About

“Why this blog?”

Here’s a better question: Why not this blog?

If you’re a scoliosis sufferer like me, searching online for answers about treatment and your body’s prognosis, you’ve probably been through similar feelings that I’ve had of feeling confused, scared, and hopeless.

Over and over again, we’re told the only options we have are for a brace. Until the brace no longer helps, of course, and then we’re sentenced to having a surgery to correct the curvature using either a rod or spinal fusion.

Just as upsetting, your doctor might have even told you this news dismissively, stating it like “That’s just the way it is, kiddo” and waving it off, oblivious to the fact that your heart just sank to your feet and questions about your future health are now washing over you in waves. “That’s just the way it is”?

I’ll start by saying these three things about myself:

1) I am a 26-year-old woman dealing with moderate scoliosis in my lower and upper back (a classic S-shape);

2) I am not, in any way, a doctor. Not a GP, chiropractor, surgeon, or even an alternative doctor.

I am, however;

3) A fierce advocate and champion of my own health, for whom the dismissive answer of “That’s just the way it is” is unacceptable.

My own journey of healing my scoliosis, which continues to this day, (although I have enjoyed tremendous healing since I started, using methods I will detail later) began somewhere in middle school.

My story

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My scoliosis, left untreated. (12/3/15)

My first memories of my scoliosis came from my dealing with the symptoms. Sitting down for long car rides made me uncomfortable and fidgety, a person’s hand gently pushing on my lower back’s left side felt like a knife, and on my worst days, my rib cage would be so twisted it felt like I could never get a full breath, causing me to panic and stand in front of a floor fan, just to feel  like I was getting oxygen somehow. Standing on my feet for too long made me feel like my spine was going to close up like a telescope, and I started noticing how my body was dipping and twisting in bizarre ways, even when I was standing straight. (That is, what I thought was straight.)

I was X-rayed and diagnosed with scoliosis around the age of 10, but at the time I thought I only had the curve in my lower back, since the X-ray did not include my upper back. But around the age of 15, my parents took me in for an X-ray at a pediatric hospital, and we saw the full curve—the full TWO curves, the first one in my lower back curving to the left and then snaking its way between my shoulder blades to the right. If I remember correctly, my degrees were 28° and 25°, respectively.

I was devastated.

Thankfully, the doctor, who specialized in scoliosis, didn’t immediately suggest that I receive surgery or a brace, because I was able to moderate the pain by chiropractic care and martial arts activity, but he warned that I might not have much time left before we were left with no other option but a brace and/or surgery.

Flash forward to my senior year of college

The pain in my back and knee and the pressure from the rotation of my rib cage had become unbearable, likely due to my not getting enough sleep and carrying a heavy backpack across campus every day. I was only 21 at the time, but I was already beginning to wonder if I would still be able to walk in a few years due to the pain, and how I could live with such intense pain and discomfort.

My father, after much prayer, found a type of physical therapy for chronic pain sufferers (including those with scoliosis) called the Egoscue Method. He read about it in this Wall Street Journal article about “Soul Surfer” Bethany Hamilton. Hamilton lost her left arm in a shark attack, and while she continues to surf (using her right arm to paddle), the right side of her body had become far stronger than the left, which began to pull her spine to the right, giving her scoliosis.

The Egoscue Method has allowed Hamilton to heal and maintain her healing, so my parents thought, maybe it could help our daughter with her scoliosis?

I was scheduled for an appointment at the Egoscue clinic in Austin soon after, and that’s when my life changed.

Hope restored

My first visit at the Austin Egoscue clinic was a breath of hope, and a literal breath of fresh air. After a nearly two-hour assessment of my scoliosis by one of the main therapists, Theresa Mathes, (who co-owns the clinic with her husband, Rick Mathes) she created a “menu of E-cises” customized to target my set of problems. I’ll never forget when looked at me and said, “I’m going to get you feeling better today.”

That wasn’t hyperbole. When I walked in, I could barely breathe due to my rib cage pushing against my lungs, my shoulders were completely misaligned, and my right knee hurt so badly from my rotated femur I could barely move. But when I walked out four hours later, I could breathe, my shoulders were level, and it no longer hurt to walk.

