i have a 45 degree curve in my spine. well, actually two curves – but the 45 degree one is the bigger one in the lower part of my back. for a long time growing up doctors tried to convince me to get surgery to straighten me out (i.e. put metal rods in my back to support my spine.) something about it never felt right so i put it off for as long as possible.
about five years ago i met a girl sitting next to me on the plane who also had scoliosis but had gotten the surgery. i asked her about it as we both did awkward stretches to relieve our pain on the plane, and she told me that even though she was technically “straight” now, she still had a lot of pain and had to work just as hard to have strength in her back.
i don’t think i realized it then – but this glimpse into her own personal experience helped me avoid back surgery even when it seemed like the only option, and to work towards being stronger and pain free without the metal rods. in retrospect it seems simple and somewhat obvious, but realizing that regardless of what so many doctors said – technically, all of our spines are curved in one way or another and being straight doesn’t necessarily mean being “better.” years later, i still think about this idea – but in so many more aspects of life than i would have ever imagined.