”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 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
What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of your spine when viewed from the back. Most people with scoliosis have a “rotational” component…meaning their spine twists as it bends. Picture the spiral motion of wringing out a dish towel, that’s similar to the pattern in many cases of scoliosis.
Did something happen that caused it? 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.
Why does scoliosis hurt?
Your spine is designed to stack in a way that supports your weight, while your muscles make you move. When your spine is curved 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 do 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 areas of your spine and ribs have become “locked” or “pinched”. This is extremely common with anyone who has a scoliosis ad 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 crucial 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
What are the main goals of care?
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 as you stand, slouch due to the ache in your upper back or always lean your head 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.
Learning how to take care of your scoliosis is key to ensuring it doesn’t hold you back. Book in today to ensure for a spinal check up to ensure you are reaching your ultimate health potential .