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Thread: excercise

  1. #1
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    excercise

    hello,
    I have always controlled the pain from my kyphosis by excercise, from the age of 19ish to 37 years old- mostly yoga and sporadic gym use. I am ultimately quite lazy and so have never become fanatical, although I have at times been fit enough to run half marathons.
    Exercise is not working anymore.
    There are a lot of users here who use exercise as an effective pain control. Can you tell me how much and how often you exercise? Open to overcoming my lethargy and becoming fanatical if it will help.
    Really fed up with the pain

  2. #2
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    Exercise working

    Hi. I am amazed how exercise is helping, then again I have tried many, many things so I am not sure which helped the most. Last year my lower side was hurting from the lumbar curve and I did core strength and spine stabilization exercises for this as well as daily lunchtime walks; then I focused on my shoulder pain and took some more PT for this - I had an excellent therapist who used "soft tissue manipulation" (similar to massage) and used a TENS unit - I did this 2 or 3X/week for a month, as well as some stretches she showed me. I have kept up with the stretches--head to shoulder 30 seconds, 3x each side, chin to underarm 30 sec, 3x each side, morning and night; and pec stretches - arms up and holding on to sides of open door, step one foot forward and hold 30 sec, do 3x. I asked about a TENS and have one at home now, and all this seems to help. The lower pain is all but non-existent, and the upper as well. I have started swimming and doing yoga; I have a wonderful gym. I still have painful days, often around that time of month or after heavy work stress... and have to resort to the NSAID Rx I have. I also have had some massages; the PT recommended this also.

    I have made my back my priority, because it is my main "quality of life" issue. If I can be pain-free I will do whatever it takes. So yes, I would encourage you to research on the web some and get some books such as "Back Care Basics" and "Structural Yoga". For me my pain is not controlling my life anymore. It is still there but I can do something about it now, I feel, which helps mentally. Good luck.

  3. #3
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    I have to say that I think exercise is very important to all in terms of quality of life. When it comes to those of us who have scoliosis however, maybe standardized exercise is not the very best we could do. We have curves after all, and many of us a reduced respiratory function as well. What to do about that seems yet another journey that may present ever changing needs. I'm with you Dailystrenght ... it should be a priority, right along side nutritional and psychological needs. Fandango - I'm sorry that exercise seems to not be helping at the moment. Do you think you have reached a plateau and need a change in what you are doing?

    Every time we see an advertised exercise program, along with it comes a disclaimer to check with your physician before engaging. With those of us who have scoliosis, we should probably first check with our orthopedic specialists. I've had a long love/hate relationship with exercise. Love it because in the beginning it makes me feel good, but after awhile I just hate it - it is as if my body protests. Over the last few months I have found some instruction in Schroth - just a very few exercises and they do feel good. I feel I need more.

    Many report good things about Yoga and Pilates - I'm pondering these and if I do start a program, will be sure the instructor has experience with scoliosis patients because just like any exercise - modification makes sense to me for those with spinal curves.

    And so my quest for a daily exercise program comes late, at the age of 60. My first concern is respiratory function because to my way of thinking, this is vital to any benefit I may receive from exercise. I'm not sure how to begin with all that. I've found some information from the Journal of Paediatric Respirology and Critical Care on the Internet (which actually shows exercises) and wanted to attach it here for informational sharing - but our forum wont allow an Adobe file over 100kb. I also plan to speak with my orthopedic specialist about respiratory therapy and see if there is someone he can refer me to, who again - has experience with scoliosis patients. Massage therapy along with all is another thing I'll be looking into.

    I hope that others who have made exercise a way of life will jump in here and offer the knowledge about all this that they have gained.

    I have a theory about the respiratory thing. The theory is - that any exercise that improves pectus excavatum would also improve respiratory function in anyone. Hope we have someone here that can offer knowledgeable comment on that.

    Kudos to you both - can you share your curvatude stats? May be relevant as we move through what I hope will be an informative discussion. Mine are (out of brace last xray) 38 right thoracic and left thoracolumber 46 [Pre brace April 09 = 42/57].

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamamax View Post
    I have a theory about the respiratory thing. The theory is - that any exercise that improves pectus excavatum would also improve respiratory function in anyone.
    I would be floored if any exercise ever improved pectus excavatum. I suggest it is physically impossible. You should look up the surgical procedures on how to repair those and I think you will agree it is impossible to change with exercise.

