of new beginnings, a chance to start fresh and set new goals for the year ahead. Whether you’re looking to improve your health, take on a new challenge, or make positive changes in your personal or professional life, the start of a new year is the perfect time to make a plan and get started.

Here at the UK Scoliosis Clinic we have some exciting new ideas in the works and there will be some fantastic, quicker, easier to use options for one and all coming in 2023. As we finally put COVID behind us were looking forward to helping more people with Scoliosis than ever before!

So as we bid farewell to the old year and welcome in the new, let’s make a commitment to ourselves to make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead. Let’s set goals that inspire us and motivate us to be our best selves. Let’s embrace the challenges and obstacles that come our way, knowing that each one is an opportunity to grow and learn.

From all of us here at the UK Scoliosis Clinic we wish you a happy and prosperous New Year! May the year ahead be filled with joy, success, and all the things that make life worth living. We’ll be back on the 3rd as usual!

 

Ps. If you have left messages for us over Christmas please know that we’ll be responding to everyone as quickly as possible, it will however, take a few days to catch up!