Scoliosis & Posture – Part 1

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Scoliosis & Posture – Part 1

There is an argument going around many movement and manual therapists saying  ‘If it’s not broke don’t fix it”. The argument is based on medical papers which show that not all pain is postural related. However,  having worked with many elite athletes I have found they have obtained more than marginal gains by restoring their bodies to an optimal moving platform. We now live a sedentary lifestyle. Our environment is more electrically and chemically polluted than ever in history.

All these environmental factors, including such issues as how universally toxic our water supply is, plus how damaged and dirty the air is added chemical toxins materials that overload our detoxification, hormonal and immune systems. As the health and vitality of the body deteriorate so does our posture. 

Do you know about the posture-breathing-exercise relationship? Your posture affects your breathing, which affects the way you exercise, which affects your posture… Put together, breathing, posture and exercise form a supportive trifecta that boosts your optimum health.

How? Efficient breathing requires good posture, which is an excellent sign you’re also following an effective exercise program. That’s the simple explanation… Here are the details!

Breathing and Posture

For starters, poor posture leads to inefficient and laboured breathing, creating tension in primary and secondary respiratory muscles like the levator scapulae (a skeletal muscle located on the back and side of the neck).

When breathing becomes very laboured, your shoulders rise as you inhale, because your primary respiratory muscles aren’t able to ventilate your body effectively. Behind the scenes, your posture has locked up important joints that now take tremendous force to move, making the act of breathing fatiguing.

This locking may be the result of a poorly designed exercise program, too much exercise or not enough exercise to counteract the demands of any work inside or outside of the gym.

A classic example is the overuse of sit-ups or crunches that can shorten the abs into a position of exhalation that will increase the amount of effort needed to breathe normally. (This can be disastrous, for example, if you’re also a competitive runner, whose optimal exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide can be the deciding factor between first and last place.)

How You Breathe Affects Your Posture, The Way You ExerciseAnother obstacle affecting your posture: Prolonged sitting at work or commuting in your car or bus — not to mention in front of the TV – reduces the curve in the lumbar spine, leading to flat back posture and all the associated muscle imbalances that go along with it.

Yet, too many people who already have a flattened lumbar curve are going to group exercise and Pilates classes and being told to flatten their backs into the floor when they perform abdominal exercises! Instead of correcting problems created by their sedentary lifestyles, these ill-fitting exercise programs are making them worse.

Now add to this scoliosis and it’s more work for the body using more energy and exertion. Having scoliosis myself I know this.

Terms-and-classification-of-scoliosisI get many enquiries from clients with scoliosis and of course, everyone is looking for a quick fix. My question is always: How long did you take to get where you are?  If its more than 3 months it’s going to take that amount of time minimum to get you out of that pattern. Plus what is the degree of scoliosis? Bone is living compact dense tissue, sometimes suffered too as compressed fascia. It is still alive and we may be able to change some of its adaptions with good bodywork and movement therapy.

A Scoliosis Is A Rotation Of The Vertebra

A scoliosis is a rotation of the vertebra and more than one curve may be present.  Scoliosis can also have many causes such as:

  1. Genetic or occurs during fetal development
  2. True leg length difference
  3. Atlas subluxation – (NUCCA)
  4. Pelvic dysfunction
  5. Internal – faults in the organs and glands
  6. Neuromuscular – abnormal muscles, nerves and fascia
  7. Degenerative – abnormal wear and tear
  8. Idiopathic – have no idea why

Remember changing any sort of habit whether its food, smoking, relationships or exercise takes lots of time, energy, willingness and resources.

I would like to take your thoughts to the upper cervical spine (neck area) when assessing scoliosis. This, unfortunately, is misunderstood by most skilled rehabilitation and medical professionals.  The upper cervical spine is composed of C1 (occiput or base of skull) and C2 atlas (top of the cervical vertebra). We turn our head on the axis and this becomes our rotation point for our neck.