    Both my daughters had moderate cases as toddlers that for some strange reason resolved on their own (relying on the power of no prayer whatsoever by the way). Their chest walls are completely normal now.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamamax View Post
    I'm with you Dailystrength ... it should be a priority, right along side nutritional and psychological needs.

    Kudos to you both - can you share your curvatude stats? May be relevant as we move through what I hope will be an informative discussion. Mine are (out of brace last xray) 38 right thoracic and left thoracolumber 46 [Pre brace April 09 = 42/57].
    Hi Mamamax, thanks for sharing all that. Yes, nutrition and psychological needs also are important, I agree. This year I have given myself permission to focus on my back. I think about it much of time anyway! This comes with accepting my back and its limits, while continuing to learn and do what I can. Nutrition also as you said is also important; I take extra Calcium & Vitamin D along with my daily multi, as recommended by my Dr.

    I am very interested in learning Schroth exercises as many on this forum have mentioned them. I emailed a clinic about 2 hours away, in the DC area, today. I am wondering what type of time commitment it is. I learned today on a Schroth site that some yoga postures are not helpful for scoliosis! http://www.schrothmethod.com/index.p...scoliosis-menu I may stick with swimming as I pursue Schroth-- I am always trying to figure out what is best in terms of posture- standing, sitting, lying.

    I am impressed that you had a brace in your 50s or 60 and got such great results! I am curious as to the type of brace it was.

    As far as my curves, I had a 34 left thoracic over a 49 right lumbar as of last May. I had a brace when I was a teen for a year, and was fine until marked progression showed up on an x-ray in Nov. 08. I am anxious to see how this coming May's x-rays are. The first six months I held steady, and the Dr. said I was doing everything right.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pooka1 View Post
    I would be floored if any exercise ever improved pectus excavatum. I suggest it is physically impossible. You should look up the surgical procedures on how to repair those and I think you will agree it is impossible to change with exercise.
    Prepare to be floored - Martha Hawes has this condition, and has improved it (along with other things) through exercise.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dailystrength View Post
    Hi Mamamax, thanks for sharing all that. Yes, nutrition and psychological needs also are important, I agree. This year I have given myself permission to focus on my back. I think about it much of time anyway! This comes with accepting my back and its limits, while continuing to learn and do what I can. Nutrition also as you said is also important; I take extra Calcium & Vitamin D along with my daily multi, as recommended by my Dr.

    I am very interested in learning Schroth exercises as many on this forum have mentioned them. I emailed a clinic about 2 hours away, in the DC area, today. I am wondering what type of time commitment it is. I learned today on a Schroth site that some yoga postures are not helpful for scoliosis! http://www.schrothmethod.com/index.p...scoliosis-menu I may stick with swimming as I pursue Schroth-- I am always trying to figure out what is best in terms of posture- standing, sitting, lying.

    I am impressed that you had a brace in your 50s or 60 and got such great results! I am curious as to the type of brace it was.

    As far as my curves, I had a 34 left thoracic over a 49 right lumbar as of last May. I had a brace when I was a teen for a year, and was fine until marked progression showed up on an x-ray in Nov. 08. I am anxious to see how this coming May's x-rays are. The first six months I held steady, and the Dr. said I was doing everything right.
    You know, I really admire you - making 2010 the Year Of The Back. I think most of us who have scoliosis do spend a lot of time concerned with it. Why not spend the time wisely by actively doing something about it? I think I shall join you :-)

    Our touching on psychological needs is interesting. Due to some experience with the mind/spine connection (condition better when "happy", worse when "sad"), I wondered if there was literature to support any connection .. and there is. Apparently this connection is well understood, but it is something I rarely see actually talked about. Nutritional needs are more obvious and it looks like you have a logical approach. I need to work on that. Montel's juicer looks more promising every day: http://www.myhealthmaster.com/

    I believe studies have shown that exercise, especially weight bearing exercise, improves overall bone health. Caution however has been advised for me, concerning aggressive weight bearing exercise - due to age no doubt, and risk of compression fractures perhaps? Gradients at any age, probably a wise move.

    Yes - Schroth has identified exercises which are not of benefit to those of us with curvy spines - I've seen that too, and think it is a most important contribution showing that while exercise is good - exercise needs to be targeted to individual needs to be of optimum benefit. Over and again (in forum) swimming seems to benefit all. I find that interesting. I also remember a PT exercise from years ago that sort of duplicated swimming movements. I too find myself constantly focused on posture, in all positions, along with breathing exercises I have been taught - looking for that comfort zone ;-) Will be most interested in your journey with Schroth. I sometimes amuse myself trying to pronounce Schroth correctly - long o, roll the r - trying that seems to be a neurological exercise :-) At least, I think that's the proper way to pronounce it - perhaps someone who knows German can advise.

