Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Richard III may have gone through painful medical treatments to 'cure' his scoliosis

Date:
April 19, 2013
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Richard III may have undergone painful medical treatments for his spinal curvature, according to new research.

Richard III may have undergone painful medical treatments for his spinal curvature, according to research from a University of Leicester researcher.

Related Articles


Dr Mary Ann Lund, of the University's School of English, has carried out research into the kinds of scoliosis treatments available at the time Richard III was alive.

The remains of Richard III discovered by University of Leicester archaeologists revealed that the King suffered from severe scoliosis, which he probably developed in early adolescence.

Scoliosis -- a lateral or side-to-side curvature of the spine -- can be a very painful condition to live with.

But some of the treatments practised in the late medieval period would have themselves caused sufferers a lot of anguish.

Among the "cures" practised was traction -- the same principle on which "the Rack" worked as an instrument of torture.

The patient would be tied under the armpits and round the legs. The ropes were then pulled at either end, often on a wooden roller, to stretch the patient's spine.

The treatment would probably have only been available to those who could afford it.

Richard III would certainly have been able to afford the highest levels of medical care available -- and his physicians would have been well aware of the standard "traction" methods for treating the condition.

Dr Lund charted the influence of Greek philosopher Hippocrates -- who developed early prototype methods of dealing with spinal disorders -- to the 11th century Persian polymath Avicenna.

Avicenna's treatises on medicine and philosophy were highly regarded in Medieval Europe. His theories on using traction in scoliosis treatment would have been widely read and practised by doctors in Richard III's lifetime.

Avicenna also advocated the massage techniques practised in Turkish baths, and herbal applications, as treatments for back disorders. In the longer term, patients might wear a long piece of wood or metal in an attempt to straighten their back.

Dr Lund said: "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.

"Medical practices could exacerbate conditions rather than improving them. These treatments would have only been open to people in the upper echelons. Richard would have probably received these treatments because he was a member of the nobility."

Later methods of treatment for scoliosis included the orthosis, which was developed by French physician Ambroise Parι in the late 16th century.

This was a tightly fitting metal corset for treating scoliosis made by an armourer, which would have been worn by patients to brace the skeleton in an attempt to correct the curvature of the spine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Richard III may have gone through painful medical treatments to 'cure' his scoliosis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130419075915.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2013, April 19). Richard III may have gone through painful medical treatments to 'cure' his scoliosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130419075915.htm
University of Leicester. "Richard III may have gone through painful medical treatments to 'cure' his scoliosis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130419075915.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ruins Thought To Be Port Actually Buried Greek City

Ruins Thought To Be Port Actually Buried Greek City

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — Media is calling it an "underwater Pompeii." Researchers have found ruins off the coast of Delos. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amphipolis Tomb Architraves Reveal Faces

Amphipolis Tomb Architraves Reveal Faces

AFP (Nov. 22, 2014) — Faces in an area of mosaics is the latest find by archaeologists at a recently discovered tomb dating back to fourth century BC and the time of Alexander the Great in Greece. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins