How We Help: Scoliosis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Scheuermann's Disease


The Backpod can be used slightly to the side of the spine to strongly oppose the middle back twist in mild scoliosis. The twist in the middle back means that the ribs on the side to which the spine is twisting will be slightly raised. If someone looks along your back when you’re lying on your front they’ll see this – a sort of gentle raised ridge about 50mm (2 inches) to the side of the spine itself.

Now, if you push down on those raised ribs (which join onto the spine), you’re using them as little crowbars or levers to gently “unwind” the twist in the spine. That’s exactly what the Backpod does when you’re lying back on it, using your upper body weight to provide the push. Position it over the curve of the raised ribs, lie back on it for at least a minute in each place, and move it up and down the middle back, about 50mm (2 inches) out from the spine each time.

So it’s a simple way of opposing the ongoing twist of mild scoliosis which you can use at home, ongoing. Scoliosis is commonly treated with home exercises and stretches. These are correct and useful, but cannot bring as much specific leverage to bear onto the twisting joints as the Backpod can. Using everything works best.

If you’re also getting a bit hunched, which is common in scoliosis, use the Backpod over the spine itself as well, in the usual way. See the iHunch page to explain this and watch ‘How to treat (most) mild scoliosis middle back pain’.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

This is a rheumatoid condition that pushes your upper back towards an extreme hunch. As a device and home program primarily designed to counter the problems from hunching, the Backpod is a perfect fit with the condition. This also applies to anyone with radiographic and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis, of which ankylosing spondylitis is the biggest sub-group.

Rheumatology doctors will treat the inflammatory aspects of ankylosing spondylitis but the Backpod treats the musculoskeletal consequences. Just hunching by itself causes enormous problems, without any ankylosing spondylitis involvement. The biggest upper spinal problem in the computer-savvy world is called the iHunch – the hunched upper back driving neck pain and headache, usually from bending over laptops, tablets and smartphones. Very few of these people have ankylosing spondylitis – but they’re still sore.

So most upper back, neck and headache pain with this condition is just from the hunching itself – which is exactly what we developed the Backpod and its home program for.

Naturally we cannot straighten out an extreme, fused, decades-old hunch but the Backpod is the most practical and effective ongoing home package to slow or even halt that progression. Even a patient with an extreme, fused hunch should get some relief from the massage, stretching and strengthening exercises that are part of the Backpod’s program. For joints that aren’t that tight, the Backpod gives an accurate, sustained stretch graded from mild to very strong – and you usually need that strength with ankylosing spondylitis.

Breathing difficulties and Costochondritis and Tietze’s Syndrome chest pain also happen with ankylosing spondylitis, as the rib joints round the back stiffen along with the hunching spine. The stiffening rib joints mean you can’t take a full breath in. Costochondritis and Tietze’s pain on your breastbone can happen as the rib joints strain to compensate for the restricted rib movement around the back. As far as we can tell, the Backpod is the only device around that does an effective stretch of tight posterior rib joints.

The other characteristic musculoskeletal problem with ankylosing spondylitis is a slow tightening and eventual fusing of the sacroiliac joints, where the sacrum glides inside the rest of the pelvis. Lying back on the Backpod with it positioned under the sacrum gives a firm steady stretch to these joints, to slow and possibly halt the progression into immobility. This is shown and explained in our YouTube video ‘How to mobilise a tight sacroiliac joint with the Backpod’.

Overall, we think the Backpod is the best ongoing tool you can have for ankylosing spondylitis. This isn’t hype or a magic wand, but a carefully designed and constructed fulcrum with enough leverage for you to stretch and give relief to the specific joints that your ankylosing spondylitis is attempting to freeze up. We can’t treat the inflammation itself but this is probably your best practical way of keeping yourself as well as your condition will allow.

Scheuermann’s Disease

Scheuermann’s Disease, also called Scheuermann’s Osteochondritis, is an inflammation affecting the thoracic spine, especially in adolescents. The acute inflammation generally burns itself out after a few years, leaving a tightened, hunched middle back in its wake.  As a device and home program primarily designed to counter the problems from hunching, the Backpod is perfectly suited to sorting this out.

Even the acute inflammatory stage is worth treating cautiously in the same way, as why the spine gets inflamed has not been satisfactorily explained. Excessive sustained loading on the slouching adolescent spine is a good bet.

Backpod TV

We have created an extensive selection of tutorials and informative videos, and posted them on YouTube for your easy access.