    I started bracing with Spinecor at the age of 59 - last April. At the time, I had no idea it was so controversial! Anyway - controversial or not, I am certainly benefiting from it in terms of quality of life. Like you, I have an upcoming set of xrays with my orthopedic specialist and look forward to what information that will bring. Will dramatically reduced pain levels = an improved back? We will see. Wise it is, I believe, to include our doctors in any selected treatment program - for many reasons. Our doctors can caution us against things that they know may cause harm - and when we find something of benefit, they can add this to their knowledge base for others.

    I like the web site you offered up thread - thank you. That is where I found exercises for respiratory improvement, though the file is too large to upload here.





  8. #8
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    Hi! I'm pretty new on here, and like you, I'm finally making a commitment to take care of my back and feel better. Women often put themselves last, and too often it is when we have no other choice, or it's just so bad, that finally we do something to help ourselves.

    I don't have much to advise about since I'm new to all this, BUT...(hahaha) the gym I joined is affiliated with the hospital that the spine center works with. Therefore, my physical therapist is also affiliated with the gym. So, for a PT appointment in about a week and a half, I'm meeting my PT at the gym! She'll walk me through my exercises and advise me. She even offered to watch me in a yoga or pilates class and take notes about what I should or shouldn't do! How awesome is that?!

    When I was in my twenties and living in NYC, I went to sports injury specialist (since I wanted to work out and it was recommended that they would know more about rehab work outs) and he actually wrote prescriptions for my personal trainer to use when I worked out. (THIS was the expensive route!)

    The PT I'm in now is pretty much a supervised workout. Could you see if you could get some PT? They even print out my exercises with neato pictures and I can write in the weight we use, so I can do it all at the gym later.

    I like this approach because I feared diving in and hurting myself. I tried pilates...thought it a bit much. When they flipped their feet over their heads and folded up like pita pockets I couldn't hold in the laughter. They also rounded their backs and rolled back and I was like a lopsided turtle--this side of my back hits first and then over to the other side...kinda funny. The thing I didn't love was that there was a lot of twisting stretches--that's not good for me. You just have to be confident with going slowly and not feeling silly or embarrassed if you simply can't do something. Go slowly! I found the yoga class to be less of a workout (like my abs and arms weren't hurting at the end), but it was relaxing and I felt stretched out. I also made sure to put my mat near the mirrors so I could check and see if I was straight, etc.

    2010...The Year of the Back! (I've also been calling it The Year of Skinny Once Again, but we'll see about that one.)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamamax View Post
    Prepare to be floored - Martha Hawes has this condition, and has improved it (along with other things) through exercise.
    I don't believe it. Can you provide the evidence for her claim? Thanks.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 01-16-2010 at 10:14 AM.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pooka1 View Post
    I don't believe it. Can you provide the evidence for her claim? Thanks.
    It is in the literature (covering 15 years). If you need more evidence Sharon, perhaps you could write her - or study her work.

    Original Case presentation

    A diagnosis of thoracic scoliosis (Cobb angle 45 degrees) with pectus excavatum and thoracic hypokyphosis in a female patient (DOB 9/17/52) was made in June 1964. Immediate spinal fusion was strongly recommended, but the patient elected a daily home exercise program taught during a 6-week period of training by a physical therapist. This regime was carried out through 1992, with daily aerobic exercise added in 1974. The Cobb angle of the primary thoracic curvature remained unchanged. Ongoing clinical symptoms included dyspnea at rest and recurrent respiratory infections. A period of multimodal treatment with clinical monitoring and treatment by an osteopathic physician was initiated when the patient was 40 years old. This included deep tissue massage (1992-1996); outpatient psychological therapy (1992-1993); a daily home exercise program focused on mobilization of the chest wall (1992-2005); and manipulative medicine (1994-1995, 1999-2000). Progressive improvement in chest wall excursion, increased thoracic kyphosis, and resolution of long-standing respiratory symptoms occurred concomitant with a >10 degree decrease in Cobb angle magnitude of the primary thoracic curvature.

    http://www.scoliosisjournal.com/content/4/1/27

    2010 Update:

    http://www.scoliosisjournal.com/cont...-7161-4-27.pdf

    Synopsis of her results:

    Increase in height: 2 cm between 1990 and 2005

    Improved pulmonary symptoms: Vital capacity in 1996 = 1.6 liters (71% predicted), 2005 = 3.99 liters (115%). Relief from respiratory symptoms including dyspnea and recurrent respiratory infection was maintained.

