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My Scoliosis Journey

Updated: Jun 3

I didn’t expect to go through my teenage years in a daze, worried and fearful but that is what happened and, thinking back learning you have a scoliosis is traumatic.

My scoliosis story began in the early 80s at the age of 12. My mum had noticed my school skirts hanging oddly on one side. The doctors eventually referred me to a clinic for spinal conditions in Warren Street, London.

I came to hate the repeated visits, the countless x-rays and groups of interns looking at my back. I hated the hospital gowns, but what I hated most was the Boston Brace. It was hard plastic, corset-style brace with shaped polystyrene padding inside to push and pull my spine into alignment. I couldn't even put the brace on and off by myself - it all had to be done by my mum.

Of course, the brace was visible under my clothes, which led to me being constantly bullied at school, another layer adding to my trauma.

Post-Brace Life and Initial Fitness Journey

After being signed off without surgery, my left lumbar curve was recorded at 30 degrees. I was advised to keep my back strong through regular exercise, which I fully embraced.

In my 40s, I participated in various high-impact classes such as Body Pump, Body Attack, Spin, RPM, Kick Boxing, Karate and Metafit. I loved it all.

During an Insanity-style class I herniated a disc. And if I knew then what I know now, I could have saved myself a long and painful journey. The impact on me both physically and mentally was an additional trauma. But led me to taking my life in a new direction.

The Self-Help Journey and Recovery

During a 15-month period of dealing with the herniated disc and scoliosis, I discovered an incredible lack of understanding, information and support, especially within the fitness industry. Through trial and error with various treatments, I eventually found relief and improvement through yoga.

A local yoga class in Ramsgate, led by Aneta Idcezak, marked the beginning of my true recovery. As I regained flexibility, mobility and strength residual issues caused like sciatica began to diminish.

I was going through a class with no pain, no tightness, moving with freedom. During my last ‘sun salutation’, the sun was beaming down on me through the window and I remember the joy I felt for the first time in a long time. That’s when I made the decision to train and help others with similar conditions.

Moving into a New Career

Motivated by my own experiences and encouragement from friends and family, I undertook a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training certification and Personal Training course.

When I started to teach classes, it wasn’t long before I realised that there is no one modality that fixes all. I also discovered what a release movement and guided relaxations were for the people that came to my classes. It became important to me (due to my own experiences) to be able to hold a class for all people, whether recovering from illness or injury, or even if they just haven’t moved in a while.

This pushed me towards further training in Clinical Hypnotherapy, Yoga for Pregnancy, mat-based Pilates, Kettlercise, Foot Function, Yoga Reloaded, Trauma-Informed Yoga and Yoga for Scoliosis.

Establishing Posture Works

I founded my business, Posture Works, to support clients with various back-related conditions like hyper-mobility osteoporosis and scoliosis. I work with people in-person and via Zoom. I also hold face-to-face classes. I love taking a holistic approach when I work with people.

Strength and Spine

During the pandemic, I came across Strength and Spine on Facebook, towards the end of 2019. What immediately

interested me was Beth Terranova's approach to scoliosis. The combination of PT, Schroth strength and resistance training, as well as elements of Scolio-Pilates, really resonated with me.

At the same time, due to the pandemic and other reasons, I was putting in exceptionally long days, weeks and months, doing the job of 2-3 people. This impacted on my mental health and my scoliosis got worse.. In 2015, an X-ray confirmed the degree of curvature had gone from 30 to 65 degrees. I kept experiencing pain which radiated from my lower back all the way around my pelvis and into my groin and it wasn't shifting. I decided to sign-up for 1:1 sessions with Beth and coach Christy; working towards strengthening and stabilising my spine. The stronger I became, the less pain I had. The changes have been quite remarkable and I don't experience pain like I had anymore.

After the pandemic I was offered a fabulous opportunity to join Strength and Spine as a co-coach. Beth gave me the chance to train in Scolio-Pilates. I have also completed through Polestar, the Scoliosis and Spinal Conditions Master Course. This is run by industry experts Lise Stolze and Hagit Berdishevsky.

Strength and Spine will be coming over to the UK in September to run some much needed in-person workshops. You can learn more by visiting Strength and Spines website.

Mental Health and Somatic Coaching
Recognising and experiencing at first-hand the impact of scoliosis and spinal conditions have, I reached out to Aneta who now runs specialised courses in Trauma-informed Somatic Teacher and Coach for Women. The training is for female practitioners who want to workwith women in a holistic, trauma-informed and embodied way. This training will help bring

everything I do under one umbrella.

Posture Works Facebook Group
In sharing my story, I hope to support and encourage as many people as I can to take control of their curves. I have set up a supportive Facebook group, committed to zero tolerance of negative comments. This group aims to provide a safe space for individuals to share their experiences, seek advice, and support each other on their journey to better posture and overall well-being. I will be adding resources here to also provide help and support.

June is Scoliosis Awareness Month so please share to raise awareness and help build our community.

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