From Contributing Author: Ana Rodriguez
Let’s start describing what is scoliosis: It is a sideways curvature of the spine. It can lead to chronic pain, lung and heart damage.
I was diagnosed at the age of 13 years with idiopathic scoliosis (without a known cause). A long-term disease that passed without notice for many years. At the age of 12, my swimming teacher discovered it when I was in swimming practice. I was not having a correct posture so my parents never attributed this to scoliosis but just a way of standing or carrying the school bag, I believe that it was because of the lack of knowledge of this sickness that finding a solution for my situation took longer than expected.
After many medical checks and treatments I realized that the only thing that would help me to have less pain and take care of my spine is to train my core and build a certain discipline that involved also being more conscious about my alimentation. I started to eat healthier, and coming from Perú, I was exposed to super foods from an earlier age, so I ate more quinoa, maca, kiwicha, etc. Besides from that, I started to swim and later on do functional training to finally discover pilates.
Pilates exercises helped relieve the pain from scoliosis. Even though I can not reverse the curve in my spine, I can release tight areas through pilates. I can also strengthen the muscles that support my spine and improve my posture.
By strengthening the core, the back and the legs, I was able to build up a natural “corset” that could protect my spine. I started with 20 minutes exercises a day up to 1 hour.
With Pilates, I retrained my body to learn how to move correctly. I let my body feel the movement and articulated the part of the spine that is more contracted. I also learned how to breathe correctly following the movement of my body. I realized the importance of proper breathing because I was able to properly engage my abdomen and core.
Through pilates, I realized that everything starts with small and first steps and that repetition and consistency are the key to feeling better and having a healthier lifestyle.