In Episode 31, host Heather Rotunda and Dr. Justin discuss what scoliosis and scoliosis pain feel like.
Throughout the episode, you'll hear:
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Hello, and welcome to Episode 31 of Life Beyond the Curve. I'm your host, Heather Rotunda. Dr. Justin Dick of Clear Life Scoliosis Reduction and Chiropractic in Huntersville, North Carolina, joins me again today to talk about What Scoliosis and Scoliosis Pain Feel Like. Dr. Justin has been with CLEAR since 2018 and is both Standard and Intensive Care certified. I always look forward to speaking with and learning from Dr. Justin, and his dedication to his patients shines through. I'm sure you'll enjoy this conversation as much as I did. Episode 31, here we go.
You're listening to Life Beyond the Curve, a podcast brought to you by CLEAR Scoliosis Institute. Each week, we interview experts in the industry, answer your pressing questions, and empower you to take control of your scoliosis diagnosis and live life to its fullest. Enjoy the show.
Thank you for joining us today, Dr. Justin.
Well thank you for having, having me and the opportunity to chat about this very important topic.
So today we're talking about What Does Scoliosis and Scoliosis Pain Feel Like? Now I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume that that's gonna be every bit as unique to each patient as their curve is, right?
That's correct. Scoliosis and scoliosis pain feel different from one patient to the next. Factors like patient age, causation, curvature location, and condition severity will shape the person's experience of life with that condition. Particularly when it comes to pain, scoliosis feels very different from young patients who are still growing versus adults who have had it their entire life.
Um, so we know that scoliosis isn't a static condition. So the same can be said of a patient's experience with pain, yes? Uh, by that, I mean, if a teenager doesn't have much, if any, pain that doesn't mean they can't start experiencing more scoliosis pain as they age, correct?
Yes. Yes. This is a very important topic here, uh, that most doctors don't understand. I've heard from alopathic medicine that scoliosis doesn't cause pain, and they're only partially correct. So scoliosis is not a static condition. It's progressive in nature, meaning that in its nature, it will worsen over time, especially if it's severe or left untreated. Where a person's scoliosis is at the time of a diagnosis is not indicative of where it will stay, which is why a person's experience in life with a condition will likely change over time. As we, as we've discussed previously, there are many different types of severity levels of scoliosis, making the experience even more patient specific. And so when we're talking about scoliosis and where the pain is, when you, say you have an S curve in your back, there are certain muscles in your back that are working all day and all night, they never get a chance to relax. It's like the back muscles are running a marathon. So imagine holding a cup in your hand, an outstretched cup of five pounds. So you're holding that cup for a minute or two, not a big deal. Well, try holding it for an hour, two hours, three hours, your arm's gonna start hurting, that muscle's being overactive. Same thing happens in scoliosis. The body's trying to protect itself by developing these muscles and trying to stop the scoliosis from getting worse, hence the pain.
Okay. That makes a lot of sense. We've also discussed before that scoliosis ranges from mild to moderate to severe; does that severity correlate to a patient's level of pain? So someone with mild scoliosis is only going to experience mild pain, someone with severe scoliosis will experience severe pain. Is that how that works?
Well, when it comes to how a person's scoliosis is gonna feel, the condition severity is a crucial factor. Does the patient have mild, moderate, or severe scoliosis? Again, every case is different, but in the general, the more severe the condition is, the more likely it's to cause noticeable symptoms such as postural changes and pain. In mild forms, particularly for adolescents, it's not uncommon for the condition to go unnoticed, as it doesn't always cause functional deficits, noticeable in posture and or pain. However, we do know that since each scoliosis is unique, sometimes somebody with a mild scoliosis can be in excessive pain all the time, whereas somebody with severe scoliosis, it might be a little bit older, might not even feel anything, might not even feel any symptoms. So this is very patient specific and case specific. Uh, this is why treatment's so important, uh, for specific treatment options for that patient.
So for someone who's listening, who doesn't have scoliosis, but is trying to understand what a loved one is experiencing, how have patients described to you what scoliosis feels like?
Okay, well, as scoliosis progresses, this means that the abnormal spine curve is increasing in size and the uneven forces in their bodies being exposed are also increasing. It's not uncommon for patients with scoliosis to describe a feeling of being stiff on one side of the body. This is understandable as spinal rigidity increases with progression, as we kind of talked about just a second ago. The tightness on one side of the body is partially due to strained muscles trying to counteract the uneven forces, scoliotic curve. Scoliosis patients also commonly describe a feeling of being weighed down or pulled down. Uh, this has to do with the torsion of the spine. It's twisting down essentially. Once the condition continues to become compressive in adulthood, it can cause varying levels of back pain that range for mild intermittent to chronic, or even in many cases that I've had lately debilitating. However, this does not have to be so, we have alternatives now.
