Saturday, 25 October 2014

Yoga Exercise for Kyphosis

My dad bought a copy of Frank R. Young’s Yoga for Men Only in the early 1970’s. I started reading it when I was a teenager and have used some of the techniques from time to time throughout my life.

According to the author, his paternal ancestors were “long-lived Yogis,” and he learned the basic exercises and techniques directly though that lineage. But Young was also a chiropractor, and he altered the exercises from a chiropractic point of view for the modern man. The exercises mainly deal with angles of pull and push. The case studies are often quite funny and almost certainly, in my opinion, either made up or embellished. That doesn’t detract from the usefulness of the book’s information, however.

The book has long been out of print, and prices for used copies can be a bit high. I thought that I would occasionally put up an exercise from the book for anyone who is interested, starting with this one. I’ve been using this particular exercise for about four weeks now, and have noticed some improvement in my posture; if you have a sub-clinical kyphotic back condition, you may find it useful. Although the book is “for men only,” I think that this exercise would work equally well for women:

"The Lower Back Doorway Pull" Frank Rudolph Young

“The Lower Back Doorway Pull” Frank Rudolph Young 

Grasp both door knobs of an open door, feet close to the bottom of the door. Extend arms to full length (dropping back), with straight legs. Then,

“1. Round your shoulders. (Turn them inwards, downwards and backwards.) 

2. Inhale deeply as you pull your still straight body towards the door, with your fingers. At the same time 

3. Arch your back, and drop your weight backwards. 

4. Hug your body tightly with your elbows. 

5. You will rise up on your toes, as the movement progresses. If you are tall bend your knees a little. 

6. Keep your shoulders rounded all the while, with 

7. Your elbows still hugging your body until the end. Hold the contraction, at the end, for two seconds. Then relax.” (Young, Yoga for Men Only, 1969, page 37)

Young recommends doing this one to ten times a day, “depending on fast you want results,” and he suggests putting a wedge under the door’s free end to take pressure off the hinges. It takes practically no time to perform ten reps of this, and it does help with the humped shoulders look that many of us get from sitting at computers most of the day. Pay heed to keeping your elbows tight to your body as you do the exercise (don’t let your elbows drift outwards).

quotes, instruction and illustration taken from Yoga for Men Only by Frank Rudolph Young, Parker Publishing Company, Inc.: West Nyack, New York, 1969, pages 37-39.  

Source : Ungrundfus , 19th Oct 2014 

Yoga for scoliosis

Scoliosis comes from a Greek word meaning “curved” or “bent” and today it has become the description of the most common type of spinal curvature. Scoliosis is simply when the spine bends sideways and rotates along its vertical axis. Severe scoliosis is when the curvature is greater than 45 degrees and is often treated with surgery. At levels less than this a brace is often used to correct the curvature and in the case of the many children with the condition the brace may be worn for 23 hours per day. Another popular bracing method involves attending two hour sessions, three to four times a week for four months and then lifelong exercises for 30 minutes a day. As researchers coming from Columbia University observed however, the fact that many scoliosis patients are adolescent girls the treatments are socially and emotionally painful. That is why their research showing that a simple yoga move may be of use is so promising.

The study involved people aged 14-85 with idiopathic scoliosis. After initial evaluation by a radiologist the subjects were instructed in how to do the yoga pose “side plank” where you lie on one side of the body with knees straight and propping the upper body with the elbow and forearm. In the first week they were instructed to do the side plank on the side that their spine was curved towards for 20 seconds each day. After that they were asked to do the move daily on that same side for as long as they could.
The reason for doing the plank on the side that the spine curves towards is that it strengthens the specific spinal muscles on the convex side that are needed to reduce the curve.
On average the subjects for one and a half minutes a day for six days a week for almost seven months. Over all the patients the average reduction in spinal curvature was 32 per cent but in those who did the side plank at least three days a week the average reduction was 40.9 per cent. As you might expect the improvement was greatest in the more supple adolescents who saw an average 49.6 per cent improvement compared to 38.4 per cent improvement in adults.
The study was not large enough to be definitive but it certainly suggests that for any kind of spinal curvature, asymmetrical yoga practice under the guidance of a trained practitioner could help to straighten things out.

