Scoliosis & kyphosis

Crookedness of the spinal column – It’s a question of the correct treatment

It can sometimes be determined from the very first glance during childhood. Other times, lateral crookedness of the spinal column with twisting (scoliosis) or lateral bending of the spinal column (kyphosis) is first discovered during puberty.

The spinal column, the central supportive and movement organ of the body, has a set structure. It is precisely designed, whether looking from the front or from behind. If the frontal plane of the precisely put-together spinal column becomes crooked or bent, pain can occur during everyday movements.

Schoen Clinic specialises in deformities and misalignment of the back and we provide a personalised and tailored range of treatments if you suffer from scoliosis and kyphosis.

What is scoliosis?

A crooked back with twisting when viewed from the front or from behind (scoliosis) often occurs in children or adolescents and involves the lateral bending of one or more sections of the spinal column. This can clearly be noticed when looking at the back from behind, the spine twists around its own axis. There is typically also a deviation from the normal profile of the corresponding spinal column segments when viewed from the side. Scoliosis may occur in the thoracic or lumbar spine region but it can also develop in both regions or connecting regions. Scoliosis can never be fully straightened out, actively or passively. In the advanced stages, the affected section becomes more and more stiff.

Scoliosis often occurs alongside kyphosis (a “hunched back”). This involves lateral bending of the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine. However, it can also affect the full spinal column.

Scoliosis symptoms: Signs indicating a disorder

  • In children, typically only triggers physical pain in rare cases. One exception, for example, is a measurable reduction in lung function due to severe crookedness
  • In the later stages of the disorder, the malformation and asymmetry of the torso often causes psychological or psychosocial distress as patients are shamed for their appearance
  • In adults, the long-term deformity and incorrect load-bearing
  • The crooked region of the spinal column sometimes stiffens, limiting movement
  • Severe scoliosis in adults causes malformation and shortening of the torso and therefore also a reduction in the chest and stomach cavities. This can noticeably impair internal organs such a
  • A shortness of breath or even heart problems

Kyphosis symptoms: Signs indicating a disorder

  • Pain in the region of the crooked thoracic spine. It can also lead to breathing difficulties, circulation issues and feelings of numbness in the arms and legs
  • Bladder or bowel function can also be disturbed
  • Reduction in movement, and sleeping disorders can also occur
  • If a humpback forms, issues may occur in the bordering spinal column regions, the affected spinal segmented may be worn down faster and pain and functional issues may be present
  • Pronounced kyphosis, with visual axis loss, swallowing problems and sometimes even neurological failures, alongside the cosmetic aspects, reduces patients’ quality of life
  • Risk involved when chronic rebuilding processes and eventually nerve damages occur due to the constant pressure on the spinal cord with kyphosis. This can lead to functional failures and par

Causes: How does scoliosis and kyphosis occur?

There are two types of scoliosis: the so-called idiopathic form where the cause is not known and scoliosis due to an existing underlying disease. This can include, congenital misalignment of the spine and muscle or nerve disorders. Connecting tissue or metabolism disorders can also play a role. Most cases, however, involve idiopathic scoliosis. This occurs in childhood or adolescence and frequently advances during puberty.

Kyphosis can also be inherited. It can otherwise occur after an accident, surgery or a tumour. Even misalignments and disorders such as Scheuermann’s disorder, osteoporosis and chronic joint inflammation can cause kyphosis.

Suspected scoliosis or kyphosis? Our targeted diagnostics provide conclusive evidence

In the initial stages of scoliosis or kyphosis, only a few of those affected have physical complaints. Typically, the disorder first occurs at the start of, or during puberty. However, it is crucial to identify the start of scoliosis or kyphosis: the earlier idiopathic scoliosis or kyphosis occurs in childhood or adolescence, the more this incorrect growth progresses.

Conservative treatment, scoliosis surgery or kyphosis surgery – Both are possible

The choice of a suitable treatment method depends on the severity of each individual spinal column crookedness or bending. But the causes, age of the patient, predicted disorder progression and especially what time it occurred also greatly influence treatment.

At Schoen Clinic, we offer conservative and surgical treatments. Even when conservative measures have failed – the scoliosis or kyphosis has progressed despite physiotherapy and corset treatment – there’s always the possibility of surgery. The goal of all measures is to not only prevent the scoliosis or kyphosis from progressing, but also to realign it and keep the spine in its correct position in the long-term.

Scoliosis: Surgery procedures

Our surgeons will consider whether surgery is necessary or beneficial for each patient individually. In scoliosis surgery, the spinal column is corrected and permanently stabilised in its corrected position using metal implants, typically using a screw-rod system. This reinforces the treated spinal column section. During the operation, the spinal cord function and nerves are constantly monitored to guarantee the highest levels of safety.

At the end of scoliosis surgery, highly-effective pain therapy is always conducted for the first few days after the procedure. Afterwards, stability is normally high enough that gypsum or corseting is no longer needed. Under the guidance of our physiotherapists, you will then begin movement exercises and should be standing and making your first steps as early as the first day after surgery. As soon as you can safely stand, walk and climb stairs, you can leave the hospital.

Kyphosis: Surgery procedures

For kyphosis, surgery is only necessary in extreme cases. It’s also only an option for adults, after growth has stopped. Through different surgical procedures, we can prevent kyphosis advancing, recreate normal form, axis relationships and rebalance the spinal column.

In the surgical procedure, we don’t just stabilise the straightened spinal column segments – we also secure the underlying nerve structures. Modern implants and surgical techniques keep the two or three affected vertebrae in a good position until they have been reinforced. Afterwards, the spinal column can fully bear weight again.

Conservative treatment: Physiotherapy for mild scoliosis

Most often, mild scoliosis has a misalignment of up to approximately 20 degrees. When children are affected, the disorder only rarely advances during growth. In these cases, we recommend physiotherapeutic therapy with targeted and straightening exercises, i.e. scoliosis-specific physiotherapy. You can strengthen all of your back muscles to combat further crookedness which also stabilises the muscles.

Conservative treatment for scoliosis: Corset for children

For children with scoliosis, the most effective conservative treatment is a corset worn until growth stops.
For adults, corset treatment is no longer possible or useful. However, if you are not considering surgery, corsets can alleviate pain through their stabilising function.

Conservative treatment for kyphosis

If weak back muscles have triggered the kyphosis, you can often improve your posture and symptoms with physiotherapy using special exercises, you can then strengthen your back muscles and stretch your chest muscles. If therapy starts early, wearing a growth-adjusting corset can also be beneficial.

Scoliosis & kyphosis: Our specialists

Scoliosis & kyphosis: Our specialised hospital