Great to hear that we have alternatives., Uh, that, uh, is really helpful in trying to understand what scoliosis feels like. What does scoliosis pain feel like or better put, um, what kind of pain does it cause?
Well, um, good question. As we've already discussed, scoliosis doesn't just expose the spine compression, but it's also surrounding. And when it comes to how painful painful a scoliosis is, the answer is often related to the degree of nerve root involvements. So scoliosis can cause various degrees of back pain, nerve related back pain is regarded as one of the most debilitating forms of back pain and can feel like a sharp stabbing pain, electric shock pains, or tingling or numbness. Uh, general back pain can be experienced as extreme tightness due to spinal rigidity. And it can also be exacerbated by the surrounding strained muscles being exposed to uneven wear. Scoliosis is also closely associated with headaches and potential of reaching migraine status. Now, the mechanisms of migraine are much, much different than scoliosis headaches or TMD headaches. Uh, this is why the treatment should be very, very different. Uh, it's very typical for scoliosis patients to have headaches. Most notably, they start in the back of the head and come up over the top of the head, or they start behind the eye and then act very similar, uh, to a migraine. However, the mechanism is completely different. This is why the treatment must be completely different and CLEAR doctors such as myself have very good resolution of at least limiting these headaches or helping them disappear altogether.
That's good to know. I have had headaches off and on most of my life, I have been told it's hereditary. Um, my dad and his dad had pretty bad headaches. Just as an aside, is that possible that something like that is hereditary?
Uh, the honest truth, my personal opinion on these is everybody has genes, right? The genes determine your eye color, hair color, determine kinda how tall you are. Um, I don't believe that many things today are hereditary. If you look at New Biology with Bruce Lipton, we can talk to you about, we can turn our genes on and off. We know this based on how we treat our bodies, what environments we put in, how we treat our minds, uh, if we're getting adjusted. And a lot more is environmental factors than necessarily genetic factors. So why do you have the cancer gene and so do I, but I get cancer and you don't? Good, good questions. Good questions. So things are hereditary. There's no doubt in my mind, things are hereditary, but if you look into new biology, we can talk about where the brain of the cell really is and how we can change how the body functions, based on a cellular level and a functional level. When we change it based on a cellular and functional level, we're actually changing the entire body as a whole, not just symptom based.
Wow. That's fascinating. We love to hear success stories here on Life Beyond the Curve. Do you have one that you could share with us of a patient whose scoliosis pain was reduced after going through CLEAR treatment with you?
I sure do. Here at Clear Life Scoliosis Reduction and Chiropractic, we've seen lives transformed and restored through the work of the CLEAR Institute. Um, I have many patients that have come to me recently in these last couple of years, since COVID hit and people had more time of, uh, medical doctors told 'em surgery was the only option where 50, 60, 70 years old, you only have surgery is the only option. And 50% of the time they say it might work, or it might not. So this is a drastic surgery for people. Absolutely drastic. If you go ahead and YouTube, this surgery, it's a nasty, nasty surgery. And 50% odds is not a good, those are not good numbers. Um, and most notably I had one gentleman, uh, here recently that was disabled. He was on disability. He was on FMLA, told he was never gonna go back to work again, right?
Given up hope. Can't do all his activities. Can't go out shooting his guns. This is what he liked to do. Can't go out walking, can't play with his dog. Could barely ride in a car. This impacted his life. Yes, he had severe scoliosis, but he was also in his sixties. So this scoliosis took his life away from him. And the only option he had was surgery from the medical doctor. He did the medications, he was on drugs, lots and lots of drugs. He was on injections. He's done everything that the medicine could think of. He did physical therapy. So he came to me saying, what do I have to lose? In two weeks we had him walking again. In three months, we had him back to work.
Working full time, pain free, walking miles a day, playing with his dog, shooting his guns. Now his scoliosis didn't go away. This is something that he's going to live with and help manage. And we've talked about managing scoliosis, but life can be restored. There is hope. So when modern medicine said it is impossible, we've seen overcomers. There is hope. Reach out to one of our CLEAR doctors. There's, there's a few of us around the country and around the world. We are here to help serve you.
That is incredible, Dr. Justin, what a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing and for joining us today, it's always a pleasure, and we look forward to having you back on a future episode.
Well thank you for having me. If you've received a diagnosis and you wanna pursue alternative treatments, go to the clear-institute.org and click on the purple Find a Doctor button at the top of the page, search by your location and find a doctor nearest to you. Or you can contact me directly at Clear Life Scoliosis Reduction and Chiropractic, it's clearlifescoliosis.com.
Thank you so much, Dr. Justin, have a wonderful day.
You're welcome. You, too.
Thank you for listening to this week's episode of Life Beyond the Curve. For additional podcasts, articles, blog posts, and much more information to help you navigate your diagnosis, visit clear-institute.org. More to come next week.