Source : Well Being , 22nd Oct 2014 

Sweet Valley girl beats scoliosis, looks to give back through blood drive on Sunday

Lake-Lehman seventh-grader Kylie Nevel, 12, of Sweet Valley, holds examples of X-rays showing images taken before and after anterior spine tethering, a procedure she underwent to correct a spinal curvature in her back.

Lake-Lehman seventh-grader Kylie Nevel, 12, of Sweet Valley, holds her back brace she must wear during the night since undergoing anterior spine tethering.

At 12 years old, Kylie Anne Nevel overcame a battle with juvenile idiopathic scoliosis.

Now, she’s looking to give back after her community helped her when she was in need.

Kylie is helping to coordinate a community blood drove from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Maple Grove United Methodist Church. The blood drive is being hosted by Geisinger Blood Center. That same church held a blood drive in her honor as she underwent a 12-hour surgery to correct her spine that was affected by idiopathic scoliosis.

“I was lucky to not need blood for my surgery, but knowing that there are some people out there that don’t make it through surgeries because of a blood shortage, makes me sad and it hurts,” Kylie said. “I want to help any way I can.”

That desire to give back came after Kylie endured two years of medical battles.

Kylie was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic scoliosis during a routine checkup in January 2012. Nicole Nevel, Kylie’s mother, said that the family was eventually referred to the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Philadelphia.

Nicole, 39, said that her daughter’s long hair helped to hide a curvature in her spine.

“Once the doctor had pointed out the curvature, we were able to notice it. However, it never caused her any pain — an occasional backache after a long day was all,” she said.

Kylie said she was very confused when she first received her diagnosis, and struggled to question how it happened. Nicole added that the family was in a state of shock, and quickly added Kylie to a lengthy waiting list for surgery.

While waiting for the surgery, Kylie was outfitted with a body brace. Nicole explained that Kylie’s initial x-rays showed a curvature of 41 degrees thoracic and 42 degrees lumbar.

“Traditionally, bracing only works to control a scoliosis curve that is under 20 degrees,” Nicole said. “It was explained to us that the brace was designed to keep her curve from progressing, not to fix the curve.”

Kylie was fitted for a Boston brace, a hard plastic brace on the outside with molded foam on the inside. She had to wear the brace for 23.5 hours a day for three months. Nicole said the brace went from her daughter’s armpits all the way down to the bottom of her hips.

Kylie said the brace hurt at first, but once she got used to it, it felt weird to not have it on. Kylie tried to make the best of it in the classroom.

“I showed off my brace to everyone, it had butterflies on it,” Kylie said. She even had everyone knock on it, but that didn’t stop some of her classmates from bullying her.

“They said things like ‘don’t break your back again’,” she said.

Kylie said she always wanted a younger sibling, and the Nevels soon found out they would be welcoming a boy, Ben, to the family. Her medical condition, however, meant that she wouldn’t be able to carry her younger sibling around.

The operation

At another exam in June 2012, Nicole said the doctors said the curvature increased to 43 degrees thoracic and 46 degrees lumbarThat’s when Kylie’s family and doctors decided that surgery was in her best interest.

Nicole added that it became visibly noticeable that Kylie’s hips and and shoulders didn’t align properly.

Kylie’s thoracic spine (middle part of the spine) was also beginning to rotate, which could have led to internal organ issues.

“Ours hearts sank,” Nicole said. “It was heartbreaking to think that our little girl would have to go through major spinal surgery, but without it, her spine would continue to curve and would cause her pain and arthritis as an adult.”

