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Thread: Scoliosis cured by "bar hanging"

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    46

    Scoliosis cured by "bar hanging"

    OK, OK, so I lied. I just wanted to get your attention and would really like to do some brainstorming about this. It's probably not for those that have already had surgery.

    When I first went to the orthopedic doctor as a child, he said the single best thing I could do was to hang. He said to stand straight and raise your arms up high and install a bar 3" +- above your fingertips. So my dad made me a bar. Whenever I got a little hunched over, I would hang and it would straighten me right up.

    I've been pretty hunched over lately and remembered the bar. Got one of those over-the-door bars and started hanging. Can't do a full hang because of the height of the bar (and I'm not that strong now), so I just bend my knees up to get my feet semi off the ground (if that makes sense). I am definitely not as hunched over as I was.

    This started me thinking. I did a search on here and couldn't find anything. Do we know of any research about this? does anyone else hang? what do you think about it? (It's probably not something a researcher would spend a lot of time on because I can't see it as being profitable.)

    It seems like a logical thing to do. The weight of your body pulling the spine down. It seems that it would be more powerful than some of the other methods. I don't know but would like for us to brainstorm about this.

    Just looking for your thoughts. Thanks for any input.

    dd
    dd
    57 yr. old female
    Pembroke Pines, FL
    No Surgery, No Way, Not Ever, but I reserve the right to change my mind
    2003: rotatory component centered at L1 convexed to the left with a measurement of 68 degrees. Gentle compensatory thoracic curve and a more acute compensatory curve in the lumbar spine at L4-5 Superimposed fairly extensive degenerative change seen in the lumbar spine.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    1,010
    dd,

    Hanging is GREAT for building up stronger muscles, which in turn support the spine. When my son was a toddler (before and after fusion surgery) the PT and ortho suggested to let him hang whenever he wanted. Hanging was very helpful in helping his overall body balance, strengthening the concave (weak) side of his body, etc. It FELT good too! Unless there is a medical reason not to, go for it - hang all you want.
    Carmell
    mom to Kara, idiopathic scoliosis, Blake 19, GERD and Braydon 14, VACTERL, GERD, DGE, VEPTR #137, thoracic insufficiency, rib anomalies, congenital scoliosis, missing coccyx, fatty filum/TC, anal stenosis, horseshoe kidney, dbl ureter in left kidney, ureterocele, kidney reflux, neurogenic bladder, bilateral hip dysplasia, right leg/foot dyplasia, tibial torsion, clubfoot with 8 toes, pes cavus, single umblilical artery, etc. http://carmellb-ivil.tripod.com/myfamily/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    407
    Well I think its just a temporary thing. I know with me I did a lot of hanging. I didn't have a bar, I just hung from door frames and would get in trouble from the dirty fingerprints I left. I could however beat pretty much anyone in the flexed arm hang, I once lasted over 2 minutes.

    I suppose since every one is different it might work in different ways with different people, but I would not think it would do any real fixing of it at all.

    I do wish I had that thing that you can hang from your ankles with though. For me a few minutes of that would be a big help.
    Surgeries July 26th & August 3rd 1983 (12 years old)
    Still have 57 degree curve
    2 Harrington rods
    Luque method used
    Dr David Bradford
    Twin Cities Scoliosis Center
    Preop xray (with brace on)
    Postop xray

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    I guess it couldn't hurt., unless you hung so long that you hurt your shoulders. It just seems a little hokey to me, like the episode of The Brady Bunch where Bobby thought he could get taller by hanging around all day.....
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX
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    1,757
    dd -

    I spent more time hanging upside down (on my inversion bed ... just one of many pre-op torture devices that littered my house ;-) than a bat. My Dad even bought one waaaaay back in the day (like late 70's) hoping it would help me.

    While it felt good, it ~only~ felt good until I returned to an upright position and gravity took control again . I had 2 cervical discs that were constantly protruded 3mm in the months before surgery, and the time I spent upside down was the only temporary relief I could get.

    Carmell's right that as long as it's not medically inadvisable, bar hanging (including Brad's flexed arm hang, and pull-ups) are so beneficial to upper body strength. The flexed arm hang is the least difficult of the two, and most women have an easier time with it (it counts even if you get started on a sturdy stool close to the bar!).

    Kinda humorous story ...

