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View Full Version : People Trying to "Straighten" You



carolmr
10-25-2013, 11:50 PM
This is not a big deal, but it's been happening to me a lot lately. I've had scoliosis since I was a teenager. Never had surgery. I think it's gotten worse because my right shoulder blade protrudes more and more as I age. I'm 59. My dad had scoliosis, too, and when he died at 85 his back was really hunched over. Anyway, people that I know slightly or have just met feel the need to "straighten" me - they actually push my shoulders back and tell me to stand up straight. It is difficult to do that because it hurts when I try. People with scoliosis have bad posture because of their condition, from what I have observed. Yet I never tell these do-gooders to leave me alone because I have scoliosis. Has anyone else had this experience?

JenniferG
10-26-2013, 01:42 AM
I'd be telling them, "I have scoliosis, and thinking you can straighten my spine by making me stand up straight, is like trying to hold back the tide - impossible."

Being blunt is the only way to deal with what may be well-intentioned, but is still ignorance. Fortunately, I didn't ever have to deal with anything like that.

susancook
10-26-2013, 05:00 AM
Nobody should be allowed to put hands on you without your permission. Period. Nobody can try to straighten you unless you allow them to try.
Susan

carolmr
10-26-2013, 01:04 PM
Jennifer, that's a great answer to give to someone who thinks you can be straightened. Of course, part of it is my fault because I have never told these people that I have scoliosis and I don't think most people think scoliosis is a big deal. Friends and family who know I have scoliosis still insist that my poor posture is mostly my own fault. If only you had stood up straight when you were a teen, you wouldn't look like this now, etc. It infuriates me. Susan, you are so right - no one has the right to touch you. But it happens so fast that I don't know what to say or do. Like I said, it's a small problem, but I'm getting more sensitive about my condition as I get older. Scoliosis has probably been around since man started walking on two legs. It's amazing to me that there still isn't an easier way to correct it except for the invasive, horrible, painful surgery.

Susie*Bee
10-26-2013, 01:51 PM
And keep a small photo of your x-ray with you. Whip it out and say-- how are you going to straighten that up? It's impossible, so please keep your hands off of me and understand I know you are trying to help, but this is a medical condition that has nothing to do with my past or present posture.

JenniferG
10-26-2013, 04:29 PM
Good advice from Susie - a pic of you x-ray would make it all clear.

carolmr
10-26-2013, 07:09 PM
Yes, Susie Bee, great idea about the x-ray!

Irina
10-26-2013, 07:31 PM
People didn't try to straighten me up, but occasionally someone, who just noticed I've had scoliosis, would give me a sympathetic look and ask: "Do you know that you have scoliosis?". I would give them an ice-cold look and ask in response: "What do you think?" and they would shut up.

Carol, you can explain and show x-rays to these people, but remember - you don't owe anyone an explanation. If you feel like talking about it, that's one story, but if people just invade your privacy - that's a different matter.

carolmr
10-26-2013, 09:05 PM
Thanks, Irina.

LindaRacine
10-26-2013, 10:30 PM
Strange friends!

mariaf
10-27-2013, 09:03 AM
Sorry you have to deal with such ignorant, albeit perhaps well-meaning, comments. Maybe you should tell these folks that if they can cure scoliosis by having one 'stand up straight', you want in on the patent because you'll never have to work again! Perhaps they'll get the hint that it can't be fixed that way.

susancook
10-27-2013, 04:55 PM
Jennifer, that's a great answer to give to someone who thinks you can be straightened. Of course, part of it is my fault because I have never told these people that I have scoliosis and I don't think most people think scoliosis is a big deal. Friends and family who know I have scoliosis still insist that my poor posture is mostly my own fault. If only you had stood up straight when you were a teen, you wouldn't look like this now, etc. It infuriates me. Susan, you are so right - no one has the right to touch you. But it happens so fast that I don't know what to say or do. Like I said, it's a small problem, but I'm getting more sensitive about my condition as I get older. Scoliosis has probably been around since man started walking on two legs. It's amazing to me that there still isn't an easier way to correct it except for the invasive, horrible, painful surgery.

Yes, a comment happens fast and sometimes all of us are caught off guard. Sometimes when there is an awkward situation that I am not sure how to respond to that has occurred over and over again, I practice how to respond. You may choose to educate them with X-rays and definitions OR say something like, "I feel uncomfortable sharing my personal information with you" or if it is a stranger, maybe just ignore them.

You do not owe anyone information: "I have never told these people that I have scoliosis".

You are right, ultimately, there is no definitive answer except surgery. Surgery is invasive and it is painful, although the drugs and muscle relaxants greatly mitigate all of that. Honestly, I do not remember pain out of control after surgery. Everyone is different, but I was well controlled. Horrible? That is an individual interpretation. For me, progressive pain was not going to improve without surgery and the fact that I could not do the things that I wanted to do made surgery, made surgery a choice that I wanted. Yes, wanted. Sure, my kyphosis looked ugly but aesthetics do not matter much, mostly wanting to be active and travel and do volunteer work. Nobody can tell you what is right for you. My only suggestion would be that if you ever do consider spinal surgery, have a surgeon who is an SRS adult surgeon probably in an major university hospital. Just my unsolicited 2cents of advice.

Susan

rohrer01
02-08-2014, 10:16 PM
Jennifer, that's a great answer to give to someone who thinks you can be straightened. Of course, part of it is my fault because I have never told these people that I have scoliosis and I don't think most people think scoliosis is a big deal. Friends and family who know I have scoliosis still insist that my poor posture is mostly my own fault. If only you had stood up straight when you were a teen, you wouldn't look like this now, etc. It infuriates me. Susan, you are so right - no one has the right to touch you. But it happens so fast that I don't know what to say or do. Like I said, it's a small problem, but I'm getting more sensitive about my condition as I get older. Scoliosis has probably been around since man started walking on two legs. It's amazing to me that there still isn't an easier way to correct it except for the invasive, horrible, painful surgery.

Wow, I just found this. I have an aunt who just passed away the other day. She had a significant kyphosis. It was never diagnosed because she was told that she caused it by slouching. She was very tall and everyone said she slouched as a teen so she would be shorter than the boys. Then she got stuck that way. I feel bad that she lived her whole life not knowing that she actually had a medical condition of the spine. ='(