Atlas-4-types

The atlas is the most unstable point of teh body and 50 % of rotation of head and neck comes from here. The problem with any imbalance in this area can cause adverse tension to the spinal chord and teh central nervous system and produce problems throughout the body, not just scoliosis.

NUCCA (National Association of cervical chirpractors) have mapped over 10,000 patterns of atlas subluxation on x-ray analysis. They are broken down into the five classic patterns as seen to the left side.

 

 

Now the body naturally will always go into survival mode and will always try and keep the eyes, ears and teeth on the horizon, or perpendicular to the surface area. Eye, ear and teeth are needed for structural balance so that we can eat and hunt in front of us.Look at the image below and notice how teh spine will naturally form scoliosis if there is an atlas/axis subluxation.Atlas-and-spinal-alignement-2

 

Why Wait For The Scoliosis To Get Worse?

Parents, start checking your children for scoliosis immediately.  The sooner a scoliosis is found the easier it is to treat with a manipulation and proper corrective exercise.  Ideally, scoliosis will be found prior to the child reaching puberty.  Once the manipulation of the rotated vertebra has been carried out by a skilled osteopath or chiropractor then the proper corrective exercise can be administered. Remember bone is living tissue and does have some chance of change.

40 Degree Scoliosis By The Book!

In the U.S. the majority of doctors don’t bother with scoliosis until the curve reaches 40 degrees… YES, I SAID 40 DEGREES!  When the curve reaches 40 degrees, by the book the surgeon can then place Harrington Rods in the spine to correct the curve.  This surgery absolutely destroys the function of the spine, which is made up of 7 cervical, 12 thoracic and 5 lumbar vertebrae all of which have the ability to move segmentally.  This mentality of wait and see is absolutely idiotic!

Treat Scoliosis Immediately

Parents, start checking your children for scoliosis immediately.  The sooner a scoliosis is found the easier it is to treat with a manipulation and proper corrective exercise.  Ideally, scoliosis will be found prior to the child reaching puberty.  Once the manipulation of the rotated vertebra has been carried out by a skilled osteopath or chiropractor then the proper corrective exercise can be administered.

Think you need help? Get in touch and let’s see if we can make a difference.

Bibliography

Hellman Holistics – Dan Hellman

Chek Blog – Paul Chek

By | 2018-05-16T13:11:05+00:00 January 31st, 2018|anatomy, tired|0 Comments

About the Author:

Nisha is a certified Chek practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach.Her journey started when a visiting Laban teacher introduced her to Pilates at Dance College during her first year. It's effects were forgotten but she then re discovered Pilates through Michael King eleven years later whilst running her dance school. Her background spans over 25 years with formal training in classical ballet, modern dance, tap, national choreography, stage production and theatre. Her formation includes Pilates, Thai bodywork, Yoga, GYROTONIC, GYROKINESIS and anatomical studies. Her particular interest is fascia, and the connective lines and movement patterns that allow a full moving structure rather than the isolation of bones and muscles. Her fascination with questioning the traditions of modern medicine and fascination with searching for meaningful answers has taken her in many different directions and has offered her an abundance of opportunities gaining a wealth of knowledge. “I tried many movement modalities and extended my search after experiencing fascia, because of its simplicity in movement. Quickly, I noticed my own body changing as well as the bodies of my own clients. In the last 25 years of teaching I’ve developed a workout unique to Yoga Anatomy". Throughout her studies Nisha has done numerous dissections with Julian Baker and Cery Davies and has the opportunity to take lectures and courses from Robert Schleip, Joanne Avisons, Tom Myers, Matt Wallden, Emma Lane, Gary Carter, Paul Chek, Dan Hellman, Peter Blackaby, James de Silva plus many many more Nishas teaching method promotes reflective self-discovery and provides the requirements to integrate a shift in consciousness for attaining individual goals. She maintains that an attitude of compassion, consistency and joyous humor are excellent components to growth and expanded potential. She welcomes all level of movers from the beginner to the seasoned athlete who have a desire to increase their skill potential, also teachers and students. Her specialties include assisting post rehabilitative individuals, injury prevention for dancers and athletes and advanced movement programs.