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.

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.

Becoming An American Immigrant In 2017

File Oct 19, 11 32 46 AM

This week I proudly became an American citizen. They told me at my oath ceremony that it is my right to pursue happiness and that is what I plan to do. Up until now I haven’t talked much about the fact that I am an immigrant. I’ve lived in the US for twelve years and while I may have only moved across the Canadian border it has been a major shift in my world.

When I first moved here George Bush was president and performing shock and awe in the middle east. Moving to a place where you see a military presence everywhere including overhead from a place where you rarely see military is a really crazy feeling. Mildly unnerving at first, but you do somewhat get used to it. Same with the number of guns that people have either in their house or on them at all times, they take the right to bear arms very seriously here and that was a major culture shock for a Canadian farm girl that had never held a gun until she moved to America.

Moving from a country that provides health care to everybody to a country where people regularly go bankrupt and lose everything because they get sick and cannot afford the costs of their medical bills- that makes me uncomfortable on every level. I don’t dare get sick here even if I have insurance and am certainly proactive in making healthy choices to prevent anything worse than the chronic conditions I already have that they can’t cure.

I started reading food labels here and noticed that the ingredient lists are different. There seems to be a lot more ingredients and additives in the food.  Since moving here I either become acutely aware of or actually developed sensitivities to gluten and dairy. I don’t dare eat things with gluten and dairy anymore. On the bonus side, food is way less expensive than in Canada.

Obesity is a real thing here. One of my first times going to a county fair, I experienced my own kind of shock and awe witnessing the excessive amount and size of the food they were serving and the size of the people eating that food. Before moving here I had been working in a health bubble of sorts as the Fitness Manager of two women’s only clubs in Vancouver, BC personal training, teaching classes, and running boot camps on the beaches. Seeing such blatant obesity and obvious imbalance was a major culture shock to me. I adjusted by personal training outdoors, out of my garage studio, and improving my home cooking skills to avoid the ridiculous portions of low quality or low nutrient food served everywhere.

What is next for me now that I am a citizen of the country I’m living in? Why not start with free speech? I have a lot to say and this blog is one of the ways that I plan to practice that right. I want to spread wellness, self-health awareness, and positivity on a much larger scale.

I want to share the holistic options available to other people like myself who are seeking natural ways to manage long term health issues. One of these options that I have been using for my chronic pain, muscle spasms, and migraines is medical cannabis. Instead of taking multiple pharmaceutical pills I have one  non-toxic medicine I have a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, sleep aid, anti-anxiety and antidepressant. One unique way that I use this plant is eating it like a vegetable. I juice the fresh leaves or put them in my smoothies. I can’t wait to share this stuff with you!

I also am a huge fan of hemp. When I was learning about the nutritional and medicinal benefits of cannabis leaves I learned about eating hemp that doesn’t contain THC. This plant has the perfect ratio of omega 3, 6, and 9 for the human body. Plus it provides easily digestible protein and fiber. I have a lot of healthy recipes and ideas to share with you. You may have already noticed that every recipe I post has hemp in it, that is intentional. Check out this Blueberry Hemp Cake

I am a healthy food advocate. I started volunteering for a local food organization that feeds those in need with the less perfect but perfectly edible food that doesn’t end up in the grocery stores. They have a number of programs that help feed hungry children in the community, and that is really important to me. I would love to make it possible for every child in this country to have access to healthy food even if their parents cannot provide. That is my American dream.

Oh, and one more thing. When I told people that I had applied for my citizenship most of them asked me why. The simple answer…President Donald Trump. Not being able to vote in the last election really bothered me and I vowed to be a voter in the next one. I feel connected to this country and although it is certainly not perfect, its optimistic ideals move me.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

 

 

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