Mark Llobrera

Rikke Mathiasen’s photographs documenting her scoliosis

This Washington Post photoessay by Rikke Mathiasen hits home—like her, I was diagnosed with scoliosis in my teens and it has had an enduring effect on my life. Unlike Mathiasen, I didn’t end up needing surgery—I wore a brace for a couple of years, and my curve stabilized enough that doctors recommended against surgery.

Still, my condition means that I’m constantly thinking about my back. My ribcage is twisted so my lung capacity isn’t great. Lifting heavy things can compress my spine and cause pain, so even healthy activities like working out require some modifications.

But: I don’t have chronic pain, my mobility is largely uncompromised, and I can do most everyday things. So there’s that. My worries are more for the future, as I start to age and the wear and tear sets in on connected joints (mostly shoulders and hips).