Cobb Angle Measurements of my Thoracic Spine
- 1996 – 42 degrees
- 1997 – 45 degrees
- 2003 – 29 degrees
- 2011 – 27 degrees
Success with Scoliosis: Part 1
In my first post for this blog, titled Success with Scoliosis, I showed you photographs taken 6 years apart. The difference between the two images was striking. Here they are again:
In the “after” image, taken in November 2011, my body looks more balanced, lengthened and comfortable than the “before” image taken six years previously. More importantly, my spine looks straighter. I was left with the question of whether I had successfully straightened my spine, or whether I only looked straighter. So the following month I went to a Medical Imaging Clinic in my hometown of Toronto and had a new set of X-rays taken. I have had three previous sets of X-rays taken in 1996, 1997 and 2003.
A Straightened Lumbar Spine
Before my past X-rays could be accurately compared to my more recent films I had to have them scanned and digitized. Unfortunately, my 1997 films were lost by the medical imaging department at a Toronto hospital (a story for another time), and the quality of the scan for the 1996 X-rays was not ideal, so in this post I’ll be comparing 2011 with 2003.
Here are the “before” and “after” images of my lumbar spine:
Obviously my lower spine is much straighter than it was 6 years ago. It’s also worth taking a closer look to see exactly what is going on.
Lumbar supports thoracic
Although we can consider this a lumbar view of my spine, the lower thoracic vertebrae can also be seen. The lumbar spine usually has 5 vertebrae, the thoracic spine has 12 vertebrae and the cervical spine has 7 vertebrae. So if we count up from the pelvis, the images show all 5 lumbar vertebrae, as well as 4 of the thoracic vertebrae. We can see that the increasing symmetry in my lumbar spine is continuing up into my lower thoracic spine.
Carrying on up the body, here are the before and after images of my thoracic spine:
Here the changes in my thoracic spine are less obvious than in the lumbar spine. In the after image of my lower spine scoliosis is very slight. In the after image of the thoracic spine, the scoliosis is still evident, but significant improvements can be seen. We see the straightening impact of my treatment at the top and bottom of the image, so that the curve exists in a smaller section of the spine.
When examining scoliotic curves the standard measurement used by radiologists and doctors is the Cobb angle. The improvements to my thoracic spine are confirmed by this measurement. In 1996 my Cobb angle was measured at 42 degrees. In 2003 it was measured at 29 degrees. My most recent measurement puts my thoracic curve at a Cobb angle of 27 degrees. My experience with scoliosis is an example of a patient with a structural thoracic curve causing their spine to become straighter through the use of movement re-education, exercise and manual therapy.
Success with scoliosis is possible. Hard work, yes. But definitely possible.