Scoliosis and its medieval cure

The discovery of the remains of King Richard III of England has led to the discussion of the king's scoliosis, "a lateral or side-to-side curvature of the spine," easily seen in the skeleton, and the techniques that would have been available to "cure" it.

A number of treatments for scoliosis were known during Richard's time including traction, akin to the rack, and a tight metal corset, both of which would have been excruciatingly painful. Dr Mary Ann Lund of the University of Leicester lists the works of Hippocrates and Avicenna as sources for medical treatment of the condition. "Scoliosis is a painful illness, and Richard would have been in quite a lot of pain on a daily basis. These methods could also have been very painful – but people would have expected treatments to be unpleasant," she said.