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View Full Version : Curves, Twists & Bends - Annette Wellings



mamamax
03-21-2010, 03:39 PM
I've spent a lot of money putting together my scoliosis library - this little book (published this year out of the UK), for under $20, proves to be one of the most valuable - and I think deserves a thread of its own. It is written by Pilaties instructor Annette Wellings who has quite a significant 36 degree right throacic /60 degree left thoracolumbar curvature pattern. Co-written by Alan Herdmann, a master Pilaties teacher who introduced Pilates to the UK back in the 1970's.

It's subtitled: A Practical Guide to Pilates for Scoliosis ... it could just as easily be subtitled: A Practical Guide to Living with Scoliosis (whether or not one has had surgery). The author has not reduced her curvature - but she has vastly improved changes in her posture, alignment, spinal flexibility, rib cage protrusion, muscle tone & strength, while reducing pain and discomfort levels. Good enough for me ;-) Maybe NSF could take a took at this and possibly add it to their bookstore.

The 34 easy to understand exercises cover a broad spectrum and from my experience, I can easily recognize not only the Pilates influence but also the Schroth, Yoga, and Alexander methods. They are designed for anyone including modifications for specific curvature patterns relative to convexity/concavity - along with derotation guidelines. Some of the Schroth exercises in this book are exactly as was taught to me by my brace provider - and the breathing techniques are very easy to understand in the way this author explains them.

This book helps one to understand their individual condition - the information regarding the wide variation of curvature types and corresponding rotation of the spine is written in a clear and easy to understand way ... the best I've ever seen in that regard. There is also an easy to understand page about determining cobb angle - if one reads a little between the lines - it shows why there can be such a difference in readings. Truly not an exact science!

One of the more compelling chapters has to deal with the psychology of the condition and how it may be influenced by stressful social and/or emotional situations. Of great interest to me, was discussion of muscle structure - and how to re-educate what the author terms "bossy" muscle blocks. Information which better helped me understand the straping of my brace which I can now see is designed to tone down the over firing on one side and encourage the muscle firing of the other, which is working - now I know why :-)

Domo Arigato (a thanks unending) to Daily Strength for recommending this book - very informative, easy and quick read.

Anyone else working with this book?

flerc
03-21-2010, 06:56 PM
There is also an easy to understand page about determining cobb angle - if one reads a little between the lines - it shows why there can be such a difference in readings. Truly not an exact science!



Last Thursday I had a rude discussion with the GPR Physio that is treating my daughter since 1 year ago. She believe that last x-ray is under 50 and not 56 as I measured by myself and said me that I don't know how to measure Cobb angles and that surgeon's measure (exactly the same value, measured in the same way, also as others surgeons did) is wrong.
I feel a great respect for her as everyone who knows she (even professionals from other disciplines), but I told her that only a criminal could be a surgeon without knows how to measure that angle and I have ever read the same definition even in books, telling about take into account the two vertebras more slope towards the concavity. Nothing more clear and simply could be defined. Instead she told me about a criteria I did not understand at all and seemed to me very ambiguous. I told her that the most important definition in scoliosis should to be precise, but she was sure about she said and we finished in bad terms..
Could you transcript something of this book? Could it be considered a serious source in that matter?

Thanks in advance!

mamamax
03-21-2010, 09:28 PM
Like yourself, and many others here - I've read a ton of articles concerning cobb angle measurement, some in seemingly complex language, and others like the book I'm reading now, quite simple. It was very frustrating to me when I first discovered that cobb angle measurement is not an exact/precise science, the error rate can be between 5-10 degrees depending on different "readers."

While reviewing the simple definition offered in this book it dawned on me that this is largely due to the fact that choice of vertebrae can be highly subjective and secondly because there is no universal mathematically precise position involved in protractor placement.

We have an archived forum thread which can help explain all this far better than me: http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/archive/index.php/t-6208.html

joyfull
03-21-2010, 10:06 PM
Mamamax, I recently had a trial session with a Pilates instructor who said that she could help my scoliosis so that I might not need the surgery. I have a 90 degree thoracic curve. One of the moves she showed me was a crunch type movement which was felt like it was compressing my ribcage. She also had me stretch way over on both sides, even the convex side, which really felt wrong. She said that everything she does is "balanced." I didn't listen to my intuition when I went to Clear Institute and my scoliosis worsened. Now I don't feel like going back to this instructor.

