What is Scoliosis?
It’s a curvature of the spine. Often happens when you are growing, but can happen at any time. Mostly common in females, and most cases are mild. But then there are some who suffer from severe Scoliosis, like myself.
I have a double curve, or what is called the “S curve”. Scoliosis curves are measured in degrees and doctors can see the severity and see how much it progresses. A mild Scoliosis curve is anywhere from 10 degrees to 25, moderate is 26 to 40, and severe is above 40 degrees. The higher the degrees, the higher the chance it has to worsen. I’m in the severe range right now and struggle with it daily. I keep a close eye on it and get seen by my orthopedic doctor every 3 to 6 months to get an x-ray to check it and see how much it’s progressed.
I have had corrective surgery, aka the spinal fusion to keep my spine from curving further. Many complications in between and problems during recovery, I had to have the rods, pins, and screws removed out of my spine. My Scoliosis journey has not been fun to say the least and I recommend 1000% that you get your children checked! I found out during a routine check in my middle school that I had Scoliosis. Had my mom not signed the permission slip for me to be checked, it might have been too late for me. Once the doctors that came to my school checked me, we immediately got the ball rolling and made moves. My condition worsened so quickly that it was too late for me to use the infamous Scoliosis back brace. I needed immediate surgery.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there is more than 3 million cases of Scoliosis per year. 85% of it being idiopathic Scoliosis, happening in the adolescent years. Some, while rare, can be born with Scoliosis, but most commonly develops over time. While the causes are still unknown, there is also no sure way to prevent Scoliosis from happening. BUT, you can keep it from progressing rapidly, or keep the pain from being so debilitating.
Staying active is probably the #1 thing I’d recommend. Swimming is a big one. It helps keep muscles and bones flexible without the pressure and weight. Yoga is also a great way to keep the pain at bay along with ballet. Running is probably not the best one to do, but the feeling I get from it, mentally, is priceless. It gives me a sense of power, strength, and relief. My doctor has assured me that I am OK to run, while it probably isn’t the best because running is one, if not the most demanding sport on the body because it requires every single use of muscle in your body. But, I don’t run for anything else than for happiness, sanity, and strength.
I do not take any pain medication, yes I know weird. But I don’t. I used too but they made me sick and made me feel worse. I battle through the pain with foods that are rich with anti-inflammatory agents like spinach, kale, tomatoes, and almonds to name a few.
But there are days when I seriously can not move. Even breathing is painful. Since my spine caves into my lungs and ribs, every movements and breath is a task. Whenever I have to shift my movement, lift my arm, walk forward, anything….it will hurt. But if it wasn’t for KT Tape, I wouldn’t be able to survive. I kid you not, this simple little, non medicated tape has saved my life. I use it, every single day. Most people use it for running or working out. But I use it to survive my chronic illnesses. While yes, for races, I will use minimum 2 rolls, but on a daily base I will have at least 3 different applications on. I always have some sort of Scoliosis application on my back.
If you don’t know what it is, it is a lightweight tape that you apply along the injured, swollen muscle to provide support and allows for a quicker recovery as it allows you to do your usual activity. It gives you the support you need while giving the muscle and ligaments what it needs to heal. The way you apply the tape is VERY important too because I’ve seen some improper applications that won’t really do anything. But I use an edema application on my back because I have chronic swelling, and within minutes the edema KT Tape application will take care of it. There is a purpose to that app, it’s not just a cool design LOL.
I use tons of different applications because I have tons of different pains. Depending on what and where it hurts is where I will apply the tape. The color and style of the tape has nothing to do with it. It’s just a fun way to express yourself. (I get that question a lot) The tape stays on me for about 2 weeks without coming off. I have no problems with it peeling or rolling off. I apply it with about 5% tension.
Scoliosis is a reason problem that many of us face. I recommend you get yourself and your children checked. Get it early before it’s too late. If you are put in the brace, as much as you may hate it, USE IT! It will save you from a horrendous surgery! Take care of your body. I struggle every day and do my best to take care of myself. I have a 5th spinal surgery in my near future and trying my best to do without it as long as possible. Because it isn’t the best decision and we won’t know what the outcome would be.