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Friday, September 13, 2013

Why don't you just exercise?!

By now, people are wondering why I don't just go to the gym and work out like everybody else. There's just one problem with that and it looks like this....

Yep, that's my spine in all of its metallic glory. I have scoliosis - a condition where your spine curves and is weakened. I had the surgery three years ago and I have had a great deal of complications from it, including temporary loss of feeling and use of my right leg. See the bottom right screw in the picture? Well that little beauty cut part of my major nerves and had to be removed. I also have a fracturing vertebrae that will be operated on this December to prevent more damage.

Currently the only exercise I can do is to bike on a stationary bike, use an elliptical, or swim. All of these are great, but not if you want to tone your body. I am very limited in my mobility and endurance. It is sad to say but there isn't a day that goes by without pain. I regret having the surgery and wish the rods can be removed, but that would mean at least three months in bed with six months to a year before I am fully recovered.

The number one thing that drives me crazy is my hollow back. If you have hollow back (or swayback), your spine curves towards your stomach and causes an awful pooch that no exercise can get rid of. My December surgery will hopefully remedy this. My spine is breaking because of the pressure brought on by my hollow back. I cannot stand up straight without feeling a great deal of pain. My surgeon is going to shrink my breaking vertebrae in order to allow for more room and movement in my spine that isn't surrounded by the rods and fused together. After this, I will have much less of a belly pooch and should be able to finally exercise without pain.

For all those dealing with scoliosis, just know that you are never alone. For those who have chronic pain, it isn't in your head (like so many would say). For those who are blessed with a healthy body and can swim face down, consider yourself eternally blessed. I would never wish this life on anyone, but God made me strong enough to live it.

A bonus to my scoliosis is I can say I have more curves than I know what to do with and laugh about it.


  1. Hi Elizabeth,
    I have scoliosis, since the doctors diagnosed me age 5 I've been "dealing" with it. I had the Harrington rods inserted when I was 17 (I turn 32 today) - thankfully the operation was completely successful and I'm blessed with no pain (never had). I understand what you mean by the exercise thing, I tried yoga, of course it was impossible, the feeling of not being able to is just arggggg. Pilates is an option as it was created specifically for scoliosis and similar bone problems, however am unsure what pilates exercises can be done with the harringtons. I strongly recommend that you ask your doctor when you next go as this is likely to help you with the posture and might help reduce pain slightly.
    I share and understand what you are going through and how you feel, I wish you all the best in your op this december, am confident without knowing you that you are a strong woman and this will not set you back in your goals and aspirations, have a little faith and hope and let your doctor support you on what exercises are good besides swimming (gets boring after a while!). Best of lucks and lots of love Xx

    1. Thank you so much! I love hearing other's stories about scoliosis. I had the surgery when I was 20 and it has been overwhelming at the support I have been given by others in the scoliosis community. I actually had to switch doctors for this upcoming surgery because my initial surgeon brushed my pain off by claiming it was Fibromyalgia and never tested me for it. She gave me this run around for a year and when I'd had enough I sought out a new doctor. He was the one that found the fractures. My other doctor would only give me one x-ray and check my reflexes. That was how she "diagnosed" me with Fibro. It took a lot of time to get over my feelings but now that I am being genuinely cared for I am much happier.