What It Feels Like To Reverse Your Scoliosis

Untwisting Your Scoliosis Is Now As Easy As Going For A Walk.

You read that right, my scoliosis is reversing. Since childhood I have been told and read that my twisted spine was going to get worse every year and while it has slowly progressed in a bad way and I do experience chronic pain, it hasn’t been as bad as they all said it would without surgery. That being said, there is very little hope or positivity in the journey of my scoliosis. 

A few years ago I started having a regular premonition that my spine was magically going to get better in 2018. While that magic has been me wearing a specialized exercise suit to make that a reality, my scoliosis has been getting better!  Instead of my spine getting 1-2 degrees worse per year as the statistics say my spine should get, my spine reversed 6 degrees during six months last year. 

Earlier this year I started using one of the latest innovations in scoliosis treatment, a Scoliosis Activity Suit.  I had been researching this suit for a while and finally decided to try it out based on the testimonials of other people with scoliosis who were wearing it.

This stand alone treatment checked all my boxes; it wasn’t spinal fusion surgery or drugs but a simple device that one wears when walking or doing anything active. What does it feel like to train your spine to untwist? It feels like a lot of things.

Number one, it feels good and it feels like hope. When I first walked in it, I could tell that it was working parts of my core that would not normally get activated from any other activity that I do. Walking felt easier albeit awkward at first. 

Next, it feels like a little bit of work. While walking may be easy enough, you have to ease in to how much time you spend active in the suit because it literally is like wearing an exercise machine for your spine. I quickly learned that if I wore it too long my deep spinal and ribcage muscles would be very uncomfortable or sore for a few days after. If I wore it just enough I would experience an overall decrease in pain, improved range of motion in my spine, and better sleep. 

The Scoliosis Activity Suit has been monumental this year in changing my spinal health. Although the suit has given me the most dramatic results, I would put my experience with the suit in a similar category as learning pilates and yoga; it has lifted and empowered me to move and take control of my health.  Plus, I can also take it anywhere with me. 

The very idea that all I have to do is put it on and go for a walk to not only experience relief in the moment but also for hours and days afterward is very positive for my mental health as well. I don’t have to wear it all day but the more I progress with it, the more my spine is being trained to unscrew from its very rotated position. 

Other challenges that have come up are similar to maintaining any exercise routine. Sometimes I find myself making excuses or skipping days so I don’t have to wear it. I’ve gone through phases this year where my use was very irregular (1-3 times per week) and I still experienced some benefits. 

Another honest challenge is that the suit makes me feel vulnerable in public. Like I am walking around with my disabilities showing. Then I remember that I am walking with ease, I get a little taller, and I don’t care so much what people see. Walking slow, in pain, or with a limp is much worse. 

I will say that the suit does sometimes make me feel athletic. I have come to  find it a most useful tool during hiking, walking, household chores, and extended activities that have you moving on your legs. It is definitely not a sitting suit.  

I have experimented by doing all sorts of activity in it such as yoga, pilates, strength training, walking, hiking, core/balance work. I don’t find it effective to wear the suit during my floor work but I usually do find it effective during cardio. I have felt the need to keep up with additional stretching and core/balance exercises, with or without the suit, to stay in tune with my body and keep a balanced movement routine.

 I’m not sure how far the suit will be able to straighten or de-rotate my spine. My double curved spine has been dwelling in the 60-degrees range for so long that going to a 40, 30, or even less of a degree still feels a bit like a pipe dream. I know there is potential for much more improvement but how many years will such a thing take if that is possible? Only time and my personal effort will tell. 

If you, or someone you know is looking for a treatment for scoliosis I highly recommend researching.

Seven Years of Weed Over Pills

Would you believe it has now been over 7 years that I have been using medical cannabis over pharmaceuticals?  It’s kind of a big deal and here are seven reasons why it has been so significant for me.

1. No Negative Side Effects

For the past 7 years I have missed out on the groggy, uncomfortable feelings of side effects that I was experiencing with prescribed medications for pain and inflammation.  I’ve heard enough first hand stories of people who have been using the very drugs that I was being prescribed seven years ago to know that I made the right choice to stop them and find something else. Each year that I am able to avoid pharmaceuticals and their compounding negative side effects on my body is another year that I am able to enjoy a better quality of life and focus on health.

2. Adventures in Cannabis

Over the past seven years my choice to create a long term pain management plan using pot over painkillers brought me an unusual education about the plant and entry into a thriving unregulated medical cannabis scene that led into this current regulated adult use industry. I am blessed to have also gained professional experience in the cannabis industry doing everything from content creation, blogging, social media, speaking, networking, events, sales, trimming, garden work, lobbying, and protesting.