The best part? I took the E-cise menu home with me, so I could do the E-cises every day to strengthen and encourage my body to adopt these new postural and spinal alignments, and I was scheduled to visit the Egoscue clinic again two weeks later for an assessment and a new menu. Rick and Theresa were gentle but firm, understanding, and passionate about charging me with hope that my scoliosis could be greatly improved, if not eradicated. It would take a long time, they told me, but there was no reason to think that it was impossible.

I have been doing Egoscue for four years now, and I know that my life wouldn’t look the same without it. Likely I would have had to undergo surgery, and that was never an option I wanted to use. I’m immensely happy that I have been able to deal with and even reverse enough of my scoliosis to make life so much less painful!

So…why this blog?

I wanted to create a blog about my alternative journey toward healing my scoliosis and to share the research I find, because I don’t feel there’s enough discussion about alternative methods. Not only that, but I feel there is so much negativity around the idea of even trying an alternative method. Can we all agree that the idea of spinal fusion or a metal rod inside your spine sounds awful? Why would we knock other ideas for a cure? Why wouldn’t we challenge the status quo, and hope for a better solution?

Also, I want to give hope to other people, that there are alternative methods, and that you don’t have to start your healing journey as a child in order for it to be effective. I’m proof that even people who are past their “growing stage” can still make improvements to their scoliosis.

During my journey to find answers, treatments and cures, there has been so much negativityor, at least, insensitivityand I want people to maybe find hope and understanding here. Naysayers and “keyboard warriors” can show themselves to the door; this is a blog of hope, curiosity, research, and experimentation with alternative treatments, and I’m not apologizing for it.

In addition to Egoscue, I’m also exploring several other possible treatments, and I have no problem being my own (and anyone else who reads this blog’s) guinea pig. I’ll tell you what I’m researching, why I’m thinking it could be related to my scoliosis, and how I think it might be able to help.

I cannot stress this enough: I am not a doctor of ANY kindI hold zero medical designations. You’re reading “The Adventures of Scoliosis Girl and the Great Stabbing in the Dark for Cures, Clues and Information” here. I’m just an everyday person who’s dissatisfied with current answers for how to treat my condition, and I’m chronicling my journey to find better answers. What works for me might not work for you, and I am in no way telling people what they should or shouldn’t do for their own scoliosis treatment. I’ll report what doing certain things does to my scoliosis, why I think it’s helping me, or research that I find interesting and possibly relevant, and you can decide if anything you’ve read here is something you’re curious to try for yourself. Proceed at your own risk.

I’ll leave you with the Scripture that finally kicked me into starting this blog:

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Don’t lose hope! Keep asking questions, keep thinking, keep trying.

His and yours,

– Lindsey

10 Comments on “About

  1. Hi there! I came across your website and I was wondering, how many degrees was your scoliosis before starting Egoscue and what was it after? Unfortuntaely, I opted for spinal fusion (I know :/ ), and I still have moderate scoliosis so I am looking into alternative therapies.

    • Hey A.A.! Glad you found the blog, and welcome!

      Sadly, I don’t have the degrees :(. The last time my curves were x-rayed and measured I was around 15, and at the time they were (upper) 28 degrees and (lower) 25 degrees, and I am 100% positive they progressed from there. I was only 21 when I started Egoscue, so a good 6 years later, my spine was extra wonky.

      Egoscue doesn’t measure your curvatures, but it does evaluate things like, “Are your shoulders and hips still misaligned? Is your rib cage twisting? How is the pain? Can you move and breathe comfortably?” That. to me, is worth more than what my exact degree curvatures are at any moment, because managing our scoliosis is all about helping us feel better, right? It’s like how it’s actually more helpful for a person who’s trying to lose weight to focus on the inches they’ve lost and how much better they look in their clothes, versus the number on the scale. Not saying we shouldn’t keep an eye on our curves, of course, but a high quality/pain free life is what I’m pursuing, so that’s my biggest concern :).

