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ghostdog

How to arch with scoliosis

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Hi everyone,

AFF student here.

I have scoliosis and am not able to arch! It's not about trying, my back just can't arch!
What's your suggestion? How can I balance myself and fly?

Here is my level 3:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQsAikVr7Ew&t=49s

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No idea where you are jumping. You just need to jump more, with other instructors. Scoliosis isn't the issue, numbers are. You can fly flat-ish, and I'll bet you learn to arch yet.

Cheers,

-Harry
"Sometimes you eat the bar,
and well-sometimes the bar eats you..."

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Quote

I have scoliosis and am not able to arch! It's not about trying, my back just can't arch!
What's your suggestion? How can I balance myself and fly?


If nothing you can do will enable you to arch (i.e., no amount of stretching or yoga or anything else is going to allow you to arch), then skydiving is going to be difficult for you. You can fly flat, or even de-arched, but it's a lot harder, especially when you have a grand total of three jumps under your belt.

My first suggestion is to speak with your instructors and see what they come up with.

My second suggestion is to visit a wind tunnel and try to find a body position there that will allow you to fly stable. The wind tunnel is a great place to experiment as you can get immediate feedback. Also, it can be easier to concentrate on things like body position when you don't have to worry about hitting the ground in 60 seconds.

Good luck!

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Yes, get thee to a wind tunnel, preferably with an instructor from your dz, and preferably one who wants to find a way to make it work, not one who only knows one right answer to every question.
It will be harder for you, and might end up limiting your skydiving. But it’ll be fun to figure out.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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I'll echo the other suggestions to work with your DZ instructors and try some tunnel time. Specific to your scoliosis, I have a minor case (angle of curvature is not severe enough to be officially diagnosed as scoliosis but I've had back issues since childhood). However, there are things that can improve your flexibility, you just start out with a disadvantage so you'll have to work more on it than most. Some things that work for me: chiropractor, massage (especially if you can find a place that does both, get adjusted right after an hour massage), windsor pilates 20 minute workout (it's on youtube now; if my back has flared up I can hardly do it and it's an intense workout, but it strengthens my back fast; normally it's a quick easy workout to maintain my back), strength training (I use free weights and several lifts that incorporate balancing), anything that exercises your "core", etc. Find what works for you and consider hiring a physical therapist. They are trained to find the right stretches/exercises that will meet your specific needs. You can usually find ones cheaper, like $60/hr or so if you look outside of hospitals/clinics (try chiropractic centers or just word of mouth/internet search). Good luck and welcome to skydiving. I hope you can work it out.
Max Peck
What's the point of having top secret code names, fellas, if we ain't gonna use 'em?

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hello there, im a tunnel flyer and starting aff soon.. dont let the scoliosis get to you.. i have it an s curve in my spine from scoliosis. i can arch when I started I couldnt. My wife yells at me stand up stright will you! this what i did every morning i stood againist a wall corner. move ya should blades.. try to arch and stretch. is a starter.. there more i do so message me ill tell ya more. there always a way always will.never say never.. build muscles memory in ya back helps!

DONT GET DISCOURAGEDB|

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Thank y'll

I've tried tunnel yesterday. I'd say it was helpful and I could be a bit stable using my legs(mostly) and shoulders.
Also I started arching in the pool, trying to improve back muscles. donno if it helps or not.

I know I have just a disadvantage but I feel ready to re-do level 3. Hopefully it'll work out. I'll update here.

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Alright so I've done 5 min in tunnel and tried level 3 again. annnd passed!

for some reasons I thought I arched perfectly up there, I was stable, super happy that I'm flying. But when I watched the video, I saw that I'm flat! there's no arch but still flying right?

what's your thoughts? anything that I can improve to be more stable? level 4 is 90 degree turns and I'll be needing more arch i guess

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIx2VxNfGxI

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ghostdog


for some reasons I thought I arched perfectly up there, I was stable, super happy that I'm flying. But when I watched the video, I saw that I'm flat! there's no arch but still flying right?



