4 Reasons I’m Thankful for Scoliosis

Physical Therapist holding a scoliometer showing how to measure scoliosis rotation

During this Thanksgiving Season it may seem odd to be thankful for scoliosis, but in many ways, scoliosis has changed my life.

Scoliosis and I

The story of how scoliosis and I met goes back many years.  During Physical Therapy school, I think I got around 15 minutes of instruction on what scoliosis is.  We didn’t really get any instruction on how to treat this condition other than to improve core strength.

It was during school, however, when I had a nephew diagnosed with scoliosis.  My sister sent me copies of the x-rays and asked me what to do.  To tell you the truth, even though I was in PT school, I had no idea.

Fast forward a few years later.  I had graduated from PT school and I was treating patients.  One day, in walks a patient wearing a scoliosis brace.  I had never seen a brace like that before, and then her mother proceeds to ask me if I can do the Schroth Method with her.

This is the first time I heard about a specific method to treat scoliosis, and I was intrigued.  Unfortunately, however, I wasn’t able to pursue it at that time due to restraints with my position at that job.

Over the next few years, the Schroth Method stuck in the back of my mind. When I was ready to break off on my own to start my own clinic, I decided it would be a perfect addition to what I wanted to do.

Well, the rest is history! I received certification in the Schroth Method and have gone on to be certified in the SEAS Approach.  This path has changed my life.

Here are 4 reasons why,

1. I Have Gotten to Know Some Amazing People

One of the best thing about my job is I get to hang out with great people. First, a large number of my patients are young kids and teenagers.  It is really great to work with the energy they have and make a difference in their lives.

Second, I work with many adults with scoliosis as well.  With these patients, it is really special to make changes in their lives as well.  These changes are more along the lines of pain and reduced disability.

Third, I have met some of the most dedicated and skilled professionals.  In my courses for scoliosis treatment, along with many conferences on conservative scoliosis treatment, I have met some of the best spine professionals in the nation.

 

2. It has Changed How I Treat

As I studied scoliosis specific treatment, I learned many things I could use with my other patients. The attention to detail has improved the way I treat ALL of my patients.  I am much more specific with their exercises and how they are progressing.

The importance of proper breathing during exercise has helped my patients with stress and anxiety.  It has also helped to improve posture and balance in my orthopedic patients.

As I have treated patients with spine deformities, I have learned new ways to treat my general back patients.  These new methods have improved our outcomes, and have given many back pain sufferers hope and relief.

 

3. It Has Given Me Stability

Branching out on my own was a very scary adventure.  I left an established clinic where I had been the clinic director for 8 years.  With starting my own practice, I had to form new relationships with providers and the public.

The specialty of scoliosis has opened doors for me to get to know providers and reach those in the community that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.  I have worked closely with providers from Primary Children’s, as well as local pediatricians.

Recent changes in healthcare, and specifically PT, have made it more difficult to attain stability as a small practice.  With the ability to focus on scoliosis, I have been able to gain more stability in the crazy healthcare environment.

We have even had patients travel from great distance to receive treatment.  For example, it is not uncommon for us to have patients from Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, or Nevada travel to come and see us.  The patient who traveled the furthest though was from British Columba in Canada!

The ability to see patients from around Utah and even around the Western US has allowed more stability for my small growing practice.

 

4. I Truly Love What I Do!

The fourth reason I am grateful for scoliosis is that I really love what I do for a living.  The ability to make changes in the lives of a specific group of patients has allowed me to focus my energy on improving our treatments for scoliosis.

Before, as a general Orthopedic Specialist, I did enjoy treating the large variety of orthopedic injuries.  I still enjoy the variety that comes with orthopedics, but I am happy to have something that I am focused on.  I feel this focus helps me provide better treatment.

Ask anyone who I have seen with scoliosis and they will tell you I am a bit of a scoliosis nerd.  I could seriously talk about scoliosis for hours!  It is one of my favorite subjects, and we are constantly looking for ways to improve our methods.

The continuing education courses I have been to for scoliosis have been my favorite courses to date, but they have also been the hardest.  The amount of time alone for training has been a challenge.

I have seen many of my scoliosis patients for quite some time now, and most likely, I will see them for a while in the future.  This makes treatment very fun for me as I get to know them more and can watch them grow up and mature.

The adult scoliosis patients I see allow me to see the impact we can have in a life long condition that many have lost hope of relief or help.  It is very satisfying as a therapist to be able to help those who have been told there is nothing left!

Conclusion

There are so many more reasons I love treating scoliosis.  I am not thankful that my patients have this condition, but I am thankful for the blessing of being able to associate and interact with them.  I feel privileged to impact their life in a small way.

If you, or someone you care about, are dealing with scoliosis or other spinal deformity, there is hope!  There are things that can be done.  You don’t have to just wait and see if it gets worse!

For more information, please check out our Scoliosis Portal to learn more.

You can also sign up for a Free Consultation Visit to see if our program is right for you!  Just click HERE and fill out the form.

Thanks for reading, and thank you for supporting my clinic and what I love to do for a living!

 

David Butler, Physical Therapist