She Slays: What living a life with crippling scoliosis has taught me

A childhood injury and lack of medical attention afterwards lead Aditi down the path of scoliosis. This is her story about how she tamed the condition, instead.
When scoliosis tried to tame her, she tamed the diseases instead.Image Courtesy: Aditi Mehendiratta
Reader Submission Updated: 15 Nov 2023, 20:00 pm IST
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This is the third in a seven-part feature series, She Slays


Hi, my name is Aditi Mehendiratta and I am a 24-year-old lawyer from New Delhi. I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 21 and my journey is nothing less than a battle in itself. 

I accidentally injured my ankle while playing in the park when I was eight. My parents considered it as a normal injury–because kids tend to hurