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View Full Version : New here, but not to Scoliosis...., How I reduced my curvature by 50%....



Rilla4Ever
04-16-2005, 02:17 PM
Hey everyone,

I'm afraid I have been lurking on here a while, before I actually got around to posting!!! :o

I guess a formal introduction would be useful: - My name is Erika, I'm 18 and come from Suffolk, UK.

And here is my story (it is written in the format of 3 articles; the first 2 have been published in Backbone Magazine (SAUK) and the 3rd is due for publication in there this May): -

Exercise Can & Does Help Scoliosis!!! - Part I
In 1997 around my 11th birthday my mother noticed a slight hump on my right shoulder when I bent forwards. We consulted our GP who dismissed it saying that he had seen a lot worse and not to worry. My mother consulted the Internet and thought maybe I had Marfan’s syndrome – she persuaded our GP to refer me to Dr Child, who said I had not got Marfan’s but scoliosis, which should be carefully monitored. It was not.
A year later and our local GP still would not believe that there was any urgency in my condition but mum went into action and we saw an orthopaedic surgeon. He said my Cobb angle was 34º and it was a case for immediate bracing. I wore a Boston brace for 2 years. He then said I should discontinue wearing it since I had stopped growing and if there was any sign of deterioration to return.
After a year mum said the hump was definitely bigger. She consulted back issues of Backbone and found a book of exercises written by Susan Swire. I wrote to Susan and she told me about the Katharina Schroth Klinik in Germany which specializes in physiotherapy treatment for spinal disorders but mainly scoliosis.
Unfortunately there is a 9-month waiting list for treatment at this huge German clinic. Through them we found that not just Germany, but in many countries throughout the continent, treatment based on the Schroth system is given together with bracing of a totally different type.

Before Dr Rigo accepted me as a patient I had to convince him that I am sufficiently self-motivated to not only overcome the language barrier but also to carry out his exercise regime for life.
When I entered his clinic I was filled with hope and optimism. Here was a man who was totally dedicated to the rehabilitation of Scoliotic patients. He cannot understand why Britain and America do not use the Katharina Schroth system. A lot of research has shown that rehabilitation does work.

I feel that this method of treatment should be the new way forward for treating all Scoliosis, whether large or small and that for anybody who wishes to avoid the trauma of an operation it is certainly worthwhile to investigate this tried, tested and non-invasive form of Scoliotic treatment that has proved to work for myself and many others of all ages.

Exercise Can & Does Help Scoliosis!!! - Part II
Many SAUK readers have contacted me wishing to know more about the treatment and from their response it is clear that there is great interest in this method. I was very pleased that our progressive editors have published an article by Dr Weiss, head of the Schroth Klinik in Germany (SAUK No. 68) and to read the success story by Geoffrey and Anna Walker. It underlines the fact that there are alternative methods of treatment and it is good to know that SAUK is helping to keep us informed.

I revisited Dr Rigo’s clinic this summer for a check-up and adjustment to my exercise regime. During my 1st session of rehabilitacion treatment (Summer 2002) I halved my curve from 42 degrees to 21 degrees. When Dr Rigo re-measured me this Summer 2003 I was comfortably reassured to hear him say that my correction had been maintained and my hard work and diligence in doing the exercises had been repaid. (See My Website (http://www.erikamaude.com) for photos to substantiate these measurements.)

I believe that I am living proof that the Katharina Schroth method works and is a viable alternative for people wishing to avoid an operation.
No curve is too big or too small and no person too old to be treated successfully with rehabilitacion. For example I met at the clinic a woman who had a very severe curvature and who had been told her scoliosis was beyond being treated with an operation. Prior to her treatment with Dr Rigo she was unable to carry out simple day-to-day tasks, work or travel alone. Having received the treatment and by doing extensive exercises she is now able to lead a normal life, work, travel alone and is improving all the time. Last year I shared a class with a 28 yr old who had a severe lumbar curve and this improved noticeably after 4 weeks of intensive training. 18 adolescent girls and boys were also there for the 4-week course and they all showed significant improvement by the end of the course.

