Sunday, October 7, 2018

FoxSports Ken Rosenthal Baseball Expert Talks About Scoliosis and Scoliosis Research Society (SRS.ORG) on TV Tonight!

I just got word that Ken Rosenthal will be speaking again tonight on national TV for National League Baseball about one of his important "Bowtie Charities" ---  scoliosis and the Scoliosis Research Foundation (  SRS has been around for over 50 years, advancing scoliosis care for children, adolescents and adults all over the world.  I've been a member for years, and am actually writing this blog just before boarding the plane for Europe for our annual meeting in Bologna, Italy!!

As you can read from his story, he actually had scoliosis as a teenager, and had Harrington rod surgery as a teen as well. His daughter, a dancer, also had scoliosis surgery as a teen.

He will likely also be discussing / tweeting about the National Scoliosis Foundation (, which helps to promote early scoliosis detection and treatment to help decrease suffering due to spinal deformities, and also decrease need for scoliosis surgery.

2022 EST update
Ken Rosenthal did get a chance to specifically mention in a separate TWEET, he National Scoliosis Foundation:

"Another worthy scoliosis organization - National Scoliosis Foundation . Promotes scoliosis awareness and screening. Modern bracing and physical therapy can prevent suffering later in life. Catching scoliosis early can actually result in reversing curve"

Curvy Girls is another great organization that works alongside which helps with local support groups for girls and their parents with scoliosis. I had the pleasure of speaking at the Raleigh chapter of Curvy Girls recently, which was just awesome -- 20-30 girls there, and their moms (and sometimes Dads!) -- sharing some of the latest research coming out on the effectiveness of more modern 3D bracing and physiotherapeutic scoliosis-specific exercises (PSSE) such as Schroth Therapy. Many of the girls downloaded scoliometer apps and learned how to do their own screening!! One of the girls wants to help improve scoliosis screening across all of North Carolina, starting with her own city and county. Amazing. All of of these organizations (SRS, NSF, and Curvy Girls) do a phenomenal job, and deserve your support, small or large to promote scoliosis awareness, screening, research, innovation, and care

Monday, September 24, 2018

Does scoliosis bracing always work in the long run? What happens if my curves progress later in life? Scoliosis surgery before pregnancy?

At Hey Clinic, we are HUGE advocates for conservative treatment for scoliosis and other spine conditions for children, adolescents and adults.  This includes in-house affordable low radiation high resolution EOS imaging (without the hospital facility fee), SCHROTH PHYSIOTHERAPEUTIC-SPECIFIC EXERCISES (PSSE), and in-house custom molded Rigo-Cheneau braces from 3D surface data.  As a result, we have a very good success rate with conservative treatment for a large percentage of our guests in all age groups.

We are also HUGE advocates for life-long scoliosis follow-up, collecting scoliosis measurements not just during childhood and adolescence, but during adulthood as well, since 60-70% of scoliosis will progress during adulthood.  Having that longitudinal data over time, combined with dialogue and assessment of quality of life, height loss, posture and appearance changes over time combined with osteoporosis assessment and prevention are all super helpful for the patient and family to clearly understand your CHOICES at each stage of this life-long scoliosis journey.

From time to time we have patients and families who want to share their stories anonymously to share part of their life-long journey.  I received this story this evening from one of our young adult patients who gave her OK to share it with all of you!  Enjoy and thanks for sharing S!!!
----------- Dr. Lloyd Hey . . Hey Clinic for Scoliosis and Spine Care

"I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 12 years old. When I first met with my pediatric physician he recommended a night time brace which I wore for three years. The brace was successful in halting progression as I grew and by the time I was 21 my curves had remained at 32 and 37 degrees for several years. I was told it was unlikely my scoliosis would progress in adulthood and for several years I put it out of my mind.  
When I was 28 years old I began noticing changes in my body. My ribs stuck out, my sides and shoulders were more uneven than they used to be, and I began to feel discomfort in my back and sides. I found Dr. Hey online and chose to go to him because of his experience and reputation for being an excellent surgeon. At my first appointment I learned that both of my curves had significantly progressed. Dr. Hey was informative and discussed my options with me. I felt absolutely no pressure from Dr. Hey to have surgery. He left it up to me to determine how I felt it would be best to move forward. Because I was in a hurry to start a family I made the decision to be proactive and have the surgery before I had children.