      As for your decision to opt for the spinal fusion, I’m certainly not a doctor or expert of any kind, but I’m still not totally against surgery! In some cases, my opinion is that it’s completely necessary, especially when it’s progressing at a frighteningly fast pace and there’s a chance that the person could have long-term complications–even death–if something isn’t done immediately.

      What concerns me, though, is that many of the older people I’ve heard stories from who had the surgery when they were younger also say that at a certain point, the surgery stopped helping, and the spine went back to the curvature it wanted to be at, anyway. My hypothesis is that the surgery only puts a Band-Aid on the real problem, which is that, FOR WHATEVER REASON, our spines want to curve. We don’t know what causes idiopathic scoliosis (hence the term “idiopathic,” right?), but there is something strange going on where our bodies believe that a curving spinal is normal and even good. So when we force it into a straight alignment, I think our bodies fight the straightness, thinking that it’s something bad that needs to be eradicated, hence my guess that it seems that surgeries can sometimes fail over time.

      So the hypothesis is this: If a person elects (or is forced by circumstances) to have surgery, I think alternative methods like Egoscue and/or Schroth (or whatever else) will be enormously helpful for the scoliotic, because my (non-professional, non-medical) thinking is that, since these types of alternative methods help spines realign themselves naturally, the body likes working with these methods, and therefore, the surgically-straightened spine will be more likely to remain a success over the scoliotic’s lifetime.

      That is, you’ve applied the Band-Aid (surgery), while also dealing with the health issue that started the “bleeding” in the first place (alternative methods).

      TL;DR version: I think you should also talk with your health practitioner about pursuing alternative methods to manage your scoliosis, in the event that the forces that pulled your spine to begin with are still pulling on your spine, just now with the spinal fusion added in. Does that make sense? 🙂

  2. Hi Lindsey,

    I want to express sincere thanks and gratitude that you have the bravery and caring to share this info and create this blog. I stumbled upon it, and have only skimmed it so far. I will have to read it more in depth to see if it is for me (and my 21 year old daughter) or not. Either way, thank you for all the time you have put into this.
    Best wishes,
    John

    • John,

      Thank you for your kind words! I sincerely hope you find good information here that might help you and your daughter’s condition (I’m guessing scoliosis, if your search led you here). If you have any requests for information, please let me know–there’s a good chance that it would make a great blog post that others might find informative, too.

      P.S. I was also 21 years old when I started my journey toward alignment and wellness for my moderate-severe scoliosis, so while I don’t know the extent of you and your daughter’s condition, I just want to offer hope that for some scoliotics, alternative methods still seem to help, even when we’re past the “growing age.” Many sources I’ve found seem to imply that the only scoliotics who can benefit from natural alignment methods (like Egoscue) are young children who aren’t finished with their growing yet, but I personally question that, given my own experience and other scoliotic adults I know of who are also using Egoscue/other alternative methods.

      I certainly can’t make any promises that it will help, of course, but I would still encourage you both to get more information to see if it’s a good fit for you both!

      Best wishes,

      Lindsey

  3. Hi Lindsey,
    I’m a PAS II certified by Egoscue University, and came across your blog because I listened to an online talk about Scoliosis in which you commented about the benefits you experienced doing e-Cises. I really enjoyed reading all the pages on your blog today, and appreciate how much you’ve shared about your experiments and experiences with the Egoscue method, and other modalities. I love that you experiment and share as you do. I work with a number of seniors with scoliosis, and although Egoscue speaks for itself when someone does their exercises and feels the benefit, it’s always nice to find someone who can help them find and maintain hope that they will (and even can) feel better (even if the curve remains). So – thank you for this blog. I wish you all the best as an Egoscue PAS II and would enjoy keeping in touch with you!
    Sincerely, Grace

    • Oh, that’s great! Was that talk the Egoscue seminar about scoliosis? That was very interesting!

      Thank you very much for your kind words, and for reaching out. I might have mentioned this elsewhere, but I’m passionate about becoming at least PAS certified to help other scoliotics, particularly adults, because I feel like this segment of the scoliosis population is usually overlooked, or the resources are limited. So it’s great to hear that you’re getting to work with seniors who have scoliosis!