It must be emphasized that rehabilitacion requires discipline and self-motivation. There can be no lasting benefit without diligent regular practise. It can only help those who are prepared to help themselves. It was all very well my mother arranging to take me to the clinic but it would have been a complete waste of time, money and effort on everybody’s part had I not put in my share of the work which involves getting up half an hour earlier to do my exercises. No one can make you do this and no one can do it for you. It has to come from your own desire to succeed.

I would love to hear from anyone who is interested in exploring alternative routes for treating scoliosis or who have success stories of their own.

Exercise Can & Does Help Scoliosis!!! - Part III
Living Proof
Having reduced my curve from 42 – 21 degrees and having maintained that improvement for 3 years now I believe at 18 years old I am living proof that rehabilitation based on the Katharina Schroth method does work. My back is straight and strong. My own experience and that of others proves that a personal exercise plan carried out regularly and conscientiously is a successful alternative to the operation. Indeed rehabilitation is the treatment of choice in several European countries.

Dr Rigo has assured me that if I continue with my present exercise regime my curve will not increase and I will never need the operation.

Following the publication of my first article in Backbone no 67 I received so many emails that answering them was interfering with school work so I decided that the answer was to build a website and at the same time to incorporate details of various treatment methods both conventional and alternative that have worked for others as well as FAQs about rehabilitation treatment. This has been a huge success I now receive 400 unique visitors per month and frequently receive emails complimenting me on the comprehensive coverage of Scoliosis on my site. However the downside is when I visited Dr Rigo last autumn he asked me to stop giving out details of his clinic because he simply cannot treat more patients.

As I walked down the Del Portal de L’Angel eating my sorbet that evening I felt so sorry for all those people who would not be able to have the treatment. Then I had an idea. I would open a clinic in England to teach others the exercises based on the Katharina Schroth method! Back in the hotel later that evening I told my parents my plan and that I also want to eventually help people who are financially disadvantaged to have this treatment too. They were very enthusiastic and 100% behind me. Next day I shyly asked Dr Rigo what he thought of the possibility of my opening a clinic like his in England. He told me that if anyone could do it successfully it was myself and with characteristic generosity he promised to personally train the staff and give all the technical assistance and expertise necessary.

For more information see www.erikamaude.com

Erika Maude
www.erikamaude.com (http://www.erikamaude.com)

PS. Big apologies for the length of this post, I just hope it helps other Scoliosis peeps out there who want to avoid the operation as much as I did!!!

PPS. I have also posted this in the adolescents' section because I feel it fits in both. :)

Karen Ocker
04-16-2005, 03:10 PM
Here is the link for abstracts on this treatment at the German clinic from the National Library of Medicine translated from German.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?CMD=search&DB=pubmed Type in Schroth scoliosis in the query.

They use early, intensive bracing with physiotherapy, for smaller curves in young adolescents. The program is rigorous and some people still need surgery.

Karen

Danite
04-22-2005, 09:19 AM
This is good news, as a individual with severe scolisosis and a complete spinal fusion, I would and do recommend serious consideration of any proven alternative treatment other then surgery. Which is mostly permanent and risky at best, and usually reguires further surgery. Being in, or having experience with the so called Medical Model, I have not been very satisfied or impressed with Surgeons or the hospitals that act like God, or say they have the final solution.
Surgery is too final!, and you give that person or persons control of your life, (IF) you have the financial or family resources available to consider alternative treatment, do so. It is the best way to go, after saying this, many individuals including myself have had spinal surgery, and now face further surgery, again and again. It is a personal thing, and should never be taken lightly, consider the alternatives first. We may correct the scoliosis, but it never goes away..a brother in pain but free.

SingingYogini
06-23-2005, 01:11 PM
Hi, I just joined the board.

