It's funny how little we care about things till they happen to us. For a decent number of years before I was diagnosed I used to make jokes about scoliosis. I called and I still call chairs with curved back rests Scoliosis chairs. Back then I had no idea what was going on in my back. All through high school and Senior high school I had some pains in my back but it was for short periods of time and not severe so I never paid attention to it. You see I was a very sporty person. I played basketball and swam a lot so the muscles in my back were pretty strong.
Having a swimming pool in my hostel during university and joining the basketball team there kept me on a relatively good path. The problem started when I graduated from University and joined the working class. No one ever prepares you enough for that. When I think about how 'stressed' I felt in school as compared to working a 9 to 5, I just laugh. Goodness I sometimes even wish I was back in school.
Moving on, I wasn't exactly carrying bags of cement or bending over to pick cotton, I was doing the usual office administration work but a lot had changed.
l I was sitting for long hours.
l I was standing a lot waiting for the bus to and from work
l I wasn't getting enough time to play basketball
l I rarely went to swim because of proximity to the pool
l I spent hours sitting at my desk on my computer even when I was working from home
Things had clearly changed. The pain in my back got worse until I went to the hospital. I had an x-ray done. Isn't it funny how the person doing the x-ray always hides when he's about to take your x-ray? Lol. A week later the results came and it said there was nothing wrong. I thought “hey, maybe it's my chair at work so I spoke with my boss and we had it changed. The pain also changed, it got worse. My neck also joined in. My mother who is a retired nurse told me to go and see a specialist, an orthopaedic doctor so I did.
I took my X-rays with me. The doctor studied them for a while, examined me and asked if I had certain pains. He was 100% spot on. You know how excited you get when someone describes an exact feeling? I was almost smiling. He diagnosed me with a mild case of thoracolumbular scoliosis. This simply means that between the thoracic and lumber portions of my spine it is curved slightly, in my case, to the left. He further went on to tell me that I didn't need surgery (woohoo!) but I would have to wear a brace :-( , a lumber support to be specific. He also advised regular swimming to strengthen my back muscles. “Why swimming?” I asked and he told me that because of the water it would put less strain on my spine itself. Plus it was a cool (low temperature) way of getting a serious workout.
After that day I have had a completely new lifestyle. I wear a lumber support (which makes me a size bigger), I sleep on an orthopedic mattress, I take a decent amount of pain killers, I don't wear heels and try to swim as often as I can. So many things have changed. Scoliosis does that. There are times when the pain gets so overbearing it disturbs my mood and all my plans go out the window.
Rather than feel sorry for myself, I looked for ways to make my life cool and fun again. So I
l Got a swimming partner :-)
l Got a tablet to do all my computing needs while I lie down in bed
l Altered my clothes so my lumber support doesn't look odd.
l Stopped my 9-5 and ran my own business
l Found a number of swimming pools close to me
Living with scoliosis is hard but the honest truth is that when you plan your lifestyle well, the pain will reduce drastically. I haven't gotten to the point where I go weeks/months without aches and pains but I'm constantly working hard to get there. God doesn't give us anything we can't handle :)
Scoliosis : a medical condition in which a person's spine is curved from side to side.