Are you Suffering from scoliosis in colorado springs?
By: Stacy Rosales
I grew up in New Jersey, the pharmaceutical capital of the country. I've been immersed in 'healthcare' my whole life, so I've seen it from many of its angles. I have 15 years of experience working in hospitals, a pharmacy, in-house at a pharmaceutical company, and in many field-based roles in pharmaceutical and over-the-counter healthcare sales. On the opposite end of the healthcare spectrum, I've also been a caretaker of someone with a terminal disease, and have been a back pain patient with scoliosis for 18 years.
I was diagnosed with scoliosis in 1995 at 11 years old. I can remember having some back pain, but, at that age, it felt like the muscle soreness I would get after sports or dance practice. Based on my school nurse's recommendation, my mother took me to see an orthopedist - one who came to her with beaming recommendations. My mother began her career as a nurse, steadily rising to the top of the ranks of hospital administration, so she felt that modern medicine was the gold standard, and her recommendations were as good as gold.
After analyzing my x-rays, the orthopedic surgeon noted that I had a spinal curvature of 32-degrees. Because the curvature was located in the thoracic region of my spine, I only had two options for treatment: 1.) extensive back surgery to insert a metal rod through my spine to mechanically straighten it, or, 2.) wear a back brace so large that it would encase my head. Option 1 was out the door because we couldn't afford that surgery, and it was scary to think about the possibility of not being able to move (or play sports, or dance, or anything like that!) with a metal rod in my spine. Option 2 was also out the door because I got made fun of in school enough for being a super nerd. I was not adding more fuel to the fire by coming to school looking like a robot.
With no other options, we did nothing. I felt no symptoms of my scoliosis, so I just didn't pay any attention to it. In fact, I didn’t really pay much attention to my health at all. With all the ‘healthcare’ influence in my life, I ironically grew up in and maintained an extremely unhealthy lifestyle – working around the clock, not getting enough sleep or exercise, a diet of soda and fast food, and social participation in cigarettes and copious amounts of alcohol. I wasn't overweight in the least, and, at the time, I didn’t feel like my lifestyle choices were affecting my life negatively, so I didn't think there was anything wrong it. In fact, I thought I was invincible because I could do so much and be so successful on barely any food and sleep.
Then, I turned 25, and, still thinking I was invincible, naïvely signed up for an Olympic-distance triathlon without really knowing what went into it. I barely finished (but I finished!) and reality of my health slapped me in the face. I started to notice my back pain after that race, and it was clear to me that I was not as "young" as I thought I was, and I needed to make some serious changes. I began seeing a chiropractor in New Jersey to address my back pain, and tried to incorporate healthier food options and exercise, but it was simply a struggle, especially in the constant hustle and bustle of the New York City area.
In July of 2011, I was in a car accident that totaled my car and left me with bulging discs in my cervical spine and 2 herniated discs in my lumbar spine to add to the scoliosis. With my reluctance in changing my health for the better, I was almost positive that this was divine intervention. I continued treatment under my chiropractor, but the pain was so bad following the accident, I needed CII pain medications to ease the pain so I could sleep. I was doing physical therapy, but I didn’t feel like it was helping much. Now, I really had to do something to fix this pain, because I was not going to end up addicted to percs and still stuck with a bad back.
I moved to Colorado Springs a month and a half later, and by the good fortune of LivingSocial, I found Dr. Molly Kallenbach of Thrive Health Systems. Her initial x-rays showed my spinal curvature at 25-degrees. From 1995-2011, I saw a 7-degree decrease in curvature. I didn’t really have anything concrete to attribute to that, but I was happy with the small improvement over the years. For the next 18 months, Dr. Molly and I began to explore my scoliosis from a number of angles. We worked together on a very specific treatment plan that included adjustments, massage, traction, exercise, and even supplements. At the end of those 18 months, we did follow up x-rays which showed my spinal curvature now at 15-degrees! In 18 months, we saw a 10-degree decrease in curvature, and I am SO HAPPY with these results. I no longer need any pain medication because I rarely have back pain - even with the herniated discs - and I'm still improving! I don’t plan on ever returning to an orthopedist.
The best part about this story is that Dr. Molly’s care actually changed my life in more ways than one. After exploring and incorporating the natural and non-invasive treatment modalities used by Dr. Molly in my treatment plan, I became more and more interested in preventative health, and eventually decided to change my career path. In October of 2012 (just a little over a year after moving to Colorado Springs and beginning treatment with Dr. Molly), I left my 15-year ‘healthcare’ legacy to immerse myself in the healthy lifestyle that runs through the veins of the city of Colorado Springs, and begin my transformation into a Health & Wellness Coach. At the time that I write this, I have earned certification in a number of fitness areas, including Power Yoga, Zumba, Schwinn Indoor Cycling, Core 3-D, and Personal Training. In the next year, I will earn Certifications in Yin Yoga, Yoga Sculpt, Group Fitness Instruction, and Health Coaching, among others, I’m sure. Just like Dr. Molly incorporates all her knowledge into a holistic treatment plan, I hope to one day incorporate all my health and wellness knowledge to help others reach their goals.
I share this story because I think it's important to know that alternative healthcare options are out there if you are willing to try them and do the work. While I do still believe modern medicine may be required in specific situations, it is certainly not the only option out there. I am SO happy I've changed directions and am now moving toward a life of TRUE health and wellness, and a career supporting such. Thank you, Thrive Health Systems and Colorado, for completely immersing me in the opposite extreme.