Download our leaflet on Scoliosis


Scoliosis means that the spine has or is developing a sideways curve. As the spine bends to the side the spine bones become twisted and pull on the ribs. This can cause a characteristic lump on the back and can also cause the shoulder blade to stick out. The shoulders are often uneven.

This can be a very minor or a major problem. It can be caused by bony abnormalities and muscle imbalances i.e. one muscle pulls too hard on one or more of the spine bones. These muscles are called deep intrinsic muscles and are those involved in core stability. In spasm, these muscles force the bones into the abnormal curve. It can be a ‘C’ or a double ‘S’ curve.

Scoliosis can also be a complex condition of the nervous, muscular and skeletal systems.

Idiopathic Scoliosis is the most common. Idiopathic means that no-one knows the cause (there are a lot of idiopathic conditions!).

Childhood scoliosis begins during childhood or adolescence and stops once spinal growth is complete. The distortion can be considerable and may need other interventions.

Secondary scoliosis occurs in conditions such as polio or cerebral palsy where the problem is in the muscles which are shortened because of disease, pulling on the spine causing the deformity  

Compensatory scoliosis usually occurs when the spine is ok but other factors are not, e.g. a rotated or tilted pelvis, hip imbalances, pectoral muscle spasm at the front of the chest pulling the shoulders forward.

This compensatory scoliosis is often treatable with osteopathy and remedial massage.

If your scoliosis is in the other categories, you should still expect to feel much better after treatment and more comfortable in your body.

Scoliosis is most commonly seen in the thoracic spine (the part of the spine that the ribs attach to) or lumbar (the low back below the thoracics). The ribs rotate backwards with the vertebra on the side of the side bend and so when the person bends over, there is a high side.

Problems occur when the organs contained in the rib basket particularly the lungs and heart cannot operate to their full capacity.                                            

It is best to treat scoliotic curves as soon as possible. Releasing muscle spasm and restoring the maximum amount of movement will help to stop the situation worsening. It also educates the muscles and soft tissues, improving nerve function so the area functions as it was designed to do.

It is so important to have a balanced pelvis, mobile sacro-iliac joints and the best functioning spine that you can have. Osteopathy can help with this.

Regular massage to back, legs and hips, will:

  • Restore or maintain the length in the spinal muscles that are close to the surface
  • Which will help to restore length in the deeper core muscles that are pulling on the bone.
  • Which will restore movement to areas of the spine that have been compromised.
  • Overall effects will increase the mobility and enable the spine to move safely keep energy levels up so your quality of life improves as a by-product.
  • Allow easier breathing as there is more space between ribs after a massage in that area. The back is also involved in breathing, indeed most of the lungs are accessed through the back.
  • Encourages and improves circulation to the affected region


We will examine you not looking at just the scoliosis/sidebend in your spine but at the WHOLE of you! We will assess how you are in relation to your midline particularly looking at any scars plus:

  • Sacrum, pelvis and hips – muscle spasm alters their position
  • Spine – from the lower back to the neck
  • Sternum, ribs and breathing
  • Shoulders & shoulder girdle: one may be raised due to muscle spasm which will also affect the spine
  • Head and jaw
  • Knees, feet and arches of your feet

Then we will assess how everything is moving including the ribs – hence this will include a breathing assessment.

Working with the soft tissues will help reduce the curve by encouraging a lengthening. The aim is to prevent the curve from getting worse. We will work to improve breathing and increase rib motion. Restoring balance in any of the above areas will help too e.g. pelvis.

In some cases, a brace will be required or surgery necessary if the scoliosis is severe and getting worse despite all efforts. Keeping muscles in their peak condition may mean that any intervention is kept to a minimum. After any surgery, Remedial Massage is definitely a must to keep the back in peak condition.

It is a good idea to let us check your children for scoliosis.

Ways to help avoid scoliosis are to carry heavy bags evenly not over one shoulder. One sided sports athletes need to use the opposite side for a few warm up exercises e.g.javelin throwers, hurdlers, tennis players and golfers.


Remedial Massage addresses muscle imbalances, which occur when the body is continually fixed in one position or involved in repetitive actions – golf, tennis, piano playing, computer work, driving etc.

Remedial Massage is a treatment that can be applied specifically to help prevent an injury or the recurrence of a past injury as well as treating the injury itself.

Advanced Remedial Massage can be used to bring the body into balance using Muscle Energy Techniques which are gentle and effective.

Problems in the structure disturb the circulation and electricals throughout the body leaving the person vulnerable to many diseases.

Advanced Remedial and Sports Massage therapists treat and educate on management techniques for back and neck pain, headaches, referred pain, overuse injuries and postural complaints.

Reflexology helps the body to heal itself. Following illness, stress, injury or disease, the body is in a state of "imbalance", and vital energy pathways are blocked, preventing the body from functioning effectively. Reflexology can be used to restore and maintain the body's natural equilibrium and encourage healing.

Organs and body parts are represented on specific points on the feet thus problem areas can be treated/worked. Relaxation benefits are to be experienced!

Shiatsu is a whole body therapy that works with the meridians of the body to ensure the free flow of energy. It is well worth trying as the practitioner assesses for blocks or congestion and presses on the relevant points to improve flow and thus, vitality.

Osteopathy is the science of human mechanics. It is a system of diagnosis and treatment which lays main emphasis on the structural and mechanical problems of the body which affect all organs and our day to day living. We are not here just to digest, secrete, excrete, circulate and breathe but we do so much more and are so much more.

We are a reflection of our actions! Our muscles, bones, joints and ligaments adapt to the demands we make – from cycling, to running, to cooking, to working – manually or at computers, to writing and speaking. Misalignment of the spine bones causes nerve stress – the electricals that ultimately fire your muscles. We work to correct spinal nerve stress using manipulation.

The osteopath assesses and treats faults that happen due to injury, stress or other causes. We want your body to work like a fine tuned engine with the minimum of wear, tear, stress and energy, leaving more energy available for living!

The Osteopath has a toolkit of techniques which can be ‘custom built’ for all ages to attempt to sort out all of the above. The body has a natural healing ability – we work with that.

Naturopathy involves lifestyle including diet –and this advice is available too.

All these therapies work well alongside orthodox medicine as well as on their own.