23 November 2018
The London Orthotic Consultancy opened its scoliosis clinic in 2017 and, since then, we have treated many patients non-surgically with a combination of physiotherapy and spinal bracing, using the Gensingen Brace by Dr Weiss®. Scoliosis is incredibly common – around three to four in every 1000 children in the UK are affected – with symptoms typically noticed between the ages of 10 and 15.
Our treatment follows the Schroth method, which uses physiotherapy and if appropriate a brace, to normalise the postural alignment of the spine through a series of customised exercises which are specific to each patient’s individual curve pattern. We have treated a wide age range of patients between the ages of three to 80 years old and recently held a scoliosis patient survey, of which we are proud to announce the results.
Part of the survey asked which part of the treatment package our scoliosis patients found to be the most supportive. The most appreciated forms of help and support throughout treatment were found to be, in order:
Over 87% of patients surveyed said they were ‘Very Satisfied’ with treatment. Everyone surveyed said they were either ‘Satisfied’ or ‘Very Satisfied’ with treatment. All patients surveyed said they were either ‘Likely’ or ‘Very Likely’ to recommend treatment to other patients.
Again, 100% of patients surveyed said that improvements in their physical appearance – such as rib hump or postural alignment – had either met or exceeded their expectations since starting treatment. 100% of patients surveyed said that improvements in their Cobb angle had either met or exceeded their expectations since starting treatment.
My results are amazing and unexpected, and I am glad that I received the brace through LOC. I am still wearing the brace 18 months later and my back feels even straighter. Thanks to LOC I realised that I wanted to help people with similar if not the same condition as me, so I am now going to Salford University in September to study Orthotics and Prosthetics so I will hopefully be able to help others with Scoliosis as much as LOC has helped me.
If you say something is going to be easy it will be easy and if you say something will be hard it will be hard. So, I'm just going to say that wearing my brace is easy. And as it turns out, it really is.
Sally and Debs have helped remove the stress from our situation. They have given us hope based on their extensive knowledge and expertise.
I had my brace fitted and I was also given a personalised exercise programme to help with my 3D rotation. Not only was I wearing this new brace but I still had my pectus brace on and the amazing orthotists managed to combine the two so they worked together. I really struggled with this at first; however, I kept going and now I’m really glad I did. My scoliosis overcorrected by 10 degrees and I was able to reduce my scoliosis brace wear to 16 hours a day within 6 weeks.
Don’t wait. It’s about the children because they are more likely to be confident in their late teens if you act quickly and support them. We have been lucky because we understand the condition well. That’s one of the main things, to be honest. It was hard work, but it pays off in the end.
I finally found that I had arrived at the right place and something was actually being done.
My pain levels are hugely improved, my ribs were tender and now they are not. My brace was made individually for me. It’s not one size fits all and, if it is not completely perfect, LOC alters it on the spot. I was so surprised that I could wear the brace under my clothes, I did not need to go and buy anything, I just wear loose tops.
The brace is very light. Obviously, the first couple of days we were told it was going to be uncomfortable for her, I bought so many pillows! But although the first night was not very comfortable, the second night she got used to it and then she was wearing it all day long and I thought ‘that’s brilliant!’ She was only taking it off for two or three hours to go out with friends or do the exercises, but she didn’t have any problems really.
Debs and Sally are fantastic. I mean, they’ve become like family now. They are extraordinary people and do such good work with these kids, both of them, it’s fantastic. The whole experience has been very good. They make you feel welcome from the beginning, and you can ask as many questions as you want, and they answer everything. If you have a problem they give you their personal mobile so you can just call them if you have a problem and they’ll solve it straight away. I’m very pleased with the treatment, the people, with everything.
She’s wearing the brace all the time now and she’s doing very well. She’s very good at school too, the brace doesn’t get in the way of anything. It fits underneath her school uniform and you can’t see it. Sometimes I even have to ask her when she’s sitting down if she’s wearing it because I can’t see it! She says ‘of course mummy’ and I say ‘let me try!’ I have to knock through the clothes and only then can I hear she’s wearing the brace!
Obviously, the results speak for themselves. I would definitely credit LOC, but if I were to give any advice [to parents in a similar position] it would be to contact Debs and Sally. Ricarda likes it there, she loves the people like Debs and Sally and felt really comfortable, everything was really relaxed and nice. She worked really hard during training with Debs who kept saying that Ricarda was such a workhorse!
Our scoliosis clinic team consists of Sally Hews, David Williams, Anna Courtney and Deborah Turnbull, a BSc. CSP and HCPC registered physiotherapist, with over 10 years’ experience treating scoliosis. All are qualified Schroth Best Practice method clinicians who have been trained in Germany by leading Schroth expert Dr Hans-Rudolf Weiss.
We are proud to have recently been recognised by the Schroth Best Practice Academy as the only best practice bracing centre in London and the south of England and in 2018 we opened a Schroth Best Practice physiotherapy clinic at The Portland Hospital in central London.
If you would like to book an appointment with a scoliosis clinician, call our clinic on 020 8974 9989.
The operation used to treat severe scoliosis curves is typically spinal fusion surgery; a major procedure that involves moving muscles and realigning the skeleton into place. The curved, deformed vertebrae are fused together into a single bone, putting metal screws and rods into the spine to help straighten it. Surgery typically lasts between 4 and 8 hours depending on the severity of the curve. Bone graft is then taken from other parts of the body and used to cover the implants.
Following the operation, it is necessary to spend around a week in intensive care before returning home and the first few days are often uncomfortable. Most adolescents can expect to return to school from 2-4 weeks following surgery, but pain medication may be required up to 6 weeks following. A full recovery from the procedure can take up to a year, as it can take that long for the spine to heal fully.
Spinal fusion surgery causes the fused portion of the back to become permanently stiff, as a result, returning to sports that require large amounts of flexibility (ballet, yoga, gymnastics, dance) or contact (rugby, football, karate, hockey) may take longer.
Risks of spinal fusion surgery are like that of any other major procedure and include infection, blood clots and anaesthesia complications. The added risks include permanent nerve damage to the spine and paralysis.