Yoga As a Treatment for Scoliosis
When I was 13 I noticed that my hips were a little uneven, and when I turned 16 I started to have significant back pain. I hit the gym thinking that getting more active would alleviate some of the discomfort. When reluctantly attempting sit-ups I was rolling to one-side...it was time to see my Doctor. After about 2 seconds of examining my back he declared that I had significant Scoliosis. Next stop was X-rays and Sick Kids. I will never forget how shocking it was to see the first X-ray of my Scoliosis (image A). The specialist at Sick Kids unraveled the deformed skeleton, with a spine that looked more like the letter "S" than the letter "I". The Doc explained what we were looking at, with the most significant angle registering at 38 degrees. I was informed of my options of brace or surgery (which involved fusing steel rods to my spinal column) and chose neither. Instead I started on a journey of exploration into treatments both traditional and non traditional that included chiropractors, physio therapists, massage therapists, thai massage, shiatzu, reiki,meditation, cranial sacral, and then I found Yoga. I started studying in 1999 at the Downward Dog in Toronto with Diane Bruni. I would leave class taller, straighter and would experience several pain free days in a row. I started becoming aware of how every muscle in my body was somehow connected to the curve in my spine... and its subsequent straightening. Using sustained postures and breath, yoga balances the muscles on the left and ride side of the body which is the area of focus for any Scoliosis student. By observing and addressing the imbalances, the architecture of all the muscles begin to align which supports the alignment of the spine. I still go for massage and chiropractic treatments occasionally, but I have been studying and using Yoga as my primary treatment for my Scoliosis with profound results. My "S" curve (image A) has straightened into a gentle "C" curve (image B) and my hips and shoulders are more balanced.
When I showed my Doctor the most recent X-ray (image B) early 2011, he exclaimed that I may have found a cure for Scoliosis....I think I just may have re-discovered it. Many amazing Yoga teachers have been sharing this knowledge with me for many years and I am grateful to every one of them that have helped me on this journey. Namaste. "