I had surgery 7 weeks ago and I am thrilled with my decision. I was extremely nervous before the operation but Dr. Hey and his wonderful team answered all of my questions and helped set my mind at ease. I spent four days in the hospital and felt very well taken care of by the nursing staff. The first three weeks of recovery were difficult, but I could feel myself getting stronger each day. I am now seven weeks out from surgery and my incision has completely healed. I can also walk with ease and bend down without much trouble. I still have sensitivity near the incision site and a bit of stiffness, but I am very close to feeling completely back to normal. I am confident that I made the best decision for myself in moving forward with the surgery and I am looking forward to a brighter future uninhibited by scoliosis."

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Can my Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Curve and Posture actually Improve With Schroth PSSE and modern Rigo-Cheneau Brace? EF Teen Story

I received the following letter from EF, one of our adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients we are treating here at our new expanded Hey Clinic for Scoliosis and Spine Care here in Raleigh, NC.  The patient and her mom gave permission to share her story with all of you.  We are seeing many success stories like this now as we ramp up Schroth Scoliosis Physiotherapeutic Specific Exercise (PSSE) here with two therapists here at Hey Clinic, and also working with our expanding network of PSSE therapists across North Carolina and beyond.  We actually just had an Intro class here for Schroth a couple of weeks ago, with therapists from across NC and beyond joining in to learn the basics, and will be holding a full Schroth Certification at our Hey Clinic Learning Center here in December. 

Our In-house scoliosis bracing facility is also now fully up to speed, allowing us to take 3D images of the patient, also with our EOS X-Ray machine contributing high resolution, low radiation imaging data including 3D data.  We can then take that data into special software to design and fabricate a very comfortable, and effective brace for 3D correction based on the principles of Rigo and Cheneau derotation --- a huge step forward from the Boston Brace and Charleston Brace.   

Thanks EF for sharing your story of not only improving your Cobb angle, but your pain level, quality of life and appearance, with great improvement in your trunk shift!!  

Here is EF's story:   

"Two years ago while shopping for bathing suits with my mom, I noticed that my right hip was higher than my left. The next day my mom took me to my regular doctor. He took several x-rays and then referred me to Dr. Hey.
When I went and saw Dr. Hey, I got more detailed back and spine x-rays and he explained to me that I had scoliosis. My curve was 20 degrees in my lower back. When I first found out that I had scoliosis, I was really anxious because I didn't know if it was going to get worse, or if my hips would ever look normal again. I was also worried if it would effect me playing sports because I played soccer, did cheer, and swam. The only discomfort I had was pain in lower back, but it was manageable with some advil.
My next two six months appointments, my x-rays were still the same. I was worried that my curve would never go decrease and that my hip discrepancy would only get bigger. I expressed my discomfort and concern to Dr. Hey and he recommended bracing. My first thoughts were “there’s no way I’m wearing a huge brace to school every day.” I thought it would be  really uncomfortable, and I would look weird in it.
After talking to my parents, I decided to move forward with the bracing process. When I first started wearing it, it was a difficult adjustment. I felt the brace pushing my left hip and shoulder up. I would wear my brace when I got home from school and I would wear it to sleep at night. After a few weeks of getting used to it, my brace actually felt good putting it on; I felt like my hips were straight.
I continued wearing my brace every night for the next 7 months! At my last appointment, when I took my x-ray, Dr. Hey told me my curve had gone down by 5 degrees! I was so excited that my back was finally getting straight and that my hip discrepancy was actually not as noticeable. My hips look much more even and normal now.
Even though at first, I was scared, nervous, and unsure with my bracing journey, I  could not be more happy with the results I have gotten so far. This summer, when I was at the beach, I actually felt comfortable in my bikini! I will definitely continue to wear it every day to help my back improve more. "

Saturday, June 9, 2018

June is Scoliosis Awareness Month, and also celebrating opening of the new Hey Clinic!