    My son was home on leave in April/May 2008 (just a couple of months post-op for me). I always kept a bar mounted in the doorway to the kitchen so he could keep his PFT (physical fitness test) score up when he went back to duty. I actually felt well enough I almost grabbed the stupid bar too many times to count (at 10 weeks post op!), and every time could just imagine what the HELL I'd tell my surgeon if I tried it and pulled out a screw or two (or 10 - eek!). Without pain, it's easy to forget "That's not such a great idea, ya dolt!" ;-).

    Regards,
    Pam
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op 53, Post-op < 20
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
    EMAIL ME

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
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    3,535
    I didn't have the inversion bed, but I bought the boots. That was back in 1982 when I was living up at Lake Tahoe. I hung a bar up in between the large open beams that we had in this cabin with a pair of large c-clamps. Anyway, one day I was upstairs hanging and one of the clamps let go, and I fell directly on my head. That did wonders for my back and neck! LOL

    Hanging is a good concept. It is beneficial to a certain extent. It will not straighten a scoliotic spine.

    For entertainment purposes, you can get quite a few laughs if you hang with your Dracula suit on.
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    1,291
    I also hung from a bar that my dear dad set up. Any straightening didn't last and I still ended up with a 100deg curve.
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Euharlee, Georgia
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    449
    Back in the old days, when I had my surgery, they had me in traction for a week before my surgery to help straighten me. Then they put me in a body cast with the traction pulling me while I got plastered. I don't know how much it helped, I just remember sliding off the foot of the bed in the hospital. I know now that some doctors say that by hanging upside down, you reverse the effects of gravity. It is supposed to take pressure off of your discs.
    T12- L5 fusion 1975 - Rochester, NY
    2002 removal of bottom of rod and extra fusion
    3/1/11 C5-C6 disc replacement
    Daughter - T7 - L3 fusion 2004

  9. #9
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    Nov 2007
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    Houston, TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by rainbow2010 View Post
    I know now that some doctors say that by hanging upside down, you reverse the effects of gravity. It is supposed to take pressure off of your discs.
    It does, temporarily ... until you return to upright position. A 15 minutes reprieve (even several times a day) from gravity has no long term effect. It's not a "reversal" at all ... it's merely a short break.
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op 53, Post-op < 20
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
    EMAIL ME

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    20

    Hanging Bar - Gravity based exercises

    I was diagnosed with scoliosis about 1.5 years ago at about age 46. I went to have a bone density check and xray since my hips and lower back were hurting all the time. It was becoming difficult to walk long distances and I was starting to avoid doing so. I am in relatively good shape and very thin so I personally expected that I had osteoporosis. My xrays were terrifying - my spine looked like a scarey snake - bending to the left at the bottom and to the right at the top.. After learning about the situation, I noticed that my waistline profile (sides) was almost completely straight on one side and had a very pronounced bend on the other - How I never noticed that before is quite amazing. The doctor checked my blood for everything under the sun, said the cause is unknown and it must have been developing for years. He recommended nothing and said that if it got real bad (interferred with my breathing!) there would be bracing and/or surgery. The nurse gave me a printout of some standard back injury exercises - and told me to come back in 6 months for a follow up to see how my pain was doing. I do not plan to return - since there is nothing medical causing the curvature and I'm no longer in pain, why pay the copay. The initial screening was very good though to rule out any diseases that could be causing the problem.

    For a while I did the yoga for scoliosis CD. But, I'm not real in tune with my body, cannot remember which way is the right and left, etc, cannot follow the program when told to bend in a certain direction - so, I was afraid I might actually do damage. Then, I figured I would buy a Gold's Gym bar that fits on a standard door frame with no tools (on sale at family dollar for $12.00) and let gravity help out. I use it everyday (sometimes twice) faithfully. I hang from it and swing laterally side to side (gently) 30 times - letting my feet brush against the door frame with each swing (at first I could only hold on long enough for about 5 times). Then, I bring my knees 1/2 way to my chest and hold for a few seconds 5 times. This feels great and is an incredible stretch! Also, I have purchased Weider's version of the Total Gym (for ab. 1/4 of the price from Amazon) and lay on my back and pull myself up to the top 30 times - with the bed slanted as high as it goes (also at least 1-2 times a day). This also is an incredible stretch and makes your upper body look great (just a side benefit).

    I have not been back to the doc for an xray, but my waistline is obviously more even. One (just one) of my ribs on the right side used to bulge out a bit (also, never noticed until after the diagnosis) and now I don't see it - my ribs seem noticeably more semetrical.. My overall health has also improved and I now regularly ride my bike as well (10 miles today ). I have virtually no or very little occassional pain.

