WARNING: Graphic images below. Close your browser/tab if you do not want to see photos of x-rays.
I’m going to leave this next section blank in case you’re still undecided. Otherwise, keep scrolling down.
That, my friends, is a photo of my upper back. The top section is right below my neck, and the bottom section is towards where my belly button would be. This view is from behind, so if you stood directly behind me, this is how my spine would look.
But wait! It gets worse!
This x-ray is of my lower back, which has a very curved section. Now, I always knew that I had some curvature in my lower back, but I never thought that it was this extreme.
I had been experiencing some lower back problems that wouldn’t go away. Mostly, it manifested itself as sciatica pain, where I would get an intense shooting pain down my left side towards the back of my knee. It escalated to the point where my left foot would go numb. That’s when I sought the help of a chiropractor.
She suggested that I get some x-rays before we discussed a method of treatment. The x-ray technicians were all amazed that I wasn’t in constant pain. Amazingly enough, I believe that I’ve had some degree of scoliosis for most of my life. My guess is that it was caused (or enhanced) by competitive gymnastics at a young age.
Now, you’re probably thinking the same thing as those x-ray techs. Isn’t this level of scoliosis really painful? How do I stand up straight? (Answer: I don’t) The scoliosis has not bothered me for the past ~30 years, other than the occasional sciatica.
My chiropractor has said that people with this degree of curvature typically have a lot of internal organ issues – digestive problems, breathing difficulty and heart issues. Thankfully, I have so far (knock on wood) avoided all three. She said that my choices in activities – namely ballet, ice skating and flute playing – have all played a role in keeping my body healthy, flexible and mobile. She told me to keep up with these hobbies since they seem to be helping.
After viewing these images, things start to make sense. Maybe that’s why I can’t do a certain element very well, or maybe that’s why my leg position on certain things is strange. My back is so crooked that I can’t stand up straight and perform some other movements. Well, at least that is my new excuse now!
In all seriousness, I’m happy to be able to keep skating at the level that I do. I’m not letting this curved spine prevent me from doing what I love. In fact, I should keep doing it to stay flexible and nimble.