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Scoliosis and diet  RSS feed

 
Meg Moore
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Hello! I am wondering if anyone out there has any information or advice regarding using diet to assist with scoliosis (curvature of the spine)? Has anyone had any success using diet to help relieve the symptoms or even reduce their curvature?

I have recently discovered WAPF diet and also reading about the GAPS diet, and have been trying to eat following WAPF principles for about 8 weeks now, as well as taking fish oil and fermented cod liver oil daily. I have already noticed less tension and aching in my shoulders (which after experimenting, I think is helped by eliminating sugar).

Thanks,
MM.

 
Jay Green
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While nutrition can help with bone density levels and muscle performance to some degree, scoliosis is caused by structural changes/abnormalities in the skeletal frame....born with a short leg, congenital spinal deformities, developed a temporary short leg due to injury of some kind, etc. Scoliosis isn't a dietary problem, it's a mechanical problem.

How long have you had scoliosis?

 
Meg Moore
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Hi Jay,
Thanks for your comments. I'm aware that in the conventional view, the causes of scoliosis are attributed to the factors you mention, and I don't disagree that this would be the case for many people. Looking at your list, many of these causes could be attributed to pre-natal nutrition in the mother, or childhood deficiencies. Weston Price apparently found no evidence of scoliosis or similar deformities in any of the peoples he visited during his studies.

From what I understand scoliosis could very well be caused by diet. I believe in some cases, at certain critical stages of growth or maturation, that if the body is not adequately nourished, that the body will actually "rob" the bones of minerals and nutrients to perform the tasks it needs. This softens and weakens the bones and can cause them to bend - especially combined with muscular tension or spasms which pull the spine further out of alignment. Many people who develop scoliosis have a normal spine all through childhood and into their early teens, and it is only after a certain age that the scoliosis "mysteriously" develops for no apparent reason. This was my case - I had a normal spine (and no abnormalities in leg length) until I turned 14, when a very slight curve developed. By the time I reached my early twenties it had progressed to the point where I was getting substantial pain. The doctors had no explanation for why I would have developed this condition.

I never was able to comprehend why everyone could agree that a condition such as rickets could be caused by nutritional deficiencies, but no one seems to be willing to admit that a curved spine could be a similar condition? Leg bones and spine are both weight bearing structures in the body, and if they are weakened then surely they will either bend, or become brittle. I have been reading up on nutritional links to bone strength and have found this is the only logical explanation for my scoliosis.

Unfortunately I think because I am now over 30, that even if I changed my diet now, my curvature would probably not change much as it has been there for so long. But that is not to say I won't try!! Any small benefit I can get is better than no improvement at all! I am looking at an integrated approach that includes dietary changes and supplementation, yoga and stretching, massage, exercise, occasional osteopathy, etc.

So I guess I was just wondering if anyone else had tried this approach and had any improvement!?



 
Jay Green
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I had a normal spine (and no abnormalities in leg length) until I turned 14, when a very slight curve developed. By the time I reached my early twenties it had progressed to the point where I was getting substantial pain. The doctors had no explanation for why I would have developed this condition.


Just digging a little here....when you say you had no abnormalities in leg length when this started, were your legs actually measured per a doctor? Were X-rays taken of both legs and the total bone length measured at that point?
 
Sarah Pope
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That's an interesting question. My sister has scoliosis and other than surgery and inserting a rod, straightening out the spine with diet alone is not possible as it was caused either by injury or congenital. I have no doubt that a diet that is supportive of the skeletal system in general would be helpful however. Bone broths and of course limiting those foods that would deplete the body like processed sugars would be helpful.
 
Meg Moore
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Jay - like I said, the doctors have no explanation for my scoliosis - I have been through the whole rigmarole of Xrays and leg measuring etc etc etc. My scoliosis is known as idiopathic scoliosis, meaning "no known cause". For want of a better information source at hand right now, Wikipedia states - "Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis has no clear causal agent, and it is generally believed to be multifactorial, although genetics are believed to play a role. Various causes have been implicated, but none has consensus among scientists as the cause of scoliosis, though the role of genetic factors in its development is widely accepted. An estimated 65% of scoliosis cases are idiopathic."

Sarah - thanks also for your comment. Besides bone broths (I am onto these already!), are there any other foods/supplements you can recommend? I have also been told that I may eventually need a spinal rod, however I find doctors a little too quickly recommend this surgery without much investigation or consideration of other options. I can understand some people may have no other choice due to the cause and severity of their condition - I have much sympathy for your sister, it is a hard road to travel. In my case I have some time and opportunity to try and improve or at least slow down the progression of my scoliosis via other means. I don't think diet alone will help me, an integrated approach with yoga and osteo etc will have more impact (I hope). In the case of my aching shoulder, this has been in constant pain for about 5 years now, without relief. That is until 2 weeks after eliminating sugar and processed foods and suddenly the pain is gone! Co-incidence? Hmmm...

