Scoliosis and silver linings
Like many of you, I don’t remember a time that my back didn’t hurt. Even when I was 6 years old, I told my mother that my back was hurting. She took me to see a pediatrician, who after examining me, explained to my mom I had scoliosis. He referred me to a back physician to begin handling my care. Unaware as a six year old, this was the beginning of the journey that eventually lead me to becoming a Physical Therapy.
My scoliosis progressed, resulting in recommendations for a back brace by the age of 10. The Boston back brace covered the entire length of my trunk, to be worn 23 hours a day. Every 3 months, my mother and I would travel to the Knoxville scoliosis clinics. I would be X-rayed, see the orthopedic physician, and have my brace checked. I began treatment with a physical therapist who taught me exercises each visit. I have a distinct memory thinking, “that seems like a fun job.” I felt something drawing me to this path, which later I would discover to be my calling in life.
My mom was the one that encouraged me during that time. She helped me to see my brace as something helpful and necessary for my health and well-being. She would tell me, “if you don’t act different, your friends won’t treat you different.” She made our trips to Knoxville fun, helping me to see the silver lining in my childhood struggle. She was also the one to encouraged me towards a career as a physical therapist.
Fast forward 40 years (now I am telling my age), my scoliosis still impacts me every day. The knowledge I have about taking care of my patients and their backs, helps me to take care of my own back. I exercise regularly with the same exercises that I teach my patients.
I have empathy because of my own pain and struggle throughout my life, including my career. This, however, is what lead me to my passion and calling. I am still passionate about helping others and see physical therapy as my calling. I am still able to see the silver lining…. thanks Mom.
-Sandy Daniels, PT, MDT