And yet I've heard that Pilates can help scoliosis. Do you have any other recommendations? Thanks, Joy

flerc
03-21-2010, 10:33 PM
Thanks mamamax, I'll read it. I'll try to get that book too.
I think is all a matter of definition. If it is clear as the ones I have read, the selection of vertebras should to be clear too, Maths has not ambiguity.
Of course selecting different vertebras leads to different values. But once lines are drawn, depending on the kind of protector, the way to use it, is always the same.

Pooka1
03-22-2010, 05:26 AM
Thanks mamamax, I'll read it. I'll try to get that book too.
I think is all a matter of definition. If it is clear as the ones I have read, the selection of vertebras should to be clear too, Maths has not ambiguity.
Of course selecting different vertebras leads to different values. But once lines are drawn, depending on the kind of protector, the way to use it, is always the same.

Correcto. :)

Once the lines are drawn, there is only one correct way to use the protractor and everyone doing it correctly will get the same answer at that point.

The variability comes ENTIRELY in the line drawing, choice of vertebrae, etc..

mamamax
03-22-2010, 06:04 AM
Mamamax, I recently had a trial session with a Pilates instructor who said that she could help my scoliosis so that I might not need the surgery. I have a 90 degree thoracic curve. One of the moves she showed me was a crunch type movement which was felt like it was compressing my ribcage. She also had me stretch way over on both sides, even the convex side, which really felt wrong. She said that everything she does is "balanced." I didn't listen to my intuition when I went to Clear Institute and my scoliosis worsened. Now I don't feel like going back to this instructor.

And yet I've heard that Pilates can help scoliosis. Do you have any other recommendations? Thanks, Joy

Joyfull - very good that you posted this - I should have taken some time to mention that the author of this book stresses that if someone seeks out pilaties, that they should seek out an instructor with experience with scoliosis. Pilaties totally needs to be modified for scoliosis. Someone here in forum once said if an exercise feels wrong - it probably is wrong. I would agree with that.

Your experience reminds me of a well meaning ER doc (years ago) who thought I had a dislocated rib. His trying to fix that about caused me to pass out. I've often wondered if that little experience didn't cause some long term harm.

I took another look through the exercises in this book and don't see anything like the one you describe - in fact, they all look really benign and "gentle." Of course, with any exercise - if it doesn't feel right, or hurts .. wise advise to avoid it - regardless of who suggests it. The author, who has scoliosis herself, doesn't promise anything and openly admits that her exercise program has not reduced her curvature but rather improved flexibility, posture and muscle strength while reducing pain levels.

No, I really don't have any other suggestions to offer. Adult bracing has proven very beneficial for me - I do not know that this would prove beneficial for everyone ... we all share a common condition but remain quite unique in what helps and what doesn't.

What I liked about this book was its simplicity and gentle exercises offered along with some common sense suggestions for everyday living with scoliosis. I didn't feel so alone after reading it, and also felt more motivated to begin an exercise program that wouldn't hurt me.

flerc - You are welcome - please do not buy this book to learn more about cobb angle ... you will learn more in the NSF thread I referenced :-)

flerc
03-23-2010, 09:21 AM
flerc - You are welcome - please do not buy this book to learn more about cobb angle ... you will learn more in the NSF thread I referenced :-)


Thanks Mamamax! In fact I also want to get it because its interesting for me whatever could say a therapist with more degrees than my daughter has.
I have not read much for that thread yet, but I think that should to exists the article that Cobb wrote when he defined that angle. Its logical to suppose that all surgeons follow that definition, so there could be not any confusion if we could get it.

Regards

mamamax
03-23-2010, 02:38 PM
flerc - You are welcome & I hope you will enjoy the book :-)

Regarding Cobb angles. Yes, it would seem that measuring should be a precise error free art. Here's an excerpt from a book called Scoliosis Surgery that is sold at the NSF bookstore:



Be aware that the Cobb method is not an exact science. It is prone to human error. One possible error is selecting the wrong vertebrae as the end-points for the top and bottom of the structural curve. An orthopedist may also make small errors in drawing straight lines or in using a protractor or other tool to measure the angle, thus resulting in an inaccurate angle estimation. In addition, the structural measurement of your curvature may be slightly off due to factors beyond the control of the orthopedist, such as precisely how straight you were standing when the x-ray was taken, or even muscle fatigue that can slightly increase your curvature temporarily.

With these points in mind, you should consider the measurement of your curve to be a good approximation, realizing that the actual curve may vary by a few degrees. According to a study done by the Scoliosis Research Society, differences in measurement by a particular orthopedist of an identical x-ray may vary over time by as much as 5 degrees, while differences in measurement between orthopedists may vary by as much as 10 degrees.