I wonder whether idiopathic scoliosis if caught at a young age, could be reversed through diet? No one has the answer to this, but it would be an interesting study!
 
Laura Rose
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YES YES YOU CAN!!! I am a product of fixing my back through diet. As a 8 year old, I began a 25 year battle with a severe misalignment and back pain. As a teenager when I went through growth spurts, the pain at an all time high . The pain never subsided but only dulled to varying levels of pain. I became a teenage athlete only to have to quit the swim team, the basketball team, the soccer team because of a bad back pain. Exercise alone did not fix me spine.
Here is how changing my diet fixed my back: Once I ate better, I began to feel more balanced, I slowed down and focused on what I ate. My skin improved, my weight stabilized, my life became more balanced. I took better care of myself. I wore my glasses even when I felt I looked terrible in them. I became happier. Only then amazingly my spine began to adjust to a straighter position. Now it did take me 7 years to bring my spine to around 90% perfection. Now at age 35, I go to the gym a minimum of 2x weekly, and see an amazing chiropractor once every 3 months or so when I feel my pain and posture begin to get angry. I tell my back I love it- sounds silly, maybe, but focusing love to wherever hurts can help I have learned. Diet was my transformational step to healing my spine. Good luck on your journey!!
 
Ann Blevins
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I also have scoliosis and was told by a chiropractor about 20 years ago that I would always have pain and have to see a chiropractor. However, at this point I rarely see a chiropractor and rarely have any pain. My shoulders have straightened out so much that I don't notice them being uneven any more unless I really look closely at the muscles. Stretching helps, but I don't do much of that and just do regular "around the farm" type exercise. While I've been on GAPS the last two years, I've been eating an organic, mostly whole foods diet for the last 20 or so, and believe it's more what I am not eating that makes the difference than what I am eating. Cutting out all the processed foods and replacing them with whole foods is a huge step. Not having any cavities in the last 20 years (but many before that) shows, to me, that my bones must be healthier, since teeth are a form of bone.

The book "Cure Tooth Decay" is an excellent book on repairing teeth (and hence bone) health. It provides detailed information on the most nutrient dense diet to restore tooth heath (in my opinion, beyond Dr Weston Price's Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, and sally fallon's Nourishing Traditions) - I highly recommend it if you want to take your bone/tooth health further.
 
Meg Moore
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Thank you Laura and Ann for your inspiring stories! It is great to hear that you have made such a difference to your lives.

Laura - do you have any information about what the changes were that you made to your diet? And I like the idea of focusing love to where it hurts - its amazing what can happen!

Ann - Do you feel that GAPS made a difference to your scoliosis? And thank you for the tip about the book, I will look into it. Is the book better than the GAPS book or is it similar information? Also, if you don't mind me asking, how old were you when you started the dietary changes?

Thanks again
 
Craig Dobbson
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A friend of mine had scoliosis that began to develop shortly after the onset of puberty. My understanding of it was that he was growing at such a high rate that his spine wasn't able to take on the extra weight and the muscles stretched so tight that they pulled his spine sideways fast thus causing the curvature. It was caught early enough that he was able to "fix" it by wearing a brace which straightened his spine over time (two years).
While I do think that diet can help to prevent things like bone loss and some developmental disorders, I find it unlikely that you'll be able to straighten your spine with diet alone. You may be able to strengthen your spine but without a physical support, I don't see how the bones would find their proper alignment on their own. If you were to break a bone, then it would need to be set in the proper place then held in that position with a cast or metal splints/pins while the bone healed. Certainly a calcium rich diet would go along way in aiding the healing process, but unless the bone is in the right position all you'll accomplish is a healed crooked bone.

My brother was in a really bad accident in his early 30's which caused him to be in the ICU for 6 weeks before he was stable enough to be operated on to fix broken bones. by the time the doctors opened him up his leg, thigh and hip had already begun to heal in improper places. The surgeons had to re-break the bones in order to get them in the right positions to heal properly. The bone in his hip was so badly broken that the doctors said it looked like a bowl of corn flakes (hundreds of small pieces of bone), though by the time they got in there most of them has begun to heal in that messed up form. Bones don't know where they ought to be, they only know where they are. If they are broken or misshaped, they heal in that form.
If you are really interested in fixing the shape of your spine you'll likely need a physical intervention of some sort. That might mean a brace or surgery to remedy the alignment, then focus on the diet to improve the healing process and prevent further damage. Sorry if that's not the answer you're looking for but it seems only logical to me.