    Anyway, this is NOT scientific at all, but I personally believe my upper body stretching and strengthening routine is helping me. I believe my spine to be straighter but I know it is not completely straight. When I bend over (the bend over test) I do feel it still bends a bit to the left just below where my rib cage starts. I can no longer ascertain a bend at the top - in between my shoulder blades (where I used to be able to). My lower back is thicker on one side (not noticeable to anyone else), but it seems to be a very thick band/cord of muscle, not bone/ribs. I believe this will continue to even out with exercising.

    Technically, if something can bend one way, over time with work, it might bend back... But, I do not expect a miracle (unless God provides it). The fact that I look and feel good is a blessing in itself.

    I believe a long time study on stretching with strengthening (with a bar, slanted gym, and other methods) is very warranted (over years as I don't feel there is a quick fix). If it works at all (even if just for some people), perhaps the experts can fine tune a technique. (Perhaps this is a very mild version of the rolfing technique that I have read about? If you've watched the videos on Youtube, you would know what I mean - it looks sorta dangerous.)

    I will report back in a couple years.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    British Columbia
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    918
    Interestingly enough my husband has suggested putting up a bar (not liquor, lol) in our son's room so he can hang. He says as a kid he had one and used it for all kinds of exercises. Actually he had one when I met him. Definitely going to put one up just to see how things go.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Los Angeles
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    139
    I've been hanging from an inversion table twice a day for just five minutes and it's really helping with the pain. Inversions are also known to help with depression so maybe the results are all in my head, but I'll take it! I realize it's only temporary relief, but what's really great is that if I do it at night then when I get into bed both sides of my back touch the mattress and I sleep MUCH better! I have to believe that this is letting my concave side relax more than usual. I'm working up to full inversion (don't want push it yet), but when I do I may start doing some core strengthening upside down. It's supposed to be great exercise, plus being in that position I imagine you're strengthening from an elongated state, rather than just holding things where they are. Will let you know how it goes when I get there.
    1993, Age 13, 53* Right T Curve w/ Left L compensatory
    2010, Age 30, 63* or 68* (depending on the doc) Right T Curve w/ Left L compensatory

    http://livingtwisted.wordpress.com/

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    93
    We have a bar for my daughter. It helps with pain when she hangs upside down from her knees; does not seem to help when she hangs by her hands.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    3,745
    i think the word "cured" should be in quotes... dont believe it..sorry...

    my husband has an idea that if i moved south of the equator years ago, my scoli curves would have reversed, and straightened out...

    he also believes, as someone on this thread wrote, that what curves one way should be able to be pulled the other way, and then the curve could be straightened....some day, maybe hat will be possible...but not in my lifetime!!

    that said, perhaps "hanging" or inversion tables or gravity boots can help a CHILD get stronger muscles...but i fear that is about all it could do...no "cure" there...

    jess

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    20

    "Cured"

    jrnyc, The initiator of the thread very clearly states she wanted to brainstorm about the subject. No one stated that they found the silver bullet. There is no known cure.

    That being said, I know it has helped me. I can clearly see that my rib cage does not have just one rib protruding like it did and my waistline is more even.. I no longer get tired just from standing for a while. It may be temporary - but, I'm not stopping. Even if it is an exercise routine I must do everyday forever, I am very willing to do it. I plan to continue adding reps and weight to my stretching routine... My spine is deformed and I can only assume if I stop, it will return back to is naturally very cuvey state.. It is not a cure - but it may be a helpful treatment. Everyone's spine is curved for different reasons and for some, doing weight bearing exercises while stretched out might even cause a problem - so everyone must check with a doc. Even, if this works for just a few it is worth telling others.. Since the there is no single cause, we cannot expect that the same thing will be helpful to everyone.

    I personally don't think hanging alone does a whole lot - I believe it is best to stretch and strengthen. In addition to the door bar, I also use the Weider total body works gym - I pull my self up to the top 30 times (with the bed inclined as high as it goes.) This is very difficult but it gets easier and easier. I am literally stretching my back a GREAT DEAL - so make sure your doc is ok with this before trying it yourself. (my spine has no bulging disc, fractures, etc - it was just very S shaped - "moderate".) I do no twisting during the weight-bearing stretches.

    I agree with another poster - there is no money in this for researchers. But, thanks to forums, we can post what personally brings us some relief.

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