This is the first question on everyone’s mind after a scoliosis diagnosis. It’s scary. You’ve been told that your spine is “deformed”, it has twists and turns that are not “normal.” You’ve also been told, “We need to keep an eye on it; in case it gets worse.” So, of course, all this begs the question, “Can Scoliosis Be Fixed?” Good question. Let’s get to it.
Can Scoliosis Be Fixed?
Exercise and Scoliosis
Let’s begin with exercise since that’s what we specialize in with Scolio-Pilates®. Can Scolio-Pilates or other scoliosis-specific exercise forms fix scoliosis? Well, that depends. Is your curve below 30 degrees? Yes? There is growing evidence that a scoliosis-specific exercise form can reduce the curve by 5 degrees or more, but not generally to zero. But there is value in reducing the curve below 30 because 30 degrees is considered the scoliosis “critical threshold.” After 30 degrees, the curve has been shown to increase, on average, ½ to 1 degree a year for life. That could potentially be quite a bit over a lifetime. Please have your children checked for scoliosis. They are often below 30 degrees at the time of diagnosis, and a lot can be done to attempt a curve reduction.
And if you have a curve that is over 30 degrees? Can scoliosis be fixed? Well, if by fixed you mean:
- A pain-free life, or at least a lot less pain than you currently have
- More mobility and function
- A life where you get to do what you love
Then, the answer is almost always yes. You can “fix” scoliosis to the point that you have a very full life. That doesn’t mean you don’t have scoliosis; you are simply living a full life with a beautifully curved spine that is not straight like most of the spines on the planet. That’s ok. That’s still a very beautiful life.
Can Scoliosis Be Fixed?
Surgery and Scoliosis
What about surgery? Can scoliosis be fixed with surgery? If you equate curve reduction to zero, then scoliosis can’t be fixed. If you mean to fix scoliosis with significant curve reduction, surgery can often do that. Will you have a normal spine that can flex, side-bend and extend after surgery? No. Surgery for scoliosis uses rods and screws to correct your curve as much as possible, but that correction comes at the price of restricted movement. Is it worth it? When it is deemed medically necessary by your team of physicians for normal heart and lung function, then the answer is a resounding YES.
Whether you find yourself unfused or fused, mature or young, we find that the best solution for waking up to a world where you can decide what you want to do instead of back pain restricting you is to keep moving. Move, move, move. It doesn’t have to be big; it might start with eye movement (seriously), and it could be wrist and ankle rolls or shoulder rolls. And honestly, if you don’t know where to start, it is literally why we exist. We at Scolio-Pilates, are ready to help. The easiest way to start is with Scolio-Pilates On Demand; it’s free to start, and moving with those who really get all the idiosyncrasies of moving with scoliosis is priceless. If you are a professional, please consider becoming the scoliosis expert in your community through our Scolio-Pilates Modules 1-3.