The procedure that Kylie underwent is called the Anterior Spine Tethering and Lumbar Stapling. Nicole explained that it is was a new, fusionless procedure. When Kylie underwent the surgery on October 23, 2012, she was only the 22nd child in the country to undergo the procedure.

During the 12-hour procedure, surgeons placed titanium screws in Kylie’s thoracic spine, and used a polyethylene-terephthalate flexible cable to connect the screws and compress the spine to help straighten it. Nicole explained that the procedure is a “growth surgery” — as Kylie grows, her spine will continue to straighten.

It was at that time that members of the Maple Grove United Methodist Church held a blood drive in her honor. Nicole said that the turnout for the blood drive was massive.

Standing tall

After the surgery, Kylie had to wear another full brace 24 hours a day for 30 days to protect her spine. She was initially on paid medications, but Nicole said her daughter was determined to heal and move on with her life.

She started physical therapy after three months to help get her back in shape.

“Eventually, she was only going twice weekly, and then once a week until we decided she was doing so well, she could continue on her own,” Nicole said.

Today, Kylie still has to wear a providence brace at night. Nicole said doctors have told the family that Kylie might be brace free by June.

During the day, she’s doing what a girl should be doing at her age — running, jumping, swimming and dancing. She is also practicing to be an Oompa Loompa in the “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” play at Lake-Lehman High School.

“I would’ve never thought I could have made it through all of that, but I did,” Kylie said. 

Source : Times Leader , 24th Oct 2014 

Norco family gives back after daughter’s 7-hour scoliosis surgery

After undergoing a seven-hour surgery to correct a severe case of scoliosis, 13-year-old Lora Leigh Luquet and her family are giving back to the community by sponsoring a blood drive on Friday at Harry Hurst Middle School.


     13-year-old needed several pints of blood, so family hosts blood drive

Lora Luquet and her family are hosting a blood drive at Harry Hurst Middle School on Friday from noon until 3:30 p.m. Luquet had major surgery to reverse scoliosis.

Lora Luquet and her family are hosting a blood drive at Harry Hurst Middle School on Friday from noon until 3:30 p.m. Luquet had major surgery to reverse scoliosis.

When Luquet was 11, her pediatrician noticed that her posture was off and could tell that there was a curve in Luquet’s spine. After taking a closer look, an orthopedist found that the curvature of Luquet’s spine was 30 degrees, which meant that she had a significant case of scoliosis.

Luquet wore a hard plastic brace for a year, but when she hit a growth spurt her spine’s curvature jumped to 40 degrees. Any curvature approaching 50 degrees needs immediate correction through surgery. By the time Luquet was 13, her curvature was at 48 degrees.

Her mother, Lori Lyons, said even though Luquet was never in pain, surgery was needed to prevent major health problems in the future.

“If her spine kept growing it could compromise her lungs and squish her organs,” Lyons said.

Still, Lyons said she and her husband, Marty, were hesitant.

“It didn’t affect her life at all so I asked about alternatives,” Lyons said. “This was a major surgery and I knew that she would have this horrible scar and be in horrible pain after the surgery. I knew the recovery was going to be brutal.”

However, the family also knew deep down that surgery was the best option. On July 3, Luquet underwent the spinal fusion procedure, which lasted for more than seven hours.

After the surgery, Luquet remained in the hospital for the next six days.

“She had to turn from side to side every 15 minutes, had a morphine pump and couldn’t eat for days because of nausea,” Lyons said. “She tolerated everything well. Everybody was amazed at how well she did.”

Once home, Luquet had to meet with a physical therapist. Eventually she was able to walk on her own, though she suffered extreme pain in her ribs because the curvature of her spine was reduced from 48 degrees to 12 degrees. Luquet also grew about three inches during her surgery once her spine was straightened.

On the tenth day after her surgery, Luquet began singing the lyrics to “Titanium.” According to the popular song, “You shoot me down but I won’t fall, I am titanium.”

“That’s when we knew she was feeling pretty good,” Lyons said.

