SOMATICS: Learning how to alleviate patterns of pain and trauma

In my last blog about pain, I addressed how, for most people with scoliosis, pain is a constant companion. And although it may seem obvious that a compressed spine that curves and twists the body into a crooked position will cause some discomfort, it is not quite that simple.

In fact, it is well documented that a person's response to pain is heavily influenced by many individual traits, as well as the particular psychological, emotional and social factors affecting their life.

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About Martha's Stem Cell Procedure

How the spine relates to all other joints.

Over the years, as I have worked on finding comfort and mobility in my fused spine, I have definitely felt things improve for the better.

Unfortunately, one day about 13 years ago, while moving a box up some stairs, I felt my left knee pop, and that incident was - unbeknownst to me at the time - the beginning of a new healing journey.

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Current Scoliosis Research

Summary of a recorded Skype discussion between Martha Carter and Kristen Fay Gorman

In my last blog, I detailed the most common surgical procedures used to correct scoliosis. Although advanced technology allows for successful spinal corrections with fusions and rods, I believe that most people would agree that it would be much better if we could stop scoliosis from developing at all!

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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 16

Scoliosis: A Confounding Condition

Scoliosis is a really confounding condition! The more I try to explain it, the more I realize that it is full of contradictions.

Nobody knows why it happens, or who will get it. Given that every scoliosis is unique, the effects can be so different for each person, which of course makes it difficult to compare notes.

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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 14

About other Scoliosis-Specific Exercise Methods

Since I had my Harrington rods removed, I have explored and discovered many therapies. Aside from Yoga for Scoliosis, which has been my main focus, there are three other popular Scoliosis-targeted exercise methods that are becoming more available and showing promising results.

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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 13

Becoming a Yoga for Scoliosis teacher

One of the hardest things about scoliosis is that it is difficult to know what to do to make it better. People ask me questions like these all the time:

How do you cure scoliosis?
How can I make my back straight again?  
How can I stop the curve from getting worse?
What can I do to get rid of the pain?

Though extremely understandable questions to ask, they are very difficult questions to answer, because every person and every curve is different. There is one thing that is for sure though: it is NOT possible to CURE a structural scoliosis.
 

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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 12

A 200-hour Yoga teacher training adventure of discovery on Salt Spring Island, BC.

Through attending Yoga For Scoliosis with Elise Browning Miller, I came to clearly understand that Yoga could really help me, but it also opened me up to the realization that I didn't know anything about Yoga — in the wider sense. When I first started studying Yoga, I was completely distracted by my own body fears and discomforts.

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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 11

What happens in a Yoga for Scoliosis class

When I discovered Elise Browning Miller and her method, Yoga for Scoliosis, I finally felt confident to explore Yoga further. First of all, Elise had scoliosis! So, unlike other Yoga teachers I had worked with, her teaching provided insights that could only come from having personal experience with this condition.

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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 10

Starting yoga and a key discovery: Elise Browning Miller’s Yoga for Scoliosis

When my back finally started to feel stronger and more mobile, I found myself dreaming about dancing. In that moment between sleep and awake, I would have visions of myself in an extreme arabesque with my an open chest, arched back, and a long, high leg. Sometimes it was à Ia seconde - with my leg lifted to the side. I was never wearing a tutu. I was always either in street clothes or naked. I could feel my spine - free and powerful.

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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 9

How dance and dancers have shaped and informed every step of the journey

I keep wanting to talk about getting into Yoga for Scoliosis — an eventual and integral part of my scoliosis journey following the removal of my Harrington Roads — but as I write this serial blog, and look back on all that’s happened, other memories get triggered and new understandings appear.

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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 8

Exploring Different Healing Modalities: Alexander technique and Taoist meditation

Ever since my rod removal 21 years ago, I have spent a LOT of time exploring different options for supportive care.

I never expected to go down this road, but exploring the myriad supportive care options out there has become an ongoing educational journey that I continue to find not only self-empowering, but endlessly fascinating.

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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 7

Taking the leap into Emotional Counselling

Shortly after my Harrington rods were removed, I was talking to a friend about my rehabilitation regime combination of massage and gym training. As a dancer himself, he recognized the obvious benefits of these activities, but he also suggested I consider doing some emotional counselling to support my physical healing.

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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 6

My journey - and discoveries - in Supportive Care

The results of my intense massage routine and gym training slowly gave me confidence to try new things in the search for more mobility and pain relief. I thought that by having my Harrington rods removed, everything would be better, immediately. But, as it turned out, I encountered a whole new set of challenges...

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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 5

Harrington rods removed - the healing journey begins

As I mentioned in Part 3 of this serial blog post, after the removal of my Harrington rods, I was eager to experience movement in a new way—without the restriction of metal implants. But because I still felt stiff and had muscle spasms, I decided to work with a massage therapist, Dawn, to help break up the scar tissue that had built up over the years.

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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 2

How the decision to remove her Harrington rods pushed Martha Carter to deal with buried emotions.

After I made the decision to have my Harrington rods removed, I experienced a huge flood of emotions. I had a flashback to my first surgery. The doctors and my family commenting how “strong” and “brave” I was. How I never cried.

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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey: 21 Years Post-Surgery - Part 1

Harrington Rods Removed — How a Reiki treatment led TOPS Founder Martha Carter to a new path of healing.

When I was told that I had scoliosis and needed to have Harrington rod surgery at age 13, I was also told that I wouldn’t be allowed to dance anymore and that I shouldn’t do any rigorous exercise or yoga. It was 1974, and the relatively new surgical procedure was in its early years.

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