I'm 35 years old, and have dealt with back pain since I was a young teen. There was never a moment when I was without pain - it ranged from a nagging soreness to pain so extreme it kept me from work, school, and life in general. It wasn't until age 20 that I was diagnosed as having scoliosis, but the general consensus was that it was too late to do anything except chiro, massage, and physio to manage it. I have spent thousands of dollars beyond my benefits trying - unsuccessfully - to manage the pain.
This year, I met Dr. Mendes and was fitted for a Scolibrace. I'll admit that it is tough to wear, and tough to dress in such a way that conceals it, but even after 2 months of wear (8h/day) I've noticed huge improvements. It's strange to take off the brace at the end of the day and not have pain. I'm having fewer headaches and fewer cracking joints in my back and hip area.
After beginning to wear the Scolibrace, I started my Schroth sessions with Dr. Mendes. It has been a game-changer. Simply having the knowledge of how to self-correct my posture has been invaluable. As well, having the ability to work on straightening and strengthening my spine in the right way has given me a source of real hope that I can reduce the pain I've been experiencing. Dr. Mendes put in so much care and effort into ensuring that I understood the exercises fully, so that I could continue successfully with Schroth at home. I would wholeheartedly recommend Dr. Mendes and the Schroth method to anyone who is living with scoliosis.
-Alyssa in Calgary
Having lived with scoliosis since my early 20’s (I am now 56), I enrolled for Dr. Mendes’ Schroth exercise program 3 months ago. As my scoliosis slowly became worse over 30+ years, so too have I increased my efforts to overcome it, evolving into a fairly-intense regimen of stretching and weight-training. But if I stopped, pain, stiffness and fatigue were just around the corner. And in spite of my best efforts, my curvature was increasing, injuries were becoming more frequent; vertebrae were fusing, arthritis setting-in, bone-spurs multiplying. Unable to exercise 1.5 to 2 hours a day (or at most two days) I was resorting to pain-killers more and more often. In private moments, I found myself falling into despair and hopelessness: facing old-age as a cripple. A spine Specialist recommended Schroth.
How does Schroth compare to other forms of exercise? I’ve practiced Yoga to re-align my back since I was diagnosed, and although it has helped, nothing compares to the results achieved in only one week (and since maintained). I have tried all kinds of treatments, including hiring Trainers to design an exercise program for scoliosis, but the Schroth exercises, although simple, relatively quick and easy to do, were different than anything I had seen. They isolate, stretch and strengthen exactly where it is needed: in the deep-core postural muscles, tendons and ligaments. If you want to be flexible, take a Yoga class. If you want to get fit, go the gym. I still do those, but if you want to fix your back – learn the Schroth exercise program.
Since my 5 days of intensive therapy and exercise-training, it’s like I have never had a back problem – simple as that. The pain is gone. I can barely remember what it felt like. Gone are the discomfort and tiredness, even if I miss the exercises for a few days, which was impossible before. I feel like a new man: I sleep better, work better, move better, and have more energy left at the end of the day. The result for me is more than I could have hope for and just short of miraculous.
I was diagnosed with scoliosis at fourteen and I remember hating my visits to the doctor. I always left feeling frustrated and helpless. My personality went from upbeat and happy to quiet and depressed. So when my eleven year old was diagnosed earlier this year my biggest concern was for her emotional health. The specialist gave us three options: do nothing, have surgery or hard bracing. He focused on how bad Belauna’s curves were and how bad they would get by the time she turned eighty, even if we managed to halt the progression during her growing years. From his perspective, the fact that she has lots of growing left to do was going to work against her. Belauna was fitted for a hard brace, which was very painful, and she was already dreading having to wear it. That’s when I found SpineCor and Dr. Mendes.
Our first appointment with Dr. Mendes was completely different. He talked to Belauna and made her feel relaxed and comfortable. He explained exactly what was happening to her spine and how the SpineCor brace worked. He focused on how flexible her back is instead of how bad the curves are. And with the SpineCor brace, the more growing she has left to do the better her chances are of possibly seeing some correction. We were thrilled to finally hear something positive. I don’t have to tell her to wear her brace since she feels better when it’s on and she actually looks forward to her visits with Dr. Mendes. I couldn’t be more pleased with how she is doing.
After the first appointment with the specialist I left feeling depressed, unhappy, and I wanted to go home and cry. I felt like there wasn`t any hope. The fitting for the hard brace really hurt when they squashed me into these plastic things to straighten out my curves. I felt even worse than before and I was dreading seeing the doctor again. Thankfully I didn`t have to!
