Health

Can you manage your scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition which I am personally hugely passionate about. Scoliosis is most prominent in teenagers, and particularly for the young girls. And as a parent, I can’t imagine what it’s like to realize, and to be sat in the room when you get the diagnosis that your child has scoliosis. And it’s potentially even worse when you head home and you start to look, start to search around on scoliosis, and try to dig out more and more information.

This is because a Google search for scoliosis does not offer a huge amount of hope. Scoliosis is interesting to me because on one end of the spectrum, it is so mild that the vast majority of people probably wouldn’t even pick it up. I’m sure myself, and other health professionals, consider ourselves fairly knowledgeable on this, will see people with scoliosis and not really pick up on exactly what we’re looking at. Yet on the other end of the spectrum, scoliosis is a hugely significant, and hugely severe condition, which does require major corrective surgery.

But the most disappointing thing is, we don’t really understand enough about scoliosis. We don’t know why it happens. We don’t really know how to correct it. We don’t have a cure for scoliosis. And what I want to do, at JT Ethos is offer people information. Offer patients, carers, moms, and dads,  the chance to understand a little bit more about the condition, and to understand what some of the options may be. I would imagine that from the initial diagnosis, right the way through to the time in which you pick your approach to it, and how you want to go through, you’re probably going to investigate, and you’re probably going to take action with several different approaches.

JT Ethos treats scoliosis differently

What we offer here at JT Ethos is a non-invasive, non-surgical, exercise-based approach to managing scoliosis. As I said, there is no cure for it. And depending on how severe the curves are, and depending on how far the case has gone, then some people we won’t be able to work with, and others we will. But even those people who are preparing for surgery, and have had surgery, would be well advised to consider how they manage their body because whether you have surgery or not. And even if you specifically, if you do have surgery, then how you look after the rest of your spine that hasn’t been operated on, is just as important as the operation that you have, and what happens to the area of the spine that has been operated on.

An exercise-based approach to scoliosis focuses on maintaining the flexibility of the spine. And in our instance, all the other joints that surround it, so the shoulders are important, the neck is important, the hips and the pelvis are important. It also focuses on trying to counteract the tightening and the shortening of the muscles that are on the wrong side of the curve, so that the muscles on the inside of the curves are going to be tighter than the muscles on the outside of the curves. And our form of exercise, which is corrective exercise, is really, really well suited to addressing that.

Nobody truly understands scoliosis

Now, we don’t really understand what the key drivers, because nobody really understands what the key drivers of scoliosis are. Then, to actually say that you can fix it, and you can unwind those curves, is taking things too far. But I have had in my experience, some really, really good results at reducing curves slightly. And even more than that, in actually reducing pain levels. With our clients over the years, for whose curves have changed in bits, and smaller amounts, their pain, their discomfort, their stiffness levels, have reduced really quite remarkably. And that’s one of the most encouraging aspects of the exercise-based approach.

You do have an awful lot of options to actually help yourself manage the condition on a day-to-day basis. The difficult thing with scoliosis, is it will only work for the amount of time that you’re going to do it. But in some respects, that’s no different to every human being. Every human being we work with, the minute they stop taking proactive care of their health, their health reverts backwards. And scoliosis clients are no different to that. But perhaps the impact of them reducing their work and their diligence comes on that much quicker than it does for other people without scoliosis.

Quite frankly, I can’t sugar-coat this. I can’t sugar-coat this at all. But if you have scoliosis, you’re going to need to work at your spinal flexibility, and your whole-body flexibility and stability for the rest of your life. That is unfortunately the cards that you’ve been dealt. But what we can help with is make that part of who you are. Help you make that part of your life, and come to terms with why you’re doing it, and how you’re doing it. And keep it varied, and enjoyable, and keep you moving forward. But also give you the knowledge of perhaps how to do it yourself.

How you manage your scoliosis is up to you

There is always a question with any type of approach is, is it worth it? Is it worth the effort? Is it worth the time? Is it worth the money? And quite frankly, it’s not my position to tell you is it worth it. It’s got to speak to your values, to what you want for yourself, what you want for your child, if you’re researching for a child. And how you want to go about this. One thing I would say, it’s an exercise-based option, it’s not irreversible. Surgery’s irreversible. And there’s no reason why you can’t try an exercise-based approach before surgery. And if you don’t get the success that you want, or you need, then surgery could be an option afterwards.

I do appreciate that for some patients that surgery’s time-critical, to do with in terms of where the spine is at, and how the patient is developing. But generally speaking, a non-surgical approach, an exercise-based approach to scoliosis can always be done before and after surgery. And can be repeated multiple times. You don’t do that and you take other options off the table. Therefore, for me, and how I see the world, and exercise-based approach is probably something I would want to consider early on in my approach to this, rather than leave it to lastly approach.

But fundamentally, as I said at the start, for those people who are in the scoliosis world, perhaps having just found out that this is something that’s come into their lives, our offer is to give you a bit of hope. Help you understand it a little bit more, and give you some of the options are available to you, and help you through the journey. And to do that we’d be very happy to spend a bit of time with you. So if you live around Birmingham, pick up the phone on 0121 580 9598, fill out the form on the contact page, and we will very happily try, and help you along through this part of your journey.