As an osteopath, Richard’s spinal condition is of considerable interest to me. I have several patients who have different types and degrees of scolioses, but none who has one anything quite like Richard’s! His scoliosis was severe enough that, had he been alive today, he would probably have had an operation to correct it. Dominic Smee, who is Richard’s ‘body double’, is unusual in that he hasn’t had this operation, which is why it was so interesting to see the documentary he starred in where he trained to perform the feats of battle and fighting that Richard would have done.
But you might be wondering what an operation to correct such a scoliosis would involve. So here are some photos showing (1) a spine where I have attempted to recreate Richard’s condition (not very well, but you get the idea!), (2) another spine showing the metal work involved in the correction of a spinal scoliosis and (3) a close up of said metal work.
As you can see, it is quite an invasive and extensive operation. It leaves extensive scarring and can fail or break inside the body, and nothing can be done if this happens. I wonder whether Richard would have opted to have it had he been born in modern times. There is one Royal example of a scoliosis sufferer who DID have the operation , very successfully, Princess Eugenie, daughter of the current Duke of York. Here is a link where she describes her experience of spinal surgery: Princess Eugenie’s Story
Other alternatives include a brace which must be worn almost constantly, and this doesn’t correct the scoliosis, it just tries to prevent it worsening.
There are non-invasive treatments which can help to control the progression of scoliosis and which are most effective if started before the condition worsens. These include exercises and manual therapy (e.g. osteopathy, physio).