View Full Version : Back after two-and-a-half years

1st December 2008, 04:38 PM
Time flies. I didn't realise it had been over two years since I found and first posted on this website. It coincided with me jump starting my journey to try and do something myself for my horribly scoliotic but completely untreated spine. In that time I've tried osteopathy, yoga, Feldenkrais and tai chi. My ambition, which I hope is realistic, is to stop things getting worse and to find a way to avoid needing surgery or pain-relieving drugs or becoming immobile. I accept that my physical profile isn't great-looking (pigeon chest and impossible-to-straighten-out hump), but I can live with it. I just want to get myself on the path of knowing that I have some degree of control over stopping my hump getting worse or painful by being body aware and developing good muscle tone.

The yoga (Iyengar school) has been really good. Feel it's strengthened both my weaker shoulder, which is by the apex of the hump, as well as the stronger, concave side (if that makes sense). I was starting to get pain in the opposite hip to the humped shoulder and guessed that it would be helped by working on the spine to get the pelvis in a straight line. That's worked really well. I'm pleased. Hope it means I won't get arthritis in it now (or, at least, not so badly or so early).

Tai chi has (particularly the warm up exercises) really worked my shoulders and got me able to stand in a way which cuts out the lordotic stance. I feel upper body strength is key for me keeping the curve as stable as possible (I'm diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos III).

Feldenkrais feels suspiciously easy at the time, but I'm sticking with it as I'm getting unexpected insights into my neck being much stiffer when I turn my head (when lying on floor) towards my humped shoulder. Philosophy of it is about finding a way of to make movements easy - you're allowed to work around problems and use strong muscles to compensate for weak ones. Put in a very simplified way, the idea is that any increased mobility is a good thing and eventually the weak muscles might get stronger.

Pilates has fallen by the wayside for now - I just don't have time for everything. I'd definitely consider going back to it.

Osteopathy also fell by the wayside - it was prohibitively expensive as it was one-to-one. I felt the exercises I was taught didn't justify the cost and I felt very little improvement. The osteopath was very nice and I don't think it is just a case of needing to find another practitioner.

I do get some funny aches and pains which I didn't before I started these exercises a couple of years ago. Not sure if it's my age (43) or because I'm now starting to work atrophied muscles more effectively. Nothing too terrible yet. I've also noticed the skin on my back getting very itchy during back stretching exercise and wondered if this was a sign of muscles, nerves and blood vessels registering a change. I certainly am not worried about it but am curious to know if anyone reading this experiences the same.

Also feel my face is looking much more symmetrical these days. I felt I went round with my head at an angle to balance my tilted spine and I'm conscious to try and remedy this. I even tilt my head over in the opposite way to the one which felt so comfortable before to try and realign myself. This is all a result of what I've read and learnt in my yoga lessons.

Still so pleased I've never had surgery for my kyphosis. When I read about improvements in all kinds of fields of surgical techniques - eg laser eye surgery, joint replacement - as well as spinal fusion it just makes me all the more determined to leave things for as long as possible to gain from new advances. I'm doing my best to keep informed of developments and experiences with surgery and don't completely rule it out as a last resort. I've started to realise that it's going to help me keep my spine straight if I can find a way to get my breastbone straighter (hope that makes sense - I mean straightening out my pigeon chest). I watch ballet dancers at work and see that it is possible to isolate and control the muscles on the front ribcage, albeit more difficult than controlling those on the back).