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What You Need to Know About Scoliosis

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It all started in seventh grade. That year I was first diagnosed with severe scoliosis and found out that my back curves at a 45 degree angle. We talked with the doctors about my options. I had a choice to make: surgery (bone grafting and spinal fusion) or purchasing a Boston Brace.

The doctors had recommended that I get the Boston Brace because they didn’t want to resort to surgery without trying all the other options. Within a few weeks, I was being measured for my brace that would be specifically designed to fit the measurements of my upper body. About two weeks after I had been fitted for my brace, I was called in by my doctors. My Boston Brace had just come in, and I needed to try it on immediately in case any changes would need to be made to it. I was excited because I thought this brace would correct my curve.

Little did I know that the brace I had got wouldn’t keep the curve from getting worse. That means my back would never be straight again in my whole life. Surgery would be extremely painful and wouldn’t make my back straight. It has the same purpose as the Boston Brace, but it does have more serious risks. They’re two different types of scoliosis: idiopathic scoliosis and scoliosis. Idiopathic scoliosis has more severe effects, it can cause problems with breathing and cause sleep disturbances.

Travel is the absolute worst to deal with when you have scoliosis. Going on international flights, or regular flights in general, for more than three hours is brutal for me. I recently went to Ireland for spring break with my choir and sang all around Southern Ireland. Stretching every once in awhile makes the pain a little duller, but to a bearable level.

Most people would think that sitting differently would help with the stiffness and make a big difference in back pain. I have already tried sitting in different positions and sitting up straighter. I will tell you that sitting up straighter doesn’t help with back pain. Lying down also affects my back pain. Lying down on my belly and being on my phone hurts because my ribcage is uneven. It has a rotation to the right and my hips do the same. When I lay down on my belly, the end of my ribcage juts out and it causes pain to sit like that. With my hips being rotated it causes them to hurt too. My hips constantly crack and sometimes I can’t walk on them correctly because I get a shooting pain in the joint. Not only are my hips and ribcage affected, but my knees and ankles. When I was horseback riding one day I had just dismounted (got off) and my knee shifted inward towards my other knee. I had to wear a knee brace afterwards, and my knee was swollen.

Sometimes we have to make sacrifices so that we can stop more pain from happening. Some of the sacrifices may be sports or activities we love to do. For me, I had to stop horseback riding and quite a few other sports that I enjoy. Sometimes we can’t do certain things because it can make the pain worse.

I hope for those of you who have thought scoliosis is just a curvature of the spine now realize that there is a more painful side that we have to live with. It’s a constant struggle to get up everyday in the morning knowing that you’ll wake up to find your back aching. Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your day to read this article. It has taken a lot of courage to write this story as well as publish it.

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Thinkstock Image By: piyapong sayduang

Originally published: November 9, 2017
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