    Improvement in torso symmetry: In 1992, there was a 12+2 cm difference between the left and right hemi-thorax at maximum inhalation, and a 10+1 cm difference at maximum exhalation. By 2005, reduction to 2+2 cm and 1 +1 cm, respectively. Rib prominence reduced from 18 +3 to 11 +2 degrees.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamamax View Post
    It is in the literature (covering 15 years). If you need more evidence Sharon, perhaps you could write her - or study her work.

    Original Case presentation

    A diagnosis of thoracic scoliosis (Cobb angle 45 degrees) with pectus excavatum and thoracic hypokyphosis in a female patient (DOB 9/17/52) was made in June 1964. Immediate spinal fusion was strongly recommended, but the patient elected a daily home exercise program taught during a 6-week period of training by a physical therapist. This regime was carried out through 1992, with daily aerobic exercise added in 1974. The Cobb angle of the primary thoracic curvature remained unchanged. Ongoing clinical symptoms included dyspnea at rest and recurrent respiratory infections. A period of multimodal treatment with clinical monitoring and treatment by an osteopathic physician was initiated when the patient was 40 years old. This included deep tissue massage (1992-1996); outpatient psychological therapy (1992-1993); a daily home exercise program focused on mobilization of the chest wall (1992-2005); and manipulative medicine (1994-1995, 1999-2000). Progressive improvement in chest wall excursion, increased thoracic kyphosis, and resolution of long-standing respiratory symptoms occurred concomitant with a >10 degree decrease in Cobb angle magnitude of the primary thoracic curvature.

    http://www.scoliosisjournal.com/content/4/1/27

    2010 Update:

    http://www.scoliosisjournal.com/cont...-7161-4-27.pdf

    Synopsis of her results:

    Increase in height: 2 cm between 1990 and 2005

    Improved pulmonary symptoms: Vital capacity in 1996 = 1.6 liters (71% predicted), 2005 = 3.99 liters (115%). Relief from respiratory symptoms including dyspnea and recurrent respiratory infection was maintained.

    Improvement in torso symmetry: In 1992, there was a 12+2 cm difference between the left and right hemi-thorax at maximum inhalation, and a 10+1 cm difference at maximum exhalation. By 2005, reduction to 2+2 cm and 1 +1 cm, respectively. Rib prominence reduced from 18 +3 to 11 +2 degrees.
    Those are not claims her PE improved as far as I can tell. If there was an improvement they would have said so in those words as they specifically mention PE elsewhere in the paper. So I think we can confidently conclude those results are NOT meant to imply improvements in PE.

    That said, the paper does include the following statement:

    Rapid improvement of pectus excavatum severity in an adult, in correlation with individualized physical therapy, also has been documented [91].
    I think we would need to look at that paper to see how much the PE was improved, if it was a typical or atypical case, and most importantly whether or not is was permanent or completely dependent on continued PT as is almost certainly the case. They say it improved rapidly which may be a clue that it WASN'T a typical case of PE. And of course the question always presents itself as to why they can only report on exactly ONE patient. When we see that it is a good bet that the case report is not a typical case.

    I understand that the surgical procedures to correct PE are extremely painful. It stands to reason nobody would go through that if it was correctable PERMANENTLY through PT.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 01-16-2010 at 11:11 AM.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pooka1 View Post
    Those are not claims her PE improved as far as I can tell. If there was an improvement they would have said so in those words as they specifically mention PE elsewhere in the paper. So I think we can confidently conclude those results are NOT meant to imply improvements in PE.

    That said, the paper does include the following statement:



    I think we would need to look at that paper to see how much the PE was improved, if it was a typical or atypical case, and most importantly whether or not is was permanent or completely dependent on continued PT as is almost certainly the case. They say it improved rapidly which may be a clue that it WASN'T a typical case of PE. And of course the question always presents itself as to why they can only report on exactly ONE patient. When we see that it is a good bet that the case report is not a typical case.

