Why Listen To Your Spine?
I’m Jini Patel Thompson, and at the age of 12, I was diagnosed with a Grade II, S-Curve Scoliosis. My doctor recommended I wear a brace (like the one to the right), and suggested I do an exercise that consisted of pressing my spine and shoulders into a wall. Not surprisingly, that exercise had zero effect.
I refused the brace however, and continued on with my active life of horse-riding, volleyball, badminton, skiing, etc. By the time I was in my late twenties, I had suffered numerous shoulder, neck and knee injuries that I knew my scoliosis had predisposed me to.
Having already healed myself of a supposedly incurable gut disease (Crohn’s), I knew it was time to turn my attention to healing my scoliosis and straightening my spine once and for all. I set myself the goal of having a perfectly straight spine by age 60.
I am now 46 and my lower spine is completely straight.
My upper spine is now only 1″ inch off center.
How did you do it? – is the question I keep getting asked, over and over.
I used a combination of Yamuna Body Rolling, therapeutic yoga, osteopathic treatment, A.R.T., myofascial release, craniosacral therapy, EFT Tapping, and a series of exercises/movements that my own body led me to, along with those I discovered with various bodyworkers and yoga teachers.
After SO many messages, comments on my blog, and emails like this one:
“Hello Jini! You might not know me but I’ve been folowing you for 5 years, since my oldest daughter got a diagnosis of Ulcerative colitis. I followed and recommend many of your protocols and books. When at 9 she got a diagnosis of scoliosis i was floored. Until they checked my youngest daughter to find out she also has scoliosis but hers is more severe. I take them to a chiropractor that specializes in scoliosis in New York, it costs $10,000 every time we go, he does an intensive treatment for a week, 6 hours a day and then I continue the exercises at home, but I doubt I can continue going since I have to go 2 times a year. So I need more detail on the protocol that you follow to correct your curve. I do believe that it can be corrected but I do not know where to start, she is on a brace, and I feel terrible doing a treatment that I do not think it will work. I hope you can give me some guidance. Thank you!”
I’ve decided to gather together all the resources I used to straighten my scoliosis, all here in one place.
You can start with the videos below, or head straight to the Practitioner’s Page for some resources you can use to heal your own particular, unique curvature.
And don’t worry, as I discover more videos or techniques that actually work, I’ll add them to this site!
Here are a few helpful videos you can start with:
IF you have an S-curve Scoliosis where your upper spine bends left and your lower spine bends right – just like an S!
IF you have an S-curve Scoliosis that curves the opposite way:
Note: These exercises from Dr. Edward Paget are excellent. But what I would add is to combine them with loosening and stretching exercises – even between sets – otherwise you may see an increase in pain. You also need to mobilize or “unstick” the vertebrae, since most will have entire sections that are “fused” together and just move in a block – another thing that will prevent these exercises from having their full, desired effect. So do whatever stretching or ball rolling you can to loosen the stuck vertebrae, or locked in muscles, and that will help these exercises to be more effective. The next video below will also help with this.
Also, if you can’t figure out how to do these exercises yourself from watching the videos, take them into your chiropracter, physiotherapist or bodywork practitioner and get them to watch the videos and then coach you through them.
Note: When you inhale during these exercises, use your intention to imagine your breath expanding your spine and ribcage and creating space between your vertabrae. Really push your breath into your back with each breath in: “My breath breathes me. I am being breathed by my back.”
Note: Yamuna body rolling takes quite a bit of instruction to learn how to do it right. But this is a good introduction of what it can do for your locked in vertebrae and ribs. If you can only do ONE thing for your spine – learn Yamuna Body Rolling!
Note: Remember: Listen to your body and STOP if you feel any pain – this is a signal that you likely have a complicating factor and the exercise is not good for your body.
Note: If it hurts your neck to have the pillow under the shoulders (as shown) then just move your pillow to a more comfortable position, but still maintain the lengthening and flattening of the cervical spine (back of your neck). Tuck your chin and pull out from the base of your skull at the back of your head – you can pull gently on your hair to lengthen/stretch the back of your neck, if your hair is long enough.