3- Multiple Symptoms Helped With One Plant

7 years of using one single plant, cannabis, to regulate my body’s homeostasis.  I do use it multiple ways for multiple symptoms (pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, migraines) but whether I apply it topically or put fresh leaves in my smoothies it is all coming from various strains of the same non-toxic plant.

4- Cannabis Helps Me Focus On My Health As A Lifestyle

7 years of working on my health with a focus on prevention, nutrition, and happiness. I have always been a health centric person but having an alternative method to manage my chronic health conditions has opened me up to different options and allowed me to find helpful treatments like acupuncture, Bowen, and the Scoliosis Activity Suit. Cannabis has definitely helped me to positively manage my chronic condition and significantly slow progression.

5- Seven Years Of Paying For A Medical Cannabis Authorization

You didn’t think this list would all be flowers did you? I bring this up to shed light on the current system for patients in Washington State. For the past 7 years I have annually been going to a doctor and paying for them to write and process a medical cannabis authorization.  My initial regular doctor wouldn’t even talk to me about it. The state of Washington has been so backward that when they implemented adult legal use they failed to upgrade and include a functional system for supplying medical cannabis to patients. Having to maintain my authorization and also register with he state so that I can have some arrest protections, grow my own, or get a weak discount at some pot shops for non-medical grade products has not been helpful or adequate for filling my medicine needs. I look forward to sharing and supporting fixer bills to medical cannabis in Washington State with you as they come along.

6. Growing My Own

For the past 7 summers I have been utilizing the rights provided to me by my medical cannabis authorization and grown my own. I have to say that experiencing the plant from a gardener’s perspective has given me much insight into how I can use it. Growing my own cannabis has allowed to experience the health benefits of gardening, consume it raw in my diet, learn how to harvest/dry/cure, and experience how to turn this plant into therapeutic tinctures, topicals, and edibles, etc. Knowing how to do all of that has been incredibly helpful in dealing with the lack of products in stores and my MMJ budget. However, having such a small plant limit is inadequate for filling my needs. WA-wa.

7. Learning To Be NORML

It was brought to my attention at this week’s Norml Women of Washington meeting in Seattle that even after 5+ years into us having ‘legalization’ in this state, there are still 600,000 people per year being arrested for marijuana possession in this country. When I hear stats like that I am motivated to get more involved in educating lawmakers and others in my community to end the social injustice that is wrapped up with cannabis.

7 things I would say to myself 7 years ago…

1. Take it slow.  At first I thought I had to feel high for it to be therapeutic. The higher the better. LOL.

2. Unless directed by your doctor to use high doses, consume as little as you need rather than consuming a lot to see how much you can tolerate.

3. Get a good flower vaporizer and use it more than smoking it when possible. I say this because I have often found vaping over smoking flowers to be the most beneficial for immediate relief of ending or at least muting a migraine headache.

4. Try not to lick the spoon too much when you are making edibles. You might get too high and that might be uncomfortable for a few hours.

5. If you ever take too much cannabis and feel too high, you are still going to be ok. Sip on some lemon water while doing something that helps you feel calm.

6. Stay low key about your cannabis medicine use but share your knowledge as often as appropriate. Don’t be shy about sharing your story if it might help somebody else have a different option that may benefit their health too.

7. Grow your own and expand your gardening knowledge from those who can not only grow impressive cannabis but also their own organic fruit and vegetables.

Here is to seven more, as needed.

Six Month Results From Using The Scoliosis Activity Suit

I’ve now been wearing a Scoliosis Acivity Suit for six months and it is time to go in for my followup X-ray and checkup. I was super curious to see if I was getting any measurable result from my efforts in this suit. Has wearing this thing really been worth it or am I walking around like a silly fool in a neoprene and velcro suit?

I went back to Dr. Tim Joy in Tacoma, WA, the same chiropractor that I went to for my original SAS fitting 6 months ago. He was again very positive and enthusiastic about the results he had been seeing from people in the suit. I soaked up his motivation.

Before I get to the results, I should tell you how apreshensive I was about going in for this appointment. For one thing, I don’t love getting my X-rays taken and I also hadn’t been using the suit as directed, every single day, all summer like the champ that I was when I first got it.  I admit that using it every single day this summer was tough. The weather was super hot, my regular walking schedule was interrupted, and there were brutal forest fires creating horribly unhealthy air and making exercise inadvisable. I would still try to wear my suit during household chores but my use was only daily regular for about 4 of the 6 months. For the other two months I was probably only wearing it for about 30-60 minutes about 3 or 4 times a week.