New Hey Clinic Open House June 7 2018 with Dr. David Zaas, Duke Raleigh Hospital CEO kicking off Scoliosis Awareness Month with Roy Cooper's Proclamation
This past week has been a very busy, but joyous one at the newly opened Hey Clinic, as we all celebrate the kickoff off June as Scoliosis Awareness Month. Many thanks to Wendy from Hey Clinic (a scoliosis mom) and for Roy Cooper and his office who worked hard to make this happen, as North Carolina joins with other States around the US, and other nations around the world to be more aware of spinal deformities.  The truth is that the United States, while great in a lot of things, is way behind other countries around the world when it comes to scoliosis screening and early intervention.  

Scoliosis, kyphosis and spondylolisthesis awareness is important more than ever as evidence continues to mount that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", starting with the 2013 NEJM scoliosis bracing randomized control trial with Weinstein and Dolan.  Since then, other studies coming out of SOSORT and other sources showing how physiotherapeutic scoliosis-specific exercises (PSSE) like Schroth, which have actually been widely used in Europe for decades, can in some cases actually IMPROVE scoliosis, especially during the crucial early curve progression period in early adolescence.  I actually spent a week this past April over in Dubrovnik Croatia learning from conservative scoliosis treatment experts from all over Europe and the rest of the world how we can possibly redirect the miraculous, complex 25 segment core structure of every human being.  For example, there also is growing evidence of the synergistic benefit of PSSE combined with more modern custom 3D derotation scoliosis braces like Rigo-Cheneau, which seem to be resulting in higher patient compliance, which is linked to effectiveness.

After a very busy couple years planning and building the new Hey Clinic, and also very busy writing lectures, and developing new patient safety "apps" using checklists that we will be rolling out to other scoliosis centers this summer, and training up new interns to help out with our quality improvement projects, I hope to take a little more time now to share what we've been learning here on the blog. 

Stay tune for more, and let's all try to figure out ways to increase scoliosis awareness, and think and act creatively to ensure that every precious growing child in North Carolina and elsewhere has the opportunity to get screened, and have an early intervention like PSSE and/or bracing that can help prevent decades of suffering and possibly disability later in life.  So download a Scoliometer App for your phone, and learn how YOU can even help identify children and adolescents at risk for scoliosis.  Even adults can be identified with scoliosis and kyphosis and still benefit from detection and careful follow-up and conservative care.   --- Lloyd Hey

Here is the text from Governor Roy Cooper's Proclamation

State of North Carolina
Roy Cooper Governor
National Scoliosis Awareness Month

WHEREAS, increasing public awareness of scoliosis can help children, parents, adults and healthcare providers understand, recognize and treat this and other complex spinal deformities; and
WHEREAS, scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine that affects an estimated 3 percent of the population, or 7 million people in the United States; there is no known cause for scoliosis, and the condition can affect people of any age, race, gender or ethnicity; and
WHEREAS, an estimated one million scoliosis patients utilize health care yearly and approximately one in every six children diagnosed with this condition is required to receive medical treatment, sometimes involving surgery; and
WHEREAS, the primary age of onset for scoliosis is between ten and 15 years; females who have scoliosis are five times more likely to progress to a curve magnitude that requires treatment; and
WHEREAS, screening programs allow for early detection and for treatment opportunities which may alleviate the worst effects of the condition; and
WHEREAS, National Scoliosis Awareness Month is an opportunity to raise awareness and support for those combatting this spinal condition, and to advocate for increased research and funding to reduce pain and suffering it causes;
NOW, THEREFORE, I ROY COOPER,  Governor of the State of North Carolina, do hereby proclaim June 2018 as "NATIONAL SCOLIOSIS AWARENESS MONTH" in North Carolina, and commend its observance to all citizens.

Signed Roy Cooper, Governor
In witness thereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the great seal of North Carolina at the Capitol in Raleigh this first day of June in the year of our Lord two thousand and eighteen and of the independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.