It was the summer after fifth grade when I came down with my standard, once-a-year case of nasty bronchitis. My mom took me to the doctor, who ran a lung X-ray to confirm it before prescribing me antibiotics.
I remember thinking, "And this is just the beginning. I'm going to feel like this every day."
"Well, you do have bronchitis," the doctor said, "but you also have a pretty serious case of scoliosis." He held up the X-ray to show me an image of my spine, which was visibly crooked. I was 10 years old. Needless to say it was not the diagnosis I was expecting that day.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is a curvature of the spine that appears in late childhood or early adolescence. It's most common in young women, and children are at risk for a worsening curvature as they grow.
Although many schools conduct screenings to try to catch students' scoliosis early, mine wasn't one of them. Had anyone ever asked me to bend and touch my toes, they would've noticed that I had developed a significant hunch on the right side of my back.The initial curve of my spine was significant enough that my doctor immediately referred me to an orthopedist, who said I'd need to start wearing a back brace right away.