Sunday, 13 November 2016

Scoliosis & me (and a PT)

I'm not ashamed to admit that I have scoliosis, a curving of the spine which can make your shoulders or hips appear 'wonky' to the rest of the world. On the inside, however, is where it gets really juicy - you see that x-ray up there? Yep, that's me, in all my curvy glory. I can't say I have always been this lighthearded about it. In fact, when I first saw this x-ray I cried in front of my surgeon and my mum and told them there must be a mistake, that couldn't be me, surely?
I spent a lot of time hating how much my hip stuck out, hiding it with baggy clothes and spending hours in front of the mirror trying to find a way to hide it. It wasn't until my spinal consultant physically twisted me in to a hideously painful position to show me how I would have to stand to appear 'straight' that I started to accept that without medical intervention, I would stay wonky. 
Fast forward to now, many years later and I am taking positive steps towards helping support my spine by learning about the muscles in my back, developing a strong core and enlisting the help of a very bubbly PT to help me combat back pain. 
A lot of my back pain comes from the muscles in my back, something I learnt whilst having regular physio after she tried to manipulate the muscles in my back and struggled to the point where she was straddling me on the medical bed trying to force the muscles to move. After feeling like I'd just been hit by yet another horse, I started looking at ways to help myself away from the physio appointments and at home. Pilates was recommended, along with strengthening exercises, and I have started to embrace the personal trainer side of this very recently. 
My PT, Sophie, is a university student who is devising a plan tailored to me, so that I'm not flailing around following everyone else with a 'normal' spine. After my first session with her, I couldn't walk up stairs without saying a prayer, nor lift my arms to pour drinks at work. 
It's safe to say I am 'that' person that, as soon as I 'feel the burn' I congratulate myself and swiftly stop before going home and inhaling half a tube of Pringles. 
I'm not ashamed to admit that I struggle with basic exercises, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I break a sweat doing the most simple of core exercises, because it means I have so far to improve. 

The main reason behind this post is not pity or sympathy, I am doing a-okay with how I look (inside and out, get it?? Get it?), but to highlight the importance of seeking the proper advice and help in terms of recovery and becoming stronger. I used to do some serious damage to my back muscles trying to follow YouTube videos of very fit people doing very advanced core strength, and would end up popping muscle relaxants like Smarties. Now, I am taking the advise of a (fully qualified) PT and a (fully qualified) physio about what works best for me, to improve myself inside and out. 
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