Everything is better with systems, even scoliosis.
Systems simplify, organize, and prioritize what would otherwise be a myriad of parts and their dynamics. Systems help us go from one place to another. They help us deepen, grow, and evolve. Scoliosis and back pain symptoms can change, too!
If you are suffering from scoliosis would a system of understanding your patterns and a step by step way to move forward help? Certainly! (Insert link Beyond Diagnoses). Before teaching my clients the physical aspects of change, I realized their need for “soft skills” that make physical change even possible.
I believe that symptoms of scoliosis can get better. And, I believe that it’s less about straightening the bones of spine and more about engaging nerves and muscles that lack participation and softening, relaxing, and calming those that are constantly working.
Indirectly, then, the bony structures shift.
If you want your scoliosis to change favor a “felt experience” of the pattern over a visual understanding like x-rays and MRIs. The “experience” you have of movement limitations, symptoms, abilities, sensations, etc. is accessible at any moment and it has meaning, rather than objective information i.e., “degree of spinal curvature.”
If 10 people have a measured 10 degree curve, they each experience it differently. Numbers don’t tell us a whole lot, but when you do a side arch to the left with a sharp stabbing pain but it’s smooth and easy to the right there’s a lot of subjective information. Things are always changing, either getting better or worse. When subjective experience begins to change positively then you can be more in control of the direction things change. With this assessment method you’ve got the most important tool for evolving your symptoms.
Now that you have a felt sense of what’s working, and more importantly what’s not working, you’ll want to gather as much data as you can. That you can more easily bend towards one side than the other is just the beginning of connecting data. What are the different sensations you experience from side to side? Which side muscles are easier to contact? Lengthen? Do you feel like you run into a wall on one side, how about the other? What thoughts or how would you describe your experience of one side, and the other?
If you read through the last paragraph and it made sense but you didn’t actually try or out stop here, go back, answer the questions. I’ll give you a minute to catch up, seriously. Go back, now!
The experience, awareness, and relationship we have in our bodies is key.
Most people, when they first come to me have very little detail about these things so I prioritize the point. Awareness is integral to change. Most people are so overwhelmed by their symptoms that they have literally disconnected from their bodies, but that’s the opposite of what you want to do. Click on this link to hear how awareness helped me. (When you watch this 1 min video scroll down and read the text for more insight)
At the beginning of my career I used to try to fix everything. I thought that my path to success was in fixing people’s problems through manual therapy. It is, but not in the way I thought. Without building an awareness they could only progress so far then hit a wall. To be the best therapist I had to combine manual therapy with neuroscience. Ultimately I couldn’t fix anything. I could guide them in their bodies, I could coach them to use tools, I could encourage them to connect often, to listen to the conversation that the brain and body provoke through symptoms, but I personally couldn’t fix anything, alone.
The first part of the system asks you to make assessments, and gather data. From there you open the door to your individuality. So many times I see practitioners giving people protocol exercises/stretches/etc. without regard for the correct exercise for the individual. Round peg, square hole. Most practitioners prescribe protocols based on diagnoses rather than individually.
Next part of the system is Mindset, one of my favorites!