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What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis is the twisting and turning of the spine away from where it typically should be. A typical spine should look like a straight line when you look at it from the back. In scoliosis, the spine turns out or in, to the sides. It also involves twisting of each of the involved vertebra. So the spine is rotated and sidebent. What this does to the spine is that it creates a bump (prominent area) on the side that the spine sidebends to and causes hollowness/ collapses in the area below that prominence.
Scoliosis usually shows up during periods when there are hormonal changes in the body such as in children during growth spurts, during pregnancy, during or after menopause. Scoliosis may also occur as a spinoff due to disc herniation, leg length difference, changes in weightbearing on legs due to pain.
Initially it may not be obvious but individuals may complain of 1 pant leg seemingly longer or shorter than the other, their back not touching equally when they lie on your back or sit with their back supported on backrest of a chair, feeling that one leg turns out more than the other.
Some things to look for is if one leg/foot is turned out asymmetrically, or maybe the arch of the foot looks different on each foot and weight is shifted to one or the other leg more. Or the pelvis/ hips looks unlevel. When they bend forward there is prominence on ribs on one side, one shoulder is higher than other, one shoulder blade looks more prominent or higher / lower than the other, or the neck does not look like it is centered on the shoulders. There may even be loss of height.
The most common type of scoliosis is the one that is curved to the right side in the area of the shoulder blades (thoracic). There can also be a compensating curve then in the low back (lumbar) to the opposite side, with or without effect on the level of the pelvis. Sometimes there may also be a compensating curve in the neck area.
So why does scoliosis matter or need to be treated?
Most people tend to think that as long as their curve is not visible with their clothes on there would be no reason to treat it. Not so! Here is why. When there is a curve in the spine. (tensegrity model) the muscles on that side can become stretched out or shortened. The positioning of the curve can itself put tension and pressure on the organs within. Organs like any part of the body tend to move with breathing and other activities. When this movement is restricted then the organ will not work optimally either. Imagine if you put pressure on the ribcage and try to take a deep breath, would that be as effective as if you did not have pressure on your ribcage? Individuals with scoliosis may experience pain, shortness of breath, feeling full with eating a little bit-early satiety.
"My son has been dealing with scoliosis since he was 12 years old, and he is now 19. He did bracing and some other PT that was not effective, his curve had progressed and his surgeon was considering surgery. I found Sandy after looking for a better approach. All I can say is "WOW!" My son's results have been truly amazing. His posture has dramatically improved, his balance and symmetry look totally normal. His right hip, which would swing out with every step, is now nearly resolved. Sandy worked with my son over the course of approximately 1 month with 2 hour sessions three times a week. He now does his morning therapy every day and is continuing to improve. The most important thing however, has been his improved outlook on life. He was very anxious and depressed, but is now his old self. Along with the physical aspect of therapy, Sandy taught my son breathing and relaxation techniques that have calmed his anxiety and given him a much more positive outlook on his health and mental well being.
I highly recommend Sandy for scoliosis therapy. She has been worth every penny. I cannot thank Sandy enough for all that she has done for my son. "
"I went to Dr. Sandy for physical therapy due to back pain resulting from longstanding scoliosis. Check out her qualifications! She is a highly educated physical therapist. Only 4% of physical therapists in our nation go on to complete a Residency after getting their P.T. degree, she not only went on to get her Residency, she completed a Fellowship AND her Doctorate too. She taught the orthopedic curriculum at CSUS and while working in Southern California she was the PT consultant for the LA Kings hockey team. She knows her specialty.
Before she even started developing a program for me, she did a whole body assessment using quantifiable measurements looking at my flexibility and range of motion before and after the completion of my program so we could quantify my improvement. She identified where I was weak and where I was strong, explained to me the whys behind the exercises I was to do, provided me with exercises to do at home immediately and encouraged me along the way. She knows the anatomy of the body and what exercises it takes, specific to you, to reach your best function. My sessions were focused on giving me at-home exercises to strengthen my back as well as to create flexibility in all my joints, which allowed me to focus on the health of my whole body. Using videos and pictures of me doing the exercises and then allowing me to explain the exercises, while I repeated them to her, helped reinforce the correct way to do these exercises while at home. Being a nurse practitioner, myself, I recognize the importance of teaching people self-autonomy. Dr. Sandy empowers you to take back your health. I am now pain-free after six weeks and am confident I will remain so as long as I continue the exercises at home. I have only great things to say about the treatment I received from Dr. Sandy and I am excited about the changes I have seen in me!"
"Sandy has been working with my 12 year old daughter for just under a month. I initially sought out Sandy because she was a physical therapist trained in Schroth therapy that I hoped could help my daughter with her scoliosis. Sandy has turned out to be that and more! She has brought to her sessions with my daughter a holistic view that includes not only Schroth therapy, but a breadth of complementary approaches that she has learned through her experience and dedication as a physical therapist. Dealing with scoliosis when you are 12 is scary and tough. Sandy has been warm and compassionate with my daughter. She pushes her hard but knows when to give her breaks. She knows how to break down the exercises in a way that my daughter can understand. In just a few weeks my daughter has shown remarkable progress in awareness of how to position and correct her posture. Her flexibility and breathing have improved. My daughter and I have left every session with Sandy feeling empowered and optimistic. I highly recommend Sandy as a physical therapist for scoliosis and am thankful to have her on our treatment team"
" I'm in my 60's and have had years of chronic muscle strain from scoliosis. There has been more rapid progression of the curve with a significant rotation of the ribcage the last few years. I've just completed the 10-day (2 hrs per day) intensive scoliosis rehab offered by Sandy at Resonance Physical Therapy and Wellness. I was able to spread it out over 3 weeks to accommodate my work schedule. After the first day I had immediate and lasting pain relief. The treatment went above and beyond the limited "strengthen the core" protocols I've previously encountered in physical therapy. Sandy's comprehensive and individualized approach started with a thorough assessment, including an eval of x-rays, related labs, and my medical history. She spent time listening to my concerns. She used care and wise judgment in adapting the therapy to the degenerative changes of my spine, osteoporosis, and knee pain from a previously fractured kneecap.
For many years I've had back pain with usual daily activities. I saw several physical therapists and chiropractors, and tried various braces. I'd been told by some practitioners that I would always have this muscle strain and that PT exercises cannot be adapted to my specific spinal curve. Sandy used advanced therapy techniques which were adapted to my specific scoliosis curve pattern, such as Schroth and the SEAS approach. Schroth certified practitioners are few and far between in California, so this was a rare find for me.
Spinal surgeons I've seen did not advise surgery due to my osteoporosis and internal organ shifting. Sandy's professional expertise helped me with a collapsing wheezy lung, a dislodged diaphragm, fascia issues, skin problems, painful scarring from a past cancer surgery, and discouragement from various ineffective attempts for relief over the years. I'm now experiencing increased flexibility, increasing lung capacity, muscle strengthening, improved posture, and pain relief. I now have a plan to manage this chronic condition and prevent disability. This was the most complete and effective treatment I've ever had for my scoliosis."