Now for the results. During my first appointment Dr. Joy took one measurement on only one location of my spine, where the S changes direction. He measured the same spot at my six month appointment and got a 6 degree improvement from 70 degrees to 64 degrees. Significant.

I have also been taking my height through this and although it changes from day to day, I have measured myself at half an inch taller. Also, significant.

To be honest I try to somewhat numb myself to these numbers. I don’t really know what my body is going to do or how far this suit will be able to correct my spinal curvatures. I do know that if I wear it regularly my back feels better when I sleep, get up in the morning, walk, and do pretty much anything.

While at my check up I was also fitted for and purchased the new version of the suit as the Scolismart team just updated the design this summer. After a week or so of trying it out, I like the new design alright. I only have 4 pieces to deal with instead of 6 and it fits me a little better than the first one. I’ve been using my original Scoliosis Activity Suit at my day job as a farm hand, I’m still planning on wearing it out.

So, thus far, the suit is doing its job and my spine is slowly de-rotating and showing improvement. I couldn’t be more pleased and am curious to see what one year in it will do for me.

If you suffer with scoliosis, consider looking into this suit as part of your tool kit of things to look after and help your very special, crooked spine.

Twenty Questions About Your Scoliosis

In the quest to learn more about my spinal condition, since my teens, I have been researching ways to manage scoliosis pain and looking for natural ways to cure a crooked spine. Despite my studying and efforts, I found that there was no cure, although there were still things I could do to manage my condition without the surgery or pain pills doctors originally told me were the only options.

I’m always inspired and curious to hear how other people with scoliosis are managing their spines, their pain, and their futures. I think I could learn more about myself if I know more about others, so, I have compiled a list of 20 questions that I would like to ask 20 people over the next 3 months. Fused or unfused, I want to hear about your health, your tips, and your challenges.

My 20 questions project is a positive way that I can also support others and create a safe space where people with scoliosis can openly talk about their spine and pain with somebody else who gets it.

To get the ball rolling I recorded myself answering the 20 questions so you also know what to expect and get to know about me too. Questions and answers are in the video above.

Please contact me at butterflysessions@gmail.com if you would like participate. I can’t wait to meet you!

Pam Dyer is a Holistic Health Coach who trains people with scoliosis and chronic illness how they can improve sleep, gut health, immunity, and brain function to live full and hurt less.  To book a consult with Pam please email:  butterflysessions@gmail.com  

5 Ways Cannabis Can Help Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain is a condition like no other.  It’s a horrible ailment, actually.

I am one of those people who will always have issues with my spine. While I have been dealing with this stuff since I was a child it wasn’t until my very early 20’s when every doctor I saw started freely prescribing me synthetic drugs to manage my spinal condition.

I’ve tried to avoid taking too many synthetic pills too often because they always end up making me feel like crud, they mess up my digestive system, I don’t ever want to be addicted to them, and the idea of having to take them from now until I die as a way to cope with pain is not a future I am about to roll over for. There are better options to consider.

When I first explored using cannabis as part of my long term pain management I honestly thought that it just worked by acting more like a mental mask or a distraction from the pain. I didn’t fully understand how beneficial cannabis would be for managing the enormity of my chronic spinal condition. Turns out a lot of people I know still believe that cannabis only provides a happy distraction for pain, so, for you I write the following… 

5 Ways that Cannabis Helps Manage Chronic Back Pain:

1) Cannabis is a natural pain killer. Cannabis doesn’t just mask pain or distract you from it, it works with your body to relieve physical pain. One of the biggest plusses of using cannabis (for me) has been the pain relief without the unpleasant synthetic drug side effects or the potential risks with long-term use of synthetic medications. When you’re looking at a potential lifetime of chronic pain, you tend to take the  long term side effects of pain medication very seriously. 

2) Cannabis acts as an anti-inflammatory in the body. Having aches and pains caused by inflammation is a miserable experience and over time can negatively impact your overall health. Cannabis brings inflammation down to relieve pain and discomfort. Ideally, your pain management program will also be able to find what may be triggering inflammation in your body so you can address it from all angles.

3) Cannabis acts as a natural muscle relaxer and suppresses muscle spasms. Back spasms take chronic pain to a whole new level. I used to take muscle relaxers regularly to deal with muscle spasms but now that I have been taking cannabis regularly, muscle spasms and super sore overactive back muscles hardly ever happen.

