Prioritizing Your Mental Health

Your scoliosis journey is often filled withs lots of ups and downs. We want you to celebrate your ups, but also take care of your mental health during the downs. All of us face stress and anxiousness at one point or another. These feelings are completely normal, but we want you to be able to Read more about Prioritizing Your Mental Health[…]

No More Scoliosis Warriors | Changing Our Way Of Thinking

We hear the phrase all the time – scoliosis warriors. It is frequently used to describe the brave young women and men who are diagnosed with scoliosis, and you often hear and see it on social media, t-shirts, etc. Here at Scolios-us, we’ve even used the phrase. But it’s time we reconsider. Yes, you are Read more about No More Scoliosis Warriors | Changing Our Way Of Thinking[…]

Rebuilding the Body & Mind Relationship

Rebuilding the Body & Mind Relationship Written by Megan Glahn Castille I am by no means a good skier. But, during my trip to Salt Lake City in January 2023, being a mediocre skier and tackling a black slope for the first time meant so much more than just that. To give you some background, Read more about Rebuilding the Body & Mind Relationship[…]

Spinal Anatomy…and Scoliosis!

Spinal Anatomy…and Scoliosis! Written by Emma Yuguchi Your spine is extremely complex and in fact – pretty remarkable! Throughout my scoliosis journey, I was intrigued at the amazing complexity of the spine. Although scoliosis can sometimes be confusing, it was fascinating to learn a little bit more about the backbone of my body. I remember Read more about Spinal Anatomy…and Scoliosis![…]

The Unknowns: Controllables vs Uncontrollables

The Unknowns: Controllables vs Uncontrollables Written by Annie Kramer At the age of 12, I was diagnosed with severe idiopathic scoliosis. Walking into a new school as a 6th grader had its challenges, especially with the additional challenge of my worsening spine. Before I knew it my doctors put me in a full-time hard shell Read more about The Unknowns: Controllables vs Uncontrollables[…]

A Long Journey from Anxiety to Gratitude

A Long Journey from Anxiety to Gratitude Written by Marja Heinonen My daughter, Kaisa, was seven when she was diagnosed with scoliosis. She wore scoliosis braces for nine years, from seven to 16. I could have hardly imagined that the foremost emotions seventeen years later would be gratitude and pride. But those are the feelings Read more about A Long Journey from Anxiety to Gratitude[…]

Mehta Casting

Mehta Casting Written by Pediatric RN, Sarah Tollison What is Mehta casting? Mehta casting is a series of casts that are changed every 2-3 months that gently straighten a child’s spine. The cast is made out of either plaster of paris or fiberglass and is shaped around their torso. There is a hole for their Read more about Mehta Casting[…]

Questions To Ask Your Orthotist

Questions To Ask Your Orthotist Being measured and fit with your brace can be an overwhelming experience for lots of new bracers. You may forget to ask questions or not know what to ask. We’ve got you covered! Here is a list of questions to get you started. Brace Type and Function Is bracing commonly Read more about Questions To Ask Your Orthotist[…]

What Causes Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis?

What Do We Know About What Causes Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis? HINT: It’s not caused by your child’s posture, backpack-carrying habits, or body mechanics Every so often, during my physical therapy evaluation with a family who has just discovered their teen has scoliosis, I will be asked the following set of questions: “Is it their posture Read more about What Causes Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis?[…]

We’re In This Together

We’re In This Together: Creating A Support Network For Girls With Scoliosis Abby is 12 years old and was diagnosed with scoliosis in 2018. Shortly after, she was fit with her scoliosis brace at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland.  She and her mom, Christine, began looking to connect with fellow bracers around Abby’s age. Read more about We’re In This Together[…]

My Biggest Supporter

Aika’s Adventures: My Biggest Supporter My name is Aika. I was diagnosed with scoliosis a month after my 11th birthday. I was scared when I first heard but then was quickly relieved. My biggest supporter, my mother, is a scoliosis success story, although during her journey, she had days where she did not feel that Read more about My Biggest Supporter[…]

What Is Physiotherapeutic Scoliosis-Specific Exercise All About?

What Is Physiotherapeutic Scoliosis-Specific Exercise All About? Author Kelly Grimes, Physiotherapist (Full disclosure: I am a physiotherapist who has PSSE training. This is my take on PSSE.) Here is your brief lowdown on specific exercise for scoliosis and spine structural variations. If you’re an individual with scoliosis, kyphosis, or other spine structural variations, or a Read more about What Is Physiotherapeutic Scoliosis-Specific Exercise All About?[…]

No Schroth Physiotherapist in Your Area? What Now?

No Schroth Physiotherapist in Your Area? What Now? By Rosemary Marchese (Physiotherapist, Schroth and SEAS methods for Scoliosis) Schroth Physiotherapists can be found all around the world. However there is definitely more need in some areas. It might be frustrating if you find yourself with Scoliosis and in need of a Schroth physiotherapist and you Read more about No Schroth Physiotherapist in Your Area? What Now?[…]

Self Posture-Check! Screening Your Back for Scoliosis or Scoliosis Changes

Self Posture-Check! Screening Your Back for Scoliosis or Scoliosis Changes By Rosemary Marchese (Physiotherapist) A healthy posture is a great goal to aim for! You can have scoliosis and still make great improvements to your posture in many cases. Checking your back for scoliosis or scoliosis changes is best done by your treating doctor or physiotherapist Read more about Self Posture-Check! Screening Your Back for Scoliosis or Scoliosis Changes[…]