 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Not sure if this will help your specific problem. My greatgrandmother, grandmother, and mother have a curvature of the spine. They didn't go to conventional doctors to get any diagnosis - it is just some thing that is pretty obvious to see when you look at them.

Mine appears/appeared to be starting to develop. But since starting a regular yoga practice (yoga for old beginners - not the tough stuff) my shoulder pain has diminished and in pictures I don't have as much of a stooped look as before.

Also, I don't really understand all of the different diets, I just make sure that there are no chemicals in my food. Also have eliminated all wheat and most dairy - still like a little raw milk and raw milk cheese now and then.

I don't know which of these things has caused a decrease in my bone/joint problems - maybe a combination since I really do believe it is a holistic process. But in addition to having a healthy chemical free diet I think the yoga has really done wonders. The real key there though is to make sure that you work with a yoga instructor who understands about working with people who need a gentle practice. I have been in one studio where I was the youngest (52) person in the class and the only one who was completely mobile - the rest were on crutches or walkers. She was an amazing instructor but sadly she moved away. I have another good one though so I'm back at it again.

Good luck and I hope you find something that works for you.
 
Christ's Child
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Jeanine - I think diet changes make the differences. Ligaments are what make your back straight, and they are composed of collagen. Perhaps your body was trying to use different forms of silica as collagen and mistaking them for collagen thus building a weak ligament. Have you gotten rid of all forms of silica - silicates in your salt, dimethicones in your lotions and conditioners, and silica in your deodorant and toothpaste? Your ligaments should rejuvenate when they stop using silica and start using collagen again. Hugs! I hope this helps!
 
j laven
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Hi Meg and all:

My son has scoliosis. We have found that diet is critical in resolving the issue. It appears my son can't handle most sugars, which appear to be the major cause of the muscle stiffness. Since cutting out particular sugars from his diet he has no more stiffness, no more pain and has seen a 5-10 degree improvement in his curve (accuracy of the cobb angle measurement is +- 5 percent):

Absolutely avoid these:
--------------------------
fructose (no fruits, corn based products)
sucrose (sucrose breaks down into fructose and glucose. i.e. most processed foods).
lactose (i.e. dairy) - breaks down into galactose and glucose).
galactose (in lactose free dairy products)
maltose (in some candies)
some sugar alcohols - especially maltitol and sorbitol. (in gum, candy)

For my son, these are fine (cause no stiffness):
-----------------------------------------------------
glucose (you can buy powdered glucose at bulk barn or bulk foods places, called "dextrose" - works great for baking).
xylitol seems ok so far

what this means for his diet is:
-----------------------------------
no fruit, period. (supplement vitamin c, folic acid etc).
no bread or glutens (wheat is high in fructose).
no dairy. (ironically people with scoliosis tend to really go for dairy, believing that the calcium will help them. It may but the lactose / galactose really stiffens my son's back).
no lactose free milk products (contain a lot of galactose).
avoid corn based products, starchy foods generally.
avoid brown rice (contains fructose, but white rice is fine).

what to eat:
--------------
generally try a diabetic diet i.e. lots of green vegetables, lots of meat and nuts.
supplement vitamins for lack of fruits.
substitute unsweetened almond milk for milk
substitute margarine for butter
use powerdered glucose for sugar substitute in baking
use WHITE rice flour and oats for baking (white rice and potatoes appear to be ok for my son, but we focus on white rice mainly because it breaks down into glucose).

I think the sugar issue is a secondary one. I think the real issue is a gut flora one, where whatever bad flora he has causes the bad sugars to break down into something poisonous. I have no proof of this, but I have the same issue - if I eat the bad sugars, my gut kills me, and I get arthritis-like stiffness for days until I stop the intake of the bad sugars. For me glucose is ok too so I do the same diet as my son.

Hope this helps you!!!




 
John Master
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Meg You are on the right track with a wapf diet. Many diseases of modern man stem directly from the diet as prices work in the 20's and 30's clearly demonstrated. Healed a lot of problems by always going back to the wapf guidelines and seeing where the cupboards and fridge need improvement. Also look for a practitioner in your area (acu or chiro) that performs a cranial-sacral therapy. This is a spinal manipulation/massage that can slowly over time correct your posture. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen what it did for an elderly family member whose posture had been causing her other troubles. Shes in her 90's now and still with us!
 
John Master
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There is also a great anecdote about scoliosis on the margin of pg 483 of the nourishing traditions cookbook relating to manganese being stripped away during the refining of grains into white wheat.
 
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