I was diagnosed with a thoracic curve of 28 degrees at age 12. My family and I went to a different doctor for a second opinion because the first wanted to put me on a brace, and like a typical preteen all I could think about was the girls' locker room in P.E. class and how horrible it was going to be. The second doctor wanted to observe my curve over the course of six months (measuring every month) to see if it worsened, because he said (this was 1986) that "there was no point in a brace if it's not getting worse. a brace will only stop a progression, not reverse it." In retrospect I probably could have backed it up farther if I had been brave enough to have the brace, but my curve did not progress, so our new doctor put me on an exercise regimen of weight training the laterals and obliques on only one side of my body, to literally "pull the curve straighter."

Well, the immediate objective was achieved: my lateral curve was backed up to 18 degrees. Nothing could be done for the twisting of the ribcage, but backing up the degree of curvature was enough for us!

Now my scoliosis is only really noticeable when I am in a bathing suit or other tigh clothing; my upper torso looks much thicker viewed from one angle than from the other, because of the protrusion of the right back ribs.

However, when I began to pick up a yoga practice in earnest I discovered all sorts of mobility issues in the upper body which simply weren't in evidence in everyday life or other forms of exercise. While not as extreme as spinal fusion, I feel it's self-explanatory that the extreme manipulation of my muscles at such a young age probably contributed to the stiffness I have in the thoracic area now. But, what can you do. I backed up my curve and got to avoid the brace!

Unfortunately, since becoming an adult I have never had particularly good health insurance because of my profession (performing arts) and I would love to get my curve checked out but simply can't afford it.

My yoga practice helps greatly - I don't really have any genuine pain from my scoliosis, but stiffness and discomfort sometimes occur.

Celia
06-23-2005, 01:26 PM
... so our new doctor put me on an exercise regimen of weight training the laterals and obliques on only one side of my body, to literally "pull the curve straighter." Well, the immediate objective was achieved: my lateral curve was backed up to 18 degrees. Nothing could be done for the twisting of the ribcage, but backing up the degree of curvature was enough for us!




Hi SingingYogini....

What side of the curve did you exercise with weight training, the concave side ?



Celia

HAnn521
06-23-2005, 01:49 PM
Erika-
I have also written an article about my pesonal story (posted today in Diagnostic Procedures)...I would like to get it published...do you think that Backbone Magazine would be interested in this? I have a college degree in Journalism, so I am a proffessional and educated writer. Please tell me what you think....and nice to meet you!
-HAnn521

Shaun26
06-27-2005, 09:34 AM
so our new doctor put me on an exercise regimen of weight training the laterals and obliques on only one side of my body, to literally "pull the curve straighter."

Well, the immediate objective was achieved: my lateral curve was backed up to 18 degrees. Nothing could be done for the twisting of the ribcage, but backing up the degree of curvature was enough for us!

It's nice to see that specific weight training had that effect. It's what I'm trying right now with my curve and I only work out one side. I work out doing exercises that focus on these muscles groups:


http://www.exrx.net/Muscles/TrapeziusMiddle.html
http://www.exrx.net/Muscles/TrapeziusLower.html

to pull my 20 degree curve which is located in the thoracic area back into place. Only working out one side of the body.

It has alleviated some discomfort. Part of the problem is that no matter how hard you try you end up working out additional muscles that you don't intend to. Still it's worth a try.

It just goes to show you that the muscles play probably the most significant role in the shifting of a normal spine. They are after all the largest and strongest tissue there.

Shaun26
06-27-2005, 09:36 AM
Erika-
I have also written an article about my pesonal story (posted today in Diagnostic Procedures)...I would like to get it published...do you think that Backbone Magazine would be interested in this? I have a college degree in Journalism, so I am a proffessional and educated writer. Please tell me what you think....and nice to meet you!
-HAnn521

Why not post it here too? Is it a success story?

Shaun26
06-27-2005, 09:45 AM
If anybody else wild mild scoliosis is planning on doing weight training I would recommend you do some searches on the internet to see which type of training works out which types of muscles. Just some basic anatomy. And if you're still unsure, go to a gym instructor and/or doctor for the answers to your questions.