Luquet was able to start school on time, though she still can’t pick up anything heavy and is currently unable to do things that came naturally to her before the operation.

“She has a rolling backpack, she can’t sit on the floor or jog and she can’t bend down and pick things up,” Lyons said. “But she is doing a lot better and is figuring things out.”

While Luquet was in the hospital, she needed several pints of someone else’s blood despite the fact that her own blood was getting recycled through an IV. Because of how important that donor blood was, Luquet and her family will host a blood drive on Friday from noon until 3:30 p.m. at Harry Hurst.

All donors will receive a breast cancer awareness shirt emblazoned with the Saints’ logo.

“We are trying to give back because we are very blessed and very lucky,” Lyons said.

Source : Herald Guide , 24th Oct 2014 

Spinal fusion improves quality of life for victims of trauma, arthritis and pain

Spinal fusions, a surgery to permanently join together two or more vertebrae in the spine so there is no movement between them, are more common than they should be, says Elian M. Shepherd, M.D., FACS, Director of the Methodist Hospitals Spine Care Center and a board certified orthopedic surgeon, noting that he often has patients come to his office frightened and experiencing severe back pain.

Spinal fusion improves quality of life for victims of trauma, arthritis and pain
Surgery on specific areas in the spinal column can result in pain relief as well as curbing degenerative effects of disease or injury.  

“They might say to me I had an MRI and have three bulging disks, but none of that is important,” he says. That is not a sign for spinal fusion, it’s a sign of age,” he says. “Spinal fusion is needed when your spine is deformed, when people are bent over when they walk or the spine goes one way or the other.”
And even then there are caveats. Spinal fusions can improve the quality of life but for the elderly there’s a risk involved as well.
“I tell them you need to have a fusion,” Shepherd says, “but I tell them they’re old and surgery at that age can be risky. So they go home and think about it and come back the next day and say I want to do it. I want to have a better quality of life.”
The spine, consists of 26 bone discs called vertebrae which protect the spinal cord and allow a person to stand and bend. Spine disorders, infections, tumors and traumatic injury often cause intense pain when bone changes put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
Think of spinal fusion as a type of high level welding where the surgeon fuses two or more painful vertebrae with the ultimate goal of healing them into one single, solid bone.
Spines are a complex system and so special consideration should be undertaken before going directly to surgery.
That’s why Shepherd frequently suggests physical therapy, pain medication and treatment with anti-inflamatories as well as always getting a second opinion before taking the next step.
“Spine surgery is not something to be decided in a week,” he says.
For those of us who think a spine is a spine, that’s not so.
“What’s normal for you is not normal for everyone,” Shepherd says.
We’re born with angles and alignments (which refers to how the head, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles relate and line up with each other) in the spine, each in an individual way and which remain much the same, barring injury and other factors, throughout our lives.
Shepherd says it’s important for surgeons to know about these alignments and angels before performing a spinal fusion to avoid compounding the problem.
“We have a special x-ray that shows us the spine from the neck to the hip and then use software to measure the angles before we operate,” he says. “When we fuse the spine, it should look like the Eiffel Tower. “Not the Leaning Tower of Pisa.”
Spine fusions become necessary when the spine shows significant or worsening instability and deformity such as from scoliosis, “says Srinivasu Kusuma, MD, an orthopedic spine surgeon on staff at Ingalls Memorial Hospital. Scoliosis is condition where the spine curves sideways, frequently occurring during the growth spurt just before puberty. Though most spines have a slight but minute curvature, with scoliosis the spine curves too much to the point where it looks like the letters “C” or “S.”
“Spine fusions are not an uncommon procedure,” continues Kusuma. “As a spine surgeon, I see more than the average orthopedic surgeon.”
According to Kusuma, the most common causes of spinal fusions include trauma such as fractures or dislocations of the spine, degenerative instability like when arthritis causes one vertebrae to slip forward compared to the other vertebrae and scoliosis.

Source : nwitimes , 22nd oct 2014