Saturday, February 13, 2010

Scoliosis, back pain, exercise, surgery and Egoscue

Scoliosis is defined as an abnormal curvature of the spine when viewed from the front or back. It typically looks like this:

The Mayo Clinic states: “Doctors don’t know what causes the most common type of scoliosis…” but they do know that it most often occurs during a growth spurt. Scoliosis can cause lung, heart and back problems including arthritis and degeneration. The Mayo Clinic says typical treatments are braces and surgery and states “physical therapy exercises can’t stop scoliosis.” WebMD states “there is no evidence that corrective exercises, electrical stimulation, or chiropractic manipulation are effective treatments for scoliosis.”

But is that really true?

Can exercise or more specifically posture correction exercises effect scoliosis?

You tell me. Here is a woman’s photo of normal relaxed standing before Egoscue:

Here is the same woman 1 1/2 hours later after Egoscue:

What do you think?

Do you think Egoscue exercises can affect scoliosis?

Do you think Egoscue might be able to stop the progression of scoliosis?

Do you think it could start reversing scoliosis?

Now let’s explore why. First thing to remember is bones don’t move bones. Muscles move bones. We all know this. Most treatments for scoliosis focus on the bones, but we all know the bones are only doing what the muscles are telling them to do. Fix the muscle imbalances and the bones will follow. Another way to look at it is: form follows function. Restore the function to the muscles and the form of the bones and joints changes. This is what Egoscue focuses on.

Another important thing to remember is the spine doesn’t function all on it’s own. So treatments focused on the spine alone will not create long term change. Why is this? Well the spine is balanced on top of the pelvis and the spine is reacting to what the shoulder blades are doing. Take a look at the first image in this post. Notice how they pointed out the uneven shoulders and hips? That’s key. Those imbalances have to be addressed in order for the spine to change position and stay in a better position. Now look at the “before” photos earlier in this post. Notice again the uneven shoulders and hips?

The Egoscue routine of exercises we designed for our example here was basically going after the imbalanced hip and shoulder position and letting the spine react to that. And quite a reaction we got! Now in order for her posture to maintain this new beautiful position she must continue to do her Egoscue menu of e-cises on a daily basis to change her muscle memory. When she does this, long term change is not only possible, it has to happen.

When thinking about scoliosis, there are several key points to remember:

  1. Bones do what muscles tell them to do.
  2. The body functions as a unit.
  3. Scoliosis, or the curve of the spine, is reacting to the hips and shoulders.
  4. Specific exercises designed for an individuals unique imbalances will create positive change.
  5. It’s never to late.
Matt Whitehead
Egoscue Portland

No comments: