Scoliosis is bleak, every single part of it. If you are somebody who is inflicted with this challenging health condition you already know that living with a twisted spine can be scary, daunting, defeating, debilitating, and lonely. I feel all of that.
Since age 12 I have been repeatedly told I need surgery and have been prescribed and given samples of pain killers, muscles relaxers, and anti-inflammatories because of my scoliotic spine. I was once told by one doctor never to hang and told by the next to hang everyday. I have spent more time than I care to count wasted in physical therapists and specialists offices who did nothing for me besides tell me to keep doing what I am doing with pilates, yoga, and as a fitness trainer. They like to tell me that my spine will get worse with each aging year, until it eventually crushes my heart and internal organs and potentially collapses on itself. Like I said, bleak.
Scoliosis is much more than just a twisted spine. It is a neuromuscular disorder that may also manifest with other health conditions such as digestive disorders, muscle spasms, depression, anxiety, migraines, etc.
I put a lot of effort into the function of my spine and have since I was a teenager because I realized at an early age that I would always have to be mindful of my special back, it was never going away. I think about how I want to move as I age and move accordingly. More than once I have completely changed my livelihood, activities, and/or my food in order to manage it holistically without surgery or prescribed medications.
One of the toughest things about scoliosis is how lonely it can be. I have a lot of energy and rarely ‘complain’ about my back pain and focus on healthy things so on the outside it looks like I am a super health nut doing just fine with my spine. People don’t see the pain or discomfort that I am generally feeling because I keep it to myself. That’s no good.
June is Scoliosis Awareness Month
What is the positive side of Scoliosis?
- I’ve become very in tune with my body. Pain, discomfort and constantly needing to think about standing straight or straightening your clothes will do that to a person. On another level, when I’ve tuned in with with meditation and exercise I’ve been taught by my body how to cope and move through the world.
- I’ve been forced to be a ‘healthy person’ to function. Living a healthy lifestyle is not an option like it seems to be for most people and it can be really tough to be the only one at the party not drinking booze or eating sugar. But hey, you’re at the party! While it is tough, living healthy is a good and positive thing to keep as a priority, always.
- I look at body image much differently. When I am able to embrace myself as different I am also able to let go of what I think I am supposed to be and love who I am, imperfections and all. I tend to be very grateful for all I can physically do no matter how small.
- My spine contributes to me being highly sensitive, empathic, and wise. I can’t explain why but it just does. Spiney senses.
- I’ve become a powerful warrior of chronic pain with special strengths and coping skills that makes me strong enough to handle not only my own pain but also help others handle their pains. My spine is the reason that I started teaching fitness as a teenager and the reason that I went to Institute of Integrative Nutrition in 2010, I have a deep desire to help people feel well.
I am participating in Scoliosis Awareness Month by writing this and sharing a picture of me beside an X-ray of my spine. Funny, it was much harder to post a picture of my bare back than to post a picture of my X-rays. I worked through it.
Sending out much love and double hugs to those who live with or support somebody with scoliosis.