Meet Blake, now 13, who discovered she had scoliosis after she went for her 8-year-old routine check-up. Blake’s doctor noticed something and sent her for an x-ray. Blake’s initial x-ray showed a 36 degrees thoracic and 22 degrees lumbar curve.
Scoliosis is common. According to John Hopkins Medicine, roughly 3 million new cases are diagnosed each year, most of which are identified as idiopathic scoliosis -the type of scoliosis that appears in children as young as eight.
A scoliosis diagnosis can be scary for the entire family. Blake and her family didn’t know anything about scoliosis. But Blake’s mom, Megan, educated herself about scoliosis by getting different options for treatment. She says fate brought them to Scolio-Pilates, which she learned about from a coworker who suggested she speak to Patti Green, a Scolio-Pilates instructor in Mesa, Arizona.
Patti’s explanation resonated with her. She had told Megan that if Blake were in a brace for 18 to 20 hours a day for the next eight years, her muscles would eventually atrophy. As a result, Blake would have nothing to support her spine, whether it was curved or straight.
Blake’s care plan quickly included Scolio-Pilates. She also began wearing a brace and learning how to maintain her scoliosis as part of daily life.
Patti Green has been working with Blake since her scoliosis diagnosis, thanks to the family’s early conversations. Patti said Blake is “dedicated, diligent in her brace wearing, consistent with her home exercises, a perfectionist, and happy.” Scolio-Pilates has helped her strengthen her muscles to support her spine. In addition, it gave her the confidence to know she was in control of her scoliosis.
With the right tools, Blake became unstoppable, her thoracic curve reduced to 24 degrees, and her lumbar curve is no longer measured. When she hit her teens, one of her last and crucial growth spurts, she had a setback, and her curve went back to 32 degrees. She is now working diligently to correct it.
Living with a scoliosis as a teen
Neither her scoliosis nor her brace slows Blake down; besides her Scolio-Pilates routines, she plays club softball. She is a natural nurturer and loves to help people in need. She is a great example and supporter to so many who have scoliosis and other physical or unique challenges.
Blake says wearing a brace was never a big deal for her since she started so young there was never a stigma associated with it. She proudly wore her brace on the outside of her clothes and answered all her friends’ questions. Blake never second-guessed its need; she wore it and got used to it because it mattered. She understands that it is just something she has to do.
Blake is a scoliosis warrior and advocate in her own right; she was approached by the company Higgy Bear, a non-profit organization that fundraises by selling Higgy Bears to make scoliosis “bear-able.” She fundraised and distributed Higgy Bears to kids who have scoliosis. Through Higgy Bear, she’s met other scoli her age and bonded with peers who are facing similar challenges.
As she starts her teens, Blake is in a new place; she is a role model to two important people in her life — her younger brother and her best friend, who were both diagnosed with scoliosis in the same week. Her positivity and resilience are helping her and will be their anchor point as they learn to live and thrive with scoliosis.