That's fine. Your goal is to be stable. Having an arch just makes it a lot easier to achieve, especially as a novice. The more experience a jumper has, the more they can manage to stay stable despite less stable or unstable body positions.

Having the ability to arch more also helps when jumping with others to adjust fall rate. While that can be more of a limitation later, that isn't really much of a concern now. One can adjust fall rate with arms and legs to some degree too.

(I didn't check the video though, for any fine tuning of comments.)

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Lots of good advice already posted, but may I add.....

I was pretty stiff when I started and my arch was not enough for me to be stable. After some amount of aggravation I switched to Static Line training so I could better learn at my own pace. I reasoned I could repeat $75 jumps with a lot less stress than $180 (AFF) jump.

Don't lets a handicap keep you out of the sport.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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Just offering my personal experience hoping it might help you to move past it.

I have what the doctors call 'hyperscoliokyphosis' which is a fancy word for saying that my spine is f*cked 7 ways from sunday. The curvature is extreme and the doctors have warned me it will likely put me in a wheelchair around age 60 (Im 30 now).

The problem with the condition is that there is actually nothing you can do about it when it gets that bad. Your flexibility etc is not the problem, if you have severe scoliosis then your vertabrae have actually morphed from a rectangle shape to basically a wedge shape. In other words this curve is now part of your skeleton, all the stretching and yoga in the world wont fix it. I've spent the last 15 years working with every doctor, surgeon, GP, physio, specialist, personal trainer, witch doctor, massuese and yoga teacher that I could get my hands on and the end consensus is overwhelmingly 'aside from spinal fusion surgery theres nothing you can do so just deal with it'.

The good news is it wont effect your skydiving career. I only have 600 jumps so I'm not exactly an expert but I can belly fly up or down to any formation no problem. Instructors etc at my dz are always commenting that I seem to be flying a little flat, but I'm always where i need to be....I think you'll just develop your own weird little style to fly around the scoliosis.

I promise all of your concerns around this will be gone after 100 jumps. Just stick with it.

The only real problem it causes for me is the pain in the lumbar spine (where the beginning of the 'hump' meets my lower spine) after a day of jumping, because thats where most of the pressure goes.

X-ray is of me standing 'straight'.

*edit to add* I didnt mean to make it sound like stretching etc wont help, it certainly will and you should most definitely be doing it (I workout 6 days a week to keep on top of my spinal issues), I'm just saying you cant change the shape of your bones once its this bad :) Spine.jpg

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Thanks guys for responses.

yea as you guys said the goal is to be stable, it's gonna be harder with a bad arch and f*cked up back but possible for sure. :P

I've done my level 4 and 5 successfully and believe me or not even with a bad arch I can fly and have the situation in control. I think the problem that I have right now is my legs that I keep forgetting about. but passed anyways!
extremely happy about it and ready to get this aff done next week. you can see it clearly in my jumps I guess
level 4:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dezgQME068

level 5:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJuxQ2VPgjE

one more thing, more I jump more my back hurts and less I can arch. level 5 is after level 4 and you can see I'm not able to arch even as much as level 4

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I'm still a baby in the sport with 400 jumps but I have scoliosis and have my spine fused. Stretching isn't going to change your back but stretching is beneficial to keep the movement you already have. Lots and lots of tunnel time and you can learn how to fly. If it's something you want to do keep at it. I can Arch a bit but when doing belly I almost always have to wear a weight belt. Blue skies and welcome to the family

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1 hour ago, jmcarls20 said:

I'm still a baby in the sport with 400 jumps but I have scoliosis and have my spine fused. Stretching isn't going to change your back but stretching is beneficial to keep the movement you already have. Lots and lots of tunnel time and you can learn how to fly. If it's something you want to do keep at it. I can Arch a bit but when doing belly I almost always have to wear a weight belt. Blue skies and welcome to the family

Thanks buddy,

I graduated AFF last week and tomorrow will do my first solo jump, on the road to Licence A!

Kinda learned how to fly with minimum arch

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