My first visit with Dr. Mendes was so different, he made me feel good about myself and hopeful and happy. Basically it was the opposite of everything I felt in the hospital. The SpineCor brace doesn`t hurt at all and has even taken away the back pain I was having. I am always excited to go see Dr. Mendes!
Belauna (age 11)
“I was diagnosed with a severe scoliosis in 1998 at the age of 14. I decided against surgery, even though my curvature was 45 degrees and quickly progressing. Instead, I found out about a bracing option in the U.S. At the time, there weren’t many other choices available, so I gave it a shot. It was the most challenging, painful and emotional 4 years of my life. At the end of the bracing program, I did not receive as much of a positive result as I was hoping. My lumbar curve did seem to improve, but sadly, as my teenage years ended and I progressed into adulthood, my thoracic curve took a turn for the worst and started to progress again. The only way I was able to find any pain relief and improve my postural abnormalities was through the proper exercises and stretches. I decided to become a Registered Massage Therapist in 2006 and graduated in 2009 with my diploma. I learnt many valuable skills in dealing with and treating scoliosis. As I started into my practice, the pain was unbearable at times when treating my clients, I was always able to keep my composure in front of them but I found it very contradicting that I was trying to help people with their pain and yet unable to help myself. I started to really lose hope but was to stubborn to quit my practice in Massage Therapy; “something about the gratification of my job really kept me going.”
“In 2011, I had an interview with Dr. Julian Mendes. He was looking for a Massage Therapist to join his team in Kelowna at “Posture First Chiropractic”. As fate would have it, I joined his team and soon found out that he specialized in treating scoliosis. Dr. Mendes really opened my eyes and made me realize that there was still hope for me and others suffering with my condition. Not only did his specific and effective chiropractic adjustments give me pain relief and mobility, but he also introduced me to the latest technology called SpineCor Bracing. In children, it is successful in reducing the severity of the scoliosis curvatures without painful bracing and surgery. In adults such as myself, the goals are different as the spine has stopped growing and room for improvement is minimal. The goals for adult bracing are more for pain management, prevention and postural improvement. Dr. Mendes fit me for the Adult SpineCor brace in late February of 2011. At first I was hesitant and doubtful that it would even make a difference as my curvature was 68 degrees. That night I was sitting at my computer in my new brace, normally after about 20 minutes I would have to get up and stretch because the pain was so intense. I sat in front of the computer for about an hour with no pain and had one of the best sleeps I can remember. Today I am still practicing in Kelowna with less then half the pain I was experiencing in the past. My curvature is stabilized as of my last follow up with Dr. Mendes and I am able to continue the activities I enjoy with a better quality of life.”
“I have so much respect for Dr. Mendes as he is so passionate about what he does. He is now practicing in Calgary Alberta and continues to touch people’s lives in so many ways.”
With sincere appreciation and warmest thanks to Dr. Julian Mendes for your patience, understanding and commitment to helping me strive for a better chance at improving my quality of life and to never stop believing in myself and my capabilities. You have helped me in more ways than you know!
I am 52 years old and was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 8. I was referred to the Children’s Hospital in Calgary (where I live) and after consultation with numerous orthopedic surgeons they all decided it was best if I had Harrington Rods put in my back. THANK GOD my surgeon at the time said “No way I am doing that to an 8 year old”. Instead I wore a barbaric Milwaukee Brace for 8 years. Actually outgrew my first one and had to have a second one made. I was told at the time to “tough through it” and when I finished growing then that was it. No more brace and I would be fine. Well as time has proven all is not “fine” and my curve continued to worsen. I was having a lot of pain and becoming more and more restricted in what I was able to do daily. I was referred to Dr. Mendes and after review of my x-rays etc. he told me that he felt the Spinecor Brace could help me. Was I excited …nope….was I devastated…yup. Why you ask? Well you see I thought I was “cured”. I endured agony, teasing, ridicule etc. for 8 years in my early years only to find out that I “as I thought” was going to have to go through that all over FOR EVER!! I’m sure Dr. Mendes thought I was crazy when a grown women was a wreck and super emotional over the thought of having to be WHAT YOU SAY!!!! Rebraced!!! Well I have had my Spinecor Brace for 14 months now. Guess what - it worked!! My pain is drastically reduced. Gone completely nope, but in all fairness I’m not sure what is from my scoliosis and what is simply old age creeping into my bones. Dr. Julian Mendes has changed my life. I no longer live in constant pain. Do I still have scoliosis – of course. Do I hate my brace some days – of course. Do I love what my brace has done for me – of course. Would I recommend it ABSOLUTELY!