So, I know some of you are probably wondering “What is scoliosis?” Many of you have heard of it, but don’t know much about it. I very highly recommend you read this post from Runner Unleashed. She does a fantastic job explaining what scoliosis is and a lot about her journey with it. I’m only going to give you high level information and share my experience, but like most things, everyone’s experience is unique.
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. It has many different manifestations in terms of precises curvatures for each person, but these are the broad categories:
Some symptoms, or obvious signs can include:
– Constant back ache
– soreness after standing or sitting for extended periods of time
– one leg appears longer than the other
– person appears to “lean” to the side
Most schools have implemented screenings for students in middle school. The tests usually require boys to remove their shirts, and girls to remain in a sports bra. This allows the screening nurse to see the curvature.
If picked up on the screening, a referral to the doctor is usually the next step. The doctor usually will follow up with X-rays and continued progress checks. Braces can be very effective while still growing to correct the curvature. However, if the curve is severe enough, surgical correction is often necessary.
My journey with scoliosis started back in elementary school when my mom was constantly getting frustrated that we were always buying pants with one leg consistently shorter than the other. She thought it was the pants!
Fast forward to the middle school screenings, and I got flagged as a potential scoliosis case. After the initial mass screening, they had a doctor come to the school for the smaller group that was flagged. They told me that my degree of curvature wasn’t enough to concern them too much, but to continue getting screened. I got screened every year and every year I got the same answer.
My scoliosis didn’t seem to bother me much over the years except when sitting or standing for a long time. Every once and awhile I’d have flare ups where it would bother me, but nothing bad.
In 2012, I went to a doctor to confirm my runner’s knee as runner’s knee (it had swelled up pretty bad for a few weeks) and I asked him about my scoliosis. He wasn’t very concerned about it, so neither was I.
Fast forward to the past few months and it has been extremely painful. I’ve really kicked up the intensity and maturity of my workouts with my trainer and it’s been bothering me a lot. It seems to be all muscular, which makes sense. We made a lot of progress on Saturday in identifying weak points, figuring out what exercises can help alleviate my pain, and recognizing that lot of my issues have been triggered by my scoliosis. Another thing that we forgot about is that sometimes traditional exercises don’t work well for me cause my body is not very traditional!
The good thing is that we have a much better awareness and plan, and I’m so excited to see what we accomplish!
June is Scoliosis Awareness Month and I wanted to do my small part and share my journey. Although I have not had to endure years of wearing braces, or the pain of corrective surgery, I thought it was important to share. Please, I urge you, if you have kids, make sure they get the screenings during their growing years!