09 June 2020
We first met Hannah in 2017 when she had been diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic scoliosis which typically affects children between the age of four and ten. At this age there is every likelihood that the condition will get worse. X-rays revealed that she had a Cobb angle of 18 degrees. Bracing is not considered necessary with a curve of that size, but Schroth Physiotherapy is recommended as it has shown that a home program of between 3 and 6 months can reduce these small (under 25 degrees) curves in young people.
It is important to emphasise that LOC’s physiotherapy programmes for Scoliosis are nothing like generic physiotherapy. They are scoliosis curve-pattern specific and are tailored to each individual’s postural compensations. Symmetrical exercises do not tend to be effective, but Schroth physiotherapy is 3-dimensional. The success of any exercise programme is down to the commitment of the patient and Hannah has been a star in that respect, because she followed the home exercise programme to the letter.
In March Hannah came to see us for a review; she proudly presented her most recent x-rays which showed the Cobb angle reduced to a barely significant 6 degrees. This is a testament to her commitment and to the efficacy of the Schroth method.
She now just must keep fit and active with activity advice and ensure good postural habits. She is monitored by her parents and free 3 monthly physio reviews.
LOC’s Scoliosis Physiotherapy clinic is headed up by Deborah Turnbull who is certified in both original German Schroth and modern Best Practice Schroth methods. Deborah has co-authored with Dr Weiss a number of peer-reviewed articles about the conservative treatment of Scoliosis and other spinal deformities.
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.
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!
He’s been very positive since the first day and this determination has certainly paid off. In just two months, Rares’s Cobb angle has reduced from 52֯ to 24֯ in a brace and his ribcage has de-rotated from 18֯ to 12֯, so the rib hump has significantly improved.
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.