      I would love to keep in touch, as well. It’s not often that I meet another Egoscue PAS who has similar feelings and knowledge of scoliosis, so it’d be wonderful to keep up with you, as well. I can see your email address–is that a good way to reach you? I’ve also started up a Facebook group for adults who are using (or are interested to use) alternative methods to help manage their scoliosis, so let me know if you have any interest in joining that group (if you’re on Facebook, of course!).

      Thank you again for your words of encouragement, and I hope to talk again soon!

      • Hi Lindsey!!

        I actually randomly ran across your blog on the internet when I first began Egoscue about 2 months ago but was unable to find you again. Today I brung it up to Nicole during our appt. & she led me back to your blog! Enjoyed reading it!! I feel like I’m still nowhere near close to being pain free (herniated disc gone chronix) but reading through your posts helped me keep a more positive attitude! I’ve actually been thinking about blogging about my recovery too – I feel like it would be therapeutic.

        • Hey Josue! That’s awesome! So glad you found me again, haha. Isn’t Nicole the best?

          Oof, chronic herniated disk…that doesn’t sound fun! Just know that I really didn’t start to feel pretty consistently “good” until about a year or two into my therapy. That was when I decided I’d take it more seriously and commit to doing it every day, and it was maybe year three or four or so when I started to see some really big, obvious, positive changes in my condition (I was pretty messed up to start with, too!).

          If blogging will help you with consistency and tracking your progress, I say do it! There are a lot of people out there suffering with herniated disks who have no clue that something like Egoscue exists, so maybe your blog will be an inspiration and a source of hope to that demographic, too. If you do start a blog, let me know! I’d like to read it and keep up with you.

          Thanks for the kind words, and best of luck on your healing journey! 🙂

  4. Hi, I am living in Spain. Recently I found the Egoscue pain free book and started with the exercises to align my hips 6 weeks ago ( I have an impingement). In Europe I couldn´t find somebody to answer to the following question: does have anybody experience that the exercises are producing (since the first day) extremely sore muscles all over the body. The only result that the way of walking has changed.
    Would be very helpful for me if anybody could give me an answer.
    Thank you very much.

    • Hi Margitta,

      You’re in luck! I’m a certified Postural Alignment Specialist through the Egoscue Institute, so I might have a little insight for you :).

      Without seeing you myself, I can tell you that as your hips become more aligned and functional, it can set off a whole sequence of changes throughout the entire body! Think of it like this: If the middle part of a building starts to stick out to (for example) the left, what kind of pressures and tensions is that causing to the upper part of the building? To the lower part of the building? The entire structure is now compromised because that one part of the building is misaligned with the rest of the building.

      Maybe engineers come along, and they say, “Well, let’s add extra supports and reinforce the windows and walls, to make sure nothing cracks.” So now the building is stronger, but it’s stronger in the wrong places! The building’s misalignment is now supported by those supports and reinforcements, but it’s still misaligned.

      Instead, what the engineers should have said is, “Let’s fix that crooked middle part of the building, and then the entire building will be structurally strong, like it was designed to be.”

      So what’s happened is this: Your hips were crooked, so your body was compensating (adding reinforcements and supports) by strengthening all kinds of other muscles. The muscles that are supposed to be used to keep your hips aligned and functional? They were likely extremely underused, as these new, compensating muscles were jumping in to assist your misaligned hips.

      What could be happening is that your hips are getting back into their proper alignment, and now aaaalllll the correct, healthy muscles that were turned off are now getting switched on again–maybe for the first time in a long time!–as the old, compensatory muscles are learning how to let go, because your hips maybe don’t need their “support” anymore.

      Again, I can’t see you, so this is all just my best guess. I do offer Skype/Facetime consults, though, if you’re interested in working with someone who knows this method! The exercises in the book are a fantastic starting point, but they’re very broad. If you’re still experiencing any negative side effects, don’t despair–it just means that the menu isn’t addressing all of your body’s particular issues. Working with a trained specialist or therapist can really help you get the exact results you’re looking for, so if that sounds interesting, I’d be happy to explore that option with you.

      For now, I hope that sheds some light into what could be happening in your body! Sounds like there are a lot of changes happening, so that’s at least a good sign that your body is capable of making changes! 🙂

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