Taking Care Of Your Mental Health

Taking Care Of Your Mental Health Growing up is tough. Growing up while wrapped in a giant scoliosis brace can be even tougher. We all know that bracing can be stressful, and we have research that supports this. Research has shown that bracing can lead to feelings of stress, anger, and shame, and bracers tend Read more about Taking Care Of Your Mental Health[…]

National Scoliosis Center Urges Parents to Check Children’s Spines

National Scoliosis Center Urges Parents to Check Children’s Spines Experts in spinal abnormalities at the National Scoliosis Center urge parents to be cognizant of changes in their children’s posture or complaints of lower back pain, as these may be indications of a spinal condition. Many of the signs and symptoms of spinal conditions are easily Read more about National Scoliosis Center Urges Parents to Check Children’s Spines[…]

Surgery Is Not Always Recommended – Family Facing a Surgery Dilemma

The decision to move forward or not move forward with surgery is not one that should be taken lightly. Some cases are straight forward, while others, like Anastasia’s, are a little more complicated. Anastasia’s mom, Stacey, shares the dilemma they faced when their doctor did not recommend surgery for Anastasia’s 50° curve. While reliving this Read more about Surgery Is Not Always Recommended – Family Facing a Surgery Dilemma[…]

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Surgery Is Not Always Recommended

The decision to move forward or not move forward with surgery is not one that should be taken lightly. Some cases are straight forward, while others, like Anastasia's, are a little more complicated. Anastasia's mom, Stacey, shares the dilemma they faced when their doctor did not recommend surgery for Anastasia's 50° curve. While reliving this emotional time is difficult for both Stacey and Anastasia, this is a topic that needs to be talked about. As a parent, at what point do you make the unpopular decision and do what you feel is best for your child? Read Anastasia and Stacey's story below to find out how they navigated through these muddy waters.


"Nearing the end of my daughters bracing journey, her biggest curve was around 50°. Her curve wasn’t just from side to side, but her spine also had a twist to it. The curve went high up into her neck to the base of her spine. She hated how “curvy” she was and the daily reminder of Scoliosis that was brought on by pain.

We knew common treatment for curves around 50° is surgery. So, Anastasia was mentally prepared for surgery. Scared yes, but oh so excited knowing she was going to have a straighter spine! She couldn’t wait. She had seen many of the girls from her Toronto Chapter Curvy Girls support group going through surgery. Some had mixed emotions about it but all in all, they were relieved to have gone through surgery. They felt like they had a better lung capacity, had better overall organ function, less pain and even grew a bit. Oh, and don’t forget they now had perfect posture! She would tell me how she couldn’t wait for her turn.

When she would talk about surgery, my stomach ached. She has a low pain tolerance so I was concerned for her knowing the pain she would have during the recovery. However, I too was mentally preparing myself for the day of surgery and the recovery.

On her next Scoliosis medical check up, we decided as a family to talk with the doctor about surgery. He came back with a response we were not expecting! He said he strongly discouraged her from having surgery. Our mouths dropped with disbelief. Isn’t this what everyone who has a curve so big is expecting next? Why would he not recommend surgery? He broke the news. Her curve goes high into her neck and all the way to the base of her spine. Her entire spine would be fused. Okay, so that hasn’t stopped many others from having surgery, we thought. Then he said, she complains of pain now, with the surgery he can guarantee she will have chronic pain and can assure a lifetime of pain killers. WHAT?!

He reminded us her entire spine would be fused except for about 1.5 inches at the base. They can only fuse the spine within the back so her neck, where the top of the rod would be, would not be adjusted. Her neck would always be in pain and there was nothing that could be done to correct it.  It would be even more painful than it is now. He tried to be as gentle as possible while being honest and transparent with us.

He said, there are other treatments and exercises she can do now to ease the pain but there is no going back after surgery. However, if we decided to move forward with it, he is willing to do the surgery. The final decision is now up to us to determine what is best! Our hearts dropped. This conversation completely took the floor out from under us. Anastasia was devastated! The doctor could see we were shocked, and she was devastated. He said he was there for us with any questions and left us to come to terms with the news.

What a weight and a pressure to have on our shoulders. No matter what the doctor said, and regardless of any other outcome, Anastasia was determined to have the surgery. She begged and pleaded longing for some hope of having a straighter “more normal” back. Life after surgery looked so sweet to her. To save her from a lifetime of pain, I had to say no and take that hope away. When I refused for her to get the surgery her heart was clearly crushed. I didn’t need much time to think about it which was even more upsetting for her. To her, it seemed like I didn’t even care enough to consider what she wanted.

I tried to remind her she had to think of the long-term implications, but she refused and simply did not want to understand. We went back and forth having heated conversations, sometimes filled with tears (from both of us), for months. Finally, she realized this was something I could not and would not support. I understood the long-term implications especially with her having a low pain tolerance in general. We had already experienced issues dealing with her pain as it was, and I feared the worse scenario. It was a touchy topic for well over a year.

Now, about 4 years later, I am relieved to say, she understands why I refused to support her having the surgery. She still has minimal muscles formed in the right side of her torso, daily nausea, limited lung capacity and daily pain. However, the pain is not what the doctor described she would have if she had the surgery. When in pain now she gets a massage, goes to the chiropractor, uses topical ointment and does yoga or other movements to relieve her pain, rarely ever taking a pain pill.

She still has days where she wonders what life would have been like if the doctor never cautioned against the surgery. She’s still insecure about the shape and appearance of her back and struggles to accept herself and her curves wishing she were straighter. However, the reality is now, she admits she’s relieved she never had the surgery.

There are other treatment options out there including strength training and specialized exercises like the Schroth Method which is not a quick fix but a proven way to help those with Scoliosis. But that’s another conversation!"


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