Thursday, October 2, 2008

Scoliosis: an explanation with my actual x-rays

After posting about the video shoot at Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis, I got a couple of emails with questions about scoliosis. So, let me give you a quick explanation. It's best told with pictures.

This was my spine (I was around thirteen and a half) BEFORE spinal surgery. See the "S" shape? That's an S-curve from scoliosis. Doctors aren't sure what causes most cases of scoliosis. Maybe, with more research, they'll soon have answers to that question.

So, it's pretty obvious that my spine was waaaaay out of shape. Even after years of wearing various back braces and doing different exercises--it looked like that. My spine was so twisted that it was pressing on my heart and lungs. Not good, you know?

That scary x-ray led my doctor at Shriners to do this...

Yep, two titanium rods and a handful of screws. Can't feel a thing and I don't know that any of that "hardware" is there. Before surgery, I was in constant pain, had shortness of breath and wasn't living a full life. Isn't the difference in spinal curvature AMAZING?!

After surgery, the pain disappeared and I can do almost anything. (Except for skydiving, football, etc. Things with jarring impact on the spine.)

I had that spinal fusion in November 2000. Now, I counsel Shriners patients who are going through similar surgeries and are nervous. For more info about Str8 Spines for Shriners, just check out my Website.

Hopefully, that brief explanation answers the questions I've received about scoliosis. So many kids I talk to are embarrassed and teased about their condition. DON'T BE EMBARRASSED, GUYS! C'mon, now. You didn't cause it and did nothing wrong. Scoliosis isn't something to be ashamed of. Explain it to your friends and they'll understand. If not, maybe they're not the friends you thought they were.

If you have more questions (those who emailed me), feel free to email again.


PJ Hoover said...

Great explanation, Jess! And a great message to other kids out there!
You rock!

Jessica Burkhart (Jess Ashley) said...

Thanks, PJ! No kids should be embarrassed about this condition.

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

Jess, that's so great of you helping kids that are going through your experience. :)

Alyson Noel said...

Wow, how awesome that you're helping those kids--what a great role model you are!

Heidi the Hick said...

In the last month I've come across at least three horse fanatics who are also dealing with scoliosis -and you're the second who's also a writer!

I'm 37 and my first Xray was at age 12. It wasn't bad enough for surgery but it is something that irritates me on a regular basis. I'm thankful that it doesn't stop me from doing what I love to do.

I think it's great that you're there to prove to younger kids that they're going to be okay!

Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day 2020

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. Authors, readers, and bloggers are uniting again his year to fight stigma, spread mental hea...

Total Pageviews