”I myself have a scoliosis, it’s 28 degrees in my lower back and I have a curve going the other way in my upper back. Because of this, I have been researching scoliosis for over 25 years. I’ve taken a deep dive and read everything there is to read, seen every professional and taken every course I can find. Here’s what I’ve discovered…there is very little useful, easy to apply information out there. The information is either completely wrong, or very difficult to apply. We’re here to change all of that.Dr. Laina Shulman
Did something happen that caused your scoliosis?
The honest answer is “maybe”. There seems to be a connection between certain traumas that occur in a growing spine and scoliosis, and certainly poor postural positions don’t help. However it’s unclear as to why scoliosis occurs. We know that it appears to have a hereditary component, is more common in girls vs. boys and worsens during growth spurts.
Does scoliosis hurt?
Your spine is designed to stack like blocks to supports your weight, while your muscles allow you you move. When your spine is curved the vertebrae no longer stack on top of each other. It can no longer provide you with the same support, so muscles have to work much harder to compensate. As well, the lungs, digestive tract and other organs often don’t have as much room due to the curve leading to a number of possible issues including:
- Tense and strained muscles
- Misaligned and “locked up” vertebrae and ribs
- Posture issues
- Pinched nerves
- Significant differences in strength from left to right
- Balance issues
- The desire to “pop” your spine yourself a great deal
- Inability to take a deep breathe
- Digestive issues
How can we help?
First and foremost we conduct an exam and send you for an x-ray to determine the extent of your scoliosis. Very often the muscles have been compensating for so long that it appears worse than it actually is. There’s no way to truly know the extent of the scoliosis without an x-ray.
During the exam we’ll determine if your spine and ribs have become “locked”. This is extremely common for anyone who has a scoliosis and has never been adjusted.
Most of our patients are amazed at how much their pain disappears once this is corrected. It allows them the freedom to move again, breathe deeper and of course eliminates tension and pain.
The next step is to teach you the correct exercises to ensure your issues don’t return. So many people with scoliosis use their body in an unbalanced way that has developed over time. We’ll teach you how to change these habits.
This often includes posture exercises, stretching and strengthening. We’ll show you how to strengthen your “weaker side”, building resilience and stability.
When I was first diagnosed with scoliosis I was so worried that I’d look deformed, and live a life of limitation and pain. But thankfully, that’s not been my experience.
I’ve given birth to 2 children naturally, am advanced at pilates, enjoy jumping on a trampoline and have a very active job. But yes, I continue to do my exercises to maintain my spine. These exercises are simple and do not take long -they have become part of my daily routine.
What are the main goals of care for patients with a scoliosis?
1. Increased function and decreased pain
When the spinal joints become unlocked you ‘ll notice how much easier it is to move and breathe. The tension muscle aches that often accompany a scoliosis will be alleviated.
2. Increased strength and decreased instability
Learning specific exercises to balance your muscles improves quality of life and long-term outcomes for scoliosis. Increased strength may not completely stop the progression of a scoliosis during adolescent growth spurts, but it’s the key to keeping it from getting worse later in life.
3. Greater body awareness
Do you pop one hip out, slouch due to the ache in your upper back or stand with your head tipped to one side? We tend to fall into habits that exacerbate our scoliosis. Whether it’s better sleep positions or proper desk posture… becoming conscious of how you’re using your body and learning to correct these habits goes a long way to help you feel your best.
Learn how to take care of your scoliosis to ensure it doesn’t hold you back.
Schedule an appointment with one of our doctors today.
The videos below will provide you with a few stretches that are ideal for scoliosis and some steps to determine if you may have a scoliosis (without an Xray, which is the only way know for certain).