People with scoliosis are subjected to a great deal of x-ray radiation over the course of their lives, significantly increasing their risk for breast cancer. A year ago, I wrote a blog introducing thermal body scans as a potential alternative to these x-rays, and I received a tremendous response. It made me curious as to what my own body scan might show, particularly as I had surgery just a few years ago to remove an 8 cm cyst from my abdomen (a story that I also detailed on this blog).
With those two things in mind, I made an appointment to have my first full-body thermal scan, just to make sure nothing else was hiding in my body.
A thermal scan is different from an x-ray because no radiation is used. Instead, the scan measures heat. These scans can indicate any inflamed organs, cysts, tumors, or overworked muscles that may need further investigation. Looking at this thermography image, you’ll see a variety of colors – the brighter the color, the more inflamed the tissue. The colors indicating heat span from red (low heat) to bright white (high heat). Dark colors, like maroon, red, and blue indicate little to no inflammation.
Thankfully, my thermal scan indicates that all is well, but I was very surprised to find out that it also colorfully illustrated my scoli!
In my thermography picture above, green is my brightest color. If you follow the green color down my body, the issue areas are mainly upper left neck, right shoulder and mid back, lower left back and far-right hip – all which map my scoli perfectly.
As a matter of comparison, here is an x-ray of my back, taken several years ago and included in The Beautiful Scoliotic Back. Look how similar my thermal scan and my x-ray are.
Pretty cool, huh?
Now, I’m not saying that thermal scans for scoliosis can completely replace x-rays, but the similarities are there, both in color and black and white.
Could incorporating thermal scans into your follow-up scoliosis appointments reduce your risk of breast cancer? Maybe. And that’s something to seriously consider, right?
Let’s dig deeper into what thermal scans reveal about my scoli. The beefier (more colorful) muscles generate more heat because they are the workhorse muscles of the body. They are overworked because from attempting to hold up the body from sinking deeper into the scoliotic curves. One might assume that you should strengthen those muscles to help them better carry the bulk of the weight; however, it’s the opposite that’s true.
Consider this: If I strengthened those muscles, what color would my already green-colored tissue most likely turn to in a thermal scan? It would start turning light blue, then yellow, possibly all the way to bright white. Is that good or bad? It’s bad, because it indicates that the tissue is overworked and inflamed.
To help correct my scoli, I need to balance out my muscle tissue, balance out the colors in my thermal scan. I should be strengthening the muscles in the blue and purple areas, or what are the concave parts of my curve.
Take a look at one particular part of my thermal scan, the biggest section of green in my right ribcage area. Now, go directly to the left side of the spine to the green area. See that almost perfect triangle of green there? This is a good thing!
I’ve purposefully been working my trapezius and rhomboid muscles to pull my spine back to the left, moving my spine towards neutral. That is what’s helping to stabilize my spine.
This all ties into a popular, widely-debated side plank research article from 2014? The research indicated that a specific side plank could help with scoliosis. I’m convinced that the research incorrectly assessed which hand to use for the plank according to your particular curves. If I did the plank as that research suggested with my right hand down, I’d be increasing the muscle tension in my mid right back. With everything we’ve just learned about my thermography scan, would that be a good thing? No! We don’t want extra heat in the body, we want it to calm down and have a more even distribution of existing heat.
Have you had a thermography scan? Did it teach you anything about your scoli? Have you switched or considered switching to thermal scans for scoliosis care? I would love to hear your results!