4) Cannabis calms anxiety. Experiencing chronic pain creates anxiety, stress, and tension in the body. The anxiety, stress, and tension in the body create more pain thus building a vicious cycle of pain that never ends. Using the right strain of cannabis can significantly reduce or eliminate anxiety altogether by calming down the body and nervous system. Once you break the cycle of anxiety from creating stress and tension in the body, less pain will follow.

5) Cannabis helps to lift the depression that can come with chronic back pain. Being in pain every day and dealing with a debilitating back condition is one of the most challenging things a person can go through and there are predictably going to be dark spells along the journey. Pain can create a physical depression and depression can create more physical pain. Cannabis can lift the depression that will benefit not just your body but also your mental health.

Cannabis: The pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxer that also acts as an anti-anxiety and an anti-depressant. One plant working naturally and synergistically in the body to heal, calm, and create well-being.

Pain is supposed to be one of those things in our body that is there for our benefit. It is our job to listen to what it has to say,  respect it, and do what is necessary to relieve it in the healthiest way possible. Cannabis is one effective option and worth considering if you are somebody dealing with chronic back pain.

Peace.

Pam Dyer is a Holistic Health Coach who trains people with scoliosis and chronic illness how they can improve sleep, gut health, immunity, and brain function to live full and hurt less.  To book a consult with Pam please email:  butterflysessions@gmail.com  

The Positive Sides Of Scoliosis

Scoliosis2017

Scoliosis is bleak, every single part of it. If you are somebody who is inflicted with this challenging health condition you already know that living with a twisted spine can be scary, daunting, defeating, debilitating, and lonely. I feel all of that.

Since age 12 I have been repeatedly told I need surgery and have been prescribed and given samples of pain killers, muscles relaxers, and anti-inflammatories because of my scoliotic spine. I was once told by one doctor never to hang and told by the next to hang everyday. I have spent more time than I care to count wasted in physical therapists and specialists offices who did nothing for me besides tell me to keep doing what I am doing with pilates, yoga, and as a fitness trainer. They like to tell me that my spine will get worse with each aging year, until it eventually crushes my heart and internal organs and potentially collapses on itself. Like I said, bleak.

Scoliosis is much more than just a twisted spine. It is a neuromuscular disorder that may also manifest with other health conditions such as digestive disorders, muscle spasms, depression, anxiety, migraines, etc.

I put a lot of effort into the function of my spine and have since I was a teenager because I realized at an early age that I would always have to be mindful of my special back, it was never going away. I think about how I want to move as I age and move accordingly. More than once I have completely changed my livelihood, activities, and/or my food in order to manage it holistically without surgery or prescribed medications.

One of the toughest things about scoliosis is how lonely it can be. I have a lot of energy and rarely ‘complain’ about my back pain and focus on healthy things so on the outside it looks like I am a super health nut doing just fine with my spine. People don’t see the pain or discomfort that I am generally feeling because I keep it to myself. That’s no good.

June is Scoliosis Awareness Month

What is the positive side of Scoliosis?

  1. I’ve become very in tune with my body. Pain, discomfort and constantly needing to think about standing straight or straightening your clothes will do that to a person. On another level, when I’ve tuned in with with meditation and exercise I’ve been taught by my body how to cope and move through the world.
  2. I’ve been forced to be a ‘healthy person’ to function. Living a healthy lifestyle is not an option like it seems to be for most people and it can be really tough to be the only one at the party not drinking booze or eating sugar. But hey, you’re at the party! While it is tough, living healthy is a good and positive thing to keep as a priority, always.
  3. I look at body image much differently. When I am able to embrace myself as different I am also able to let go of what I think I am supposed to be and love who I am, imperfections and all. I tend to be very grateful for all I can physically do no matter how small.
  4. My spine contributes to me being highly sensitive, empathic, and wise. I can’t explain why but it just does. Spiney senses.
  5. I’ve become a powerful warrior of chronic pain with special strengths and coping skills that makes me strong enough to handle not only my own pain but also help others handle their pains. My spine is the reason that I started teaching fitness as a teenager and the reason that I went to Institute of Integrative Nutrition in 2010, I have a deep desire to help people feel well.

I am participating in Scoliosis Awareness Month by writing this and sharing a picture of me beside an X-ray of my spine. Funny, it was much harder to post a picture of my bare back than to post a picture of my X-rays. I worked through it.

Sending out much love and double hugs to those who live with or support somebody with scoliosis.

Pam Dyer is a Holistic Health Coach who trains people with scoliosis and chronic illness how they can improve sleep, gut health, immunity, and brain function to live full and hurt less.  To book a consult with Pam please email:  butterflysessions@gmail.com