Curvature of the spine
What is scoliosis? Well, dictionary.com defines it as a noun, Pathology 1) an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine.
Meet my client Vic. He is a super sweet upper 70’s guy. In this picture he is holding a April Fool’s joke I played on him– he opened a foil covered metal tin with a brown E in it. Get it? Not a pan of brownies. A brown E!
ha ha ha. 🙂
This is what scoliosis looks like
Anyway, take a look at his X-ray from two years ago. This is what scoliosis looks like.
The red line up the spine on the left X-ray shows you the scoliosis. Definitely shifted laterally so we know dictionary.com isn’t kidding. More importantly: the blue horizontal line shows you what position his hips are in. Are they level? Um, that is a big fat NO! Look at that left hip. Jacked up higher than the right.
This is a very key element.
I personally think the scoliosis stems from that left hip. If it was in the same horizontal plane with the right hip, the spine would have a level platform to work off of. It makes sense that the spine shifts laterally to accommodate the left hip. Multiply this by fifty, sixty, or seventy years and you’ve gotten yourself in quite a situation.
Or have you?
Interesting what the spine looks like from the side as well as seen in the X-ray on the right: the green arrow shows one vertebrae really slipped back and the blue arrow points to completely compromised disc space. Those bottom lumbar vertebrae are totally ka-squished together. The natural “S” shape of the spine has turned into a “J” of sorts.
Nerves and vertebrae aren’t fond of being squished.
Guess which side the nerve pain went down? Right or left? (The answer will be revealed below.)
Scoliosis and nerve pain
When I met Vic, he had already had two back surgeries. They were not successful in that he still had nerve pain down his leg. Ugh. 🙁 He and I were able to get him off narcotics after six months and feel good for half a day, but by late afternoon that nerve pain was back with a vengeance. I’ll get to how we did that in a moment.
Long story short, he decided to really stabilize those lumbar vertebrae that were squished and now structurally weakened by two surgeries. He decided to get one more surgery: Fusion.
Not just any ‘ole fusion, but a four-level fusion. He doesn’t mess around. (Actually he didn’t have a choice.) I said, even though I was sad we hadn’t been able to avoid surgery, “Now that you’ve decided on surgery, we are going to focus on it’s success and fantastic results, and our goal is to get your body in the best possible position going into surgery that we can. That way your rehab will be a breeze and you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor and pain-free life that much more quickly.”
“Okay,” he said.
Here’s what his low back looked like post-op at six weeks:
When I first looked at the X-rays, I said, “Holey Moley! I think I’ve used screws like that to put my deck together. Orthopedic surgeons are such highly trained carpenters!” We laughed. However, what I was really looking for in those post-op X-rays was one thing. Can you guess what I was looking for?
That’s right. The left hip.
It’s all about that hip
I have seen X-rays of fusions with rods and screws that didn’t look so lovely. I can remember one in particular where we measured the rod on the left to be 2″ and the bar on the right to be 2.5″. It had EVERYTHING to do with the hip position. Over my dead body was Vic’s fusion going to be anything other than ordinary, level, and as symmetrical as we could possibly get it.
How did we do it?
Well, quite honestly, we crawled. Turns out Vic never crawled as a baby, never developed those critical hip muscles, and was using his back and his legs without the gigantic powerhouse connecting piece: the hips.
Crawling put his hips back into a nearly symmetrical, level position. It is an incredibly powerful exercise. When we went for the twelve week post op appointment this week, I asked if we were clear to do anything exercise-wise now. The surgeon looked at me and said, “Well sure, except the usual no bending, twisting, or lifting.” I said, “Can we crawl?” He was taken aback for a moment, laughed, and said, “Well, I’m not doing that! However, many of my fusion patients crawl around their garden so they don’t have to bend over when they want to do gardening, which as you know is against the rules.”
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. A crawling endorsement!
Learn to crawl
Remember the quote from my client Sandy in the email? Where she had gained back lost height? She and I started working together in late April to address her scoliosis, and here it is July and she is getting taller. Why? How?
Our fabulous nutrition expert Margaret Floyd Barry just blogged about her “broken knee” experience recently. You’ll read about what her experience was with crawling, too.
All the kids are doing it!
Want to see a quick video on how to crawl in case you’ve forgotten? Watch this!
Ever thought about using crawling as a great way to work or reset your entire body? Let us know in the comments below!
P.S. The nerve pain went down the right leg.
Did you guess correctly? If the left hip is higher, it sometimes is just simple gravity that more work and workload end up on the downhill hip. In this case, the right side.