Scoliosis and Body Confidence: My 5 Tips
As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I thought I would do a post to talk about scoliosis and body confidence.
Scoliosis is a spinal condition, and in my case my spine is curved in the shape of an ‘S.’ It’s a chronic condition, which means it’s something I have to live with forever.
Scoliosis has many symptoms including pain and stiffness but an important symptom is how scoliosis can affect body confidence, self worth and overall mental health.
When I was a teenager and first diagnosed, my body confidence was non-existent. I hated how I looked and would actively avoid certain activities and clothes because of my back. In my 20’s, I had scoliosis surgery, and whilst it did correct my scoliosis to some extent, I had to accept that my spine will never be straight and I still have a curved spine, uneven ribs and shoulders.
Now I am in my 30’s, and over the years I have learnt a few ways to deal with my scoliosis and body confidence issues. I wish I could go back in time and give this advice to my 14-year old self, but instead, I thought I’d share my tips here in case they help someone out there.
Dealing with Scoliosis and Body Confidence – 5 tips:
Tip 1 – Don’t let your scoliosis stop you from doing things
I can’t tell you the amount of times I have let my scoliosis stop me from wearing certain clothes (e.g. a bikini) or doing certain actives (e.g. swimming) because I was embarrassed about how I looked. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to wear the damn bikini but I can’t. Life is short and I understand how difficult it can be, but please don’t let your scoliosis stop you from doing or wearing whatever the hell you want. You look amazing and you will regret the things you didn’t do when you look back.
Tip 2 – Stop worrying what other people think
Ok so I still need to work on this one in general but what I’ve come to realise is, the majority of people only care/think/worry about their own stuff and they won’t even notice you or your back. I know to you, your scoliosis seems obvious, but most people won’t be looking at or focusing on your back, so stop worrying about what others’ think. Over the years I’ve had partners and friends that have not even noticed my scoliosis unless I’ve told/shown them.
Tip 3 – Scoliosis makes you unique
Your scoliosis is part of who you are, and it makes you unique. Who wants to be the same as everyone else anyway? I enjoy talking about my scoliosis as it provides a unique and interesting story. When someone notices my back/scar they want to know more. People are genuinely interested and curious and so don’t be ashamed to be who you are.
Tip 4 – EVERYONE has body hang-ups
Another thing I’ve realised, is that everyone has things they don’t like about their own body. Instead, try to focus on what you love about yourself and don’t compare yourself to others – your scoliosis doesn’t define you.
Tip 5- Learn to love and embrace your scoliosis
Over the years I’ve gone from feeling ashamed of my scoliosis to feeing proud. My scoliosis makes me who I am and it makes me strong. I now even show off my back and scar on social media, and I’m not ashamed anymore.
If you have scoliosis, be proud and love your body, after all it’s the only one you’ve got. Your scoliosis makes you a strong warrior. And there are a lot of us out there!
It’s also important to be kind to yourself. I used to call myself horrible names when I was a teenager which I won’t repeat, but that kind of negative self-talk is detrimental to your mental health. Instead you are strong, brave, powerful and amazing.
I hope that this was helpful! If you’ve enjoyed this post, please do follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest and be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel!
I had scoliosis surgery in 2010 and blog about my experiences living with scoliosis. My aim is to raise awareness of scoliosis and help and inspire others with the condition.
8 thoughts on “Scoliosis and Body Confidence: My 5 Tips”
Hi ☺️ am in bad pain most days. Gets me down and stops me doing things. My left leg is 1/5 in shorter than my right leg. My ribs out to. As is my shoulders.
Thanks for your comment – I’m so sorry you are in pain and it stops you from doing things. Is there anything the Drs can do to help you? I know the feeling regarding the ribs and shoulders, as mine are uneven too and stick out on one side. It can be so tough living with this condition but you are not alone and there are lots of people you can talk to in a similar position.
This is an excellent blog and of course now in the digital age, it would have been so helpful in the 60s.
I have had 2 surgeries – the last one Harrington Rods. Body image is so vital and for a very long time I have not had any. I still feel very negative about my image. I married a lovely man who really didn’t give that image much value. And over the years my deformity is less important to me. However there is still a part of me that wishes it hadn’t happened.
A community such as this is so important especially for young girls and guys just navigating the process of scoliosis.
Thank you so much!
Hi Louise, your story really resonates with me. We have 3 generations of scoliosis in our family and I’m now trying to help my daughter to maintain a positive attitude towards scoliosis. Treatments and attitudes have changed so much in the last 30 years, since my diagnosis. Hopefully this means young people will have less of a struggle than we did. Raising awareness and early diagnosis are key to successful treatment. If bracing starts early the outcome prognosis is much better, I wish the NHS curve cutoff was lower, we’ve has to go private fit early treatment. Great blog, thank you LP
Hi LP, thank you so much! I wish your daughter all the best. There is such a positive scoliosis community online now, I only wish that was the case when I was diagnosed as I felt so alone back then. Talking to others and seeing others in the same boat helps so much x
So grateful for all the sharing everyone does on these blogs! It really helps! I’m 20 months post-op. I’m 58 yrs old and had a 10 and a half hour thorasic and lumbar fusion. I find myself exhausted and frustrated a lot of the time. I’m still learning how to manuever my bionic spine. I’m grateful for the stability I now have in my back and love to learn about all of your tools and tips that make day to day living easier
Ahh thanks so much Sandy!!!