    I understand that the surgical procedures to correct PE are extremely painful. It stands to reason nobody would go through that if it was correctable PERMANENTLY through PT.
    I would like to discuss this further - in another thread. If you open it - I'll join. It would be nice to discuss these things with someone who has actually studied the Hawes literature - I can see a PE connection in improved respiratory function and chest wall expansion. No one is claiming cure - an improvement is the observation.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamamax View Post
    I would like to discuss this further - in another thread. If you open it - I'll join. It would be nice to discuss these things with someone who has actually studied the Hawes literature - I can see a PE connection in improved respiratory function and chest wall expansion. No one is claiming cure - an improvement is the observation.
    You are familiar with the Hawes literature, yes? What statements are made w.r.t. PE? I don't see any claim or evidence Hawes changed her PE at all not to mention significantly.

    In re Hawes, it talks about improving chest asymmetry. I know for a fact that even moderate cases can have symmetry so the two things, chest wall asymmetry and PE are not directly connected at least in some cases. That is, they seem to vary independently in at least some cases and possibly all cases. And I would bet there is perfect symmetry in many cases of extreme PE just from my cursory reading about it when my kids presented with it.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  14. #14
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    Some apparently straight dope on PE and exercise... it's seems like it is mainly to improve appearances both before and after surgery, not to correct it which again, sounds impossible to this little bunny.

    http://mercyweb.org/childrens/aboutu...bId=611&id=974
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbeem View Post
    Hi! I'm pretty new on here, and like you, I'm finally making a commitment to take care of my back and feel better. Women often put themselves last, and too often it is when we have no other choice, or it's just so bad, that finally we do something to help ourselves.

    I don't have much to advise about since I'm new to all this, BUT...(hahaha) the gym I joined is affiliated with the hospital that the spine center works with. Therefore, my physical therapist is also affiliated with the gym. So, for a PT appointment in about a week and a half, I'm meeting my PT at the gym! She'll walk me through my exercises and advise me. She even offered to watch me in a yoga or pilates class and take notes about what I should or shouldn't do! How awesome is that?!

    When I was in my twenties and living in NYC, I went to sports injury specialist (since I wanted to work out and it was recommended that they would know more about rehab work outs) and he actually wrote prescriptions for my personal trainer to use when I worked out. (THIS was the expensive route!)

    The PT I'm in now is pretty much a supervised workout. Could you see if you could get some PT? They even print out my exercises with neato pictures and I can write in the weight we use, so I can do it all at the gym later.

    I like this approach because I feared diving in and hurting myself. I tried pilates...thought it a bit much. When they flipped their feet over their heads and folded up like pita pockets I couldn't hold in the laughter. They also rounded their backs and rolled back and I was like a lopsided turtle--this side of my back hits first and then over to the other side...kinda funny. The thing I didn't love was that there was a lot of twisting stretches--that's not good for me. You just have to be confident with going slowly and not feeling silly or embarrassed if you simply can't do something. Go slowly! I found the yoga class to be less of a workout (like my abs and arms weren't hurting at the end), but it was relaxing and I felt stretched out. I also made sure to put my mat near the mirrors so I could check and see if I was straight, etc.

    2010...The Year of the Back! (I've also been calling it The Year of Skinny Once Again, but we'll see about that one.)
    Hi cbeem!

    So you are joining The Year Of The Back with the additional goal of getting skinny? I advise against the skinny thing but only because I've seen others get out of hand with that - of course, I don't mean to imply that you would ;-) My daughter currently holds fast to a modified vegan diet (she cannot walk away from seafood) ... got to tell you, she is terrific shape. She recently spent two weeks with me and I went modified vegan with her during that time. I dropped more weight than I would have expected and also lost a lot of lower belly bulge. For me, some of that bulge can be attributed to my scoliosis - since I'm not very active. Something about underdeveloped torso muscles in a long term state of decline with age. Unfortunately I've returned to my old habits with her returning to her home. Diet really can make a difference - and in my case, quite quickly, without exercise.

    If I could find a PT set up like yours - man, that would be great! Your PT will meet you at the gym and guide you for your individual curvature/condition? That is sweet! Agree, a much better approach than going off without guidance and possibly hurting yourself. My little girl is also a certified Pilates instructor - she can do those crazy things you mentioned. Not me - it would hurt me bad I'm sure! She keeps encouraging me to find a certified instructor who has experience with scoliosis patients - because modification for that is important.

    Slow and steady is good advice I think for those of us just beginning - and developing understanding of our individual needs, very important. Even straight folks subscribe to gradient levels I believe?

    What do you think of Montel's juicer (up thread)? I'm very tempted to get one.

    My orthopedic specialist is also affiliated with a large PT group associated with a hospital. Will look further into that - thanks! Go girl!


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