Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Scoliosis: Motivation to Stay Fit

I grew up in the stereotypical traditional working class Italian-Catholic family. Mom, dad, and one older sister. My life was fairly ordinary until junior high school when I was diagnosed with scoliosis.

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. I was told I would need to where a Milwaukee Brace until I was done growing. My first reaction was to think forget it, no way, I wouldn’t where it.  I was already dealing with the usual horrors of adolescence, acne, braces, and trying to fit in.  How much more could a girl endure?!

My mom dragged me to a scoliosis clinic at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.  While I was waiting for my appointment, I saw other people with scoliosis.  I talked to a girl who refused to wear the brace, and her curve continued to get worse.  She now needed a metal rod surgically implanted to her spine forever.  I saw some girls with back braces, they didn't seem to mind too much.  Numerous people whose backs were obviously not straight.  I had a conversation with an elderly man whose back was contorted.  He convinced me that I should do everything I could not to end up in his condition. The deformity limited his mobility, caused him constant pain and respiratory problems.  The day at the clinic scared me enough to know I would do anything nonsurgical to keep my back as straight as possible.

The reason I am telling you about my scoliosis, it is my motivation to always keep my back healthy by staying physically fit.  I wore the brace in middle school through my senior year of high school. It was once I started swimming and exercising my core on a regular basis that I saw dramatic results in my treatment. My curve actually improved! It kept improving into my adulthood. When I was rechecked in my 20’s, my double curve went from 25 and 15 degrees to 18 and 8 degrees, an impressive improvement. I actually grew ½ inch -- one hell of a good motivation.  In the process of staying fit for my back, I also learned how to play and enjoy the outdoors.


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  2. I just read an article about a new genetic test that researchers say can tell which young scoliosis patients won’t get worse, and likely won't require more treatment.
    New research published in the journal Spine reports that the test is 99 percent accurate in predicting which sufferers of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, or AIS, are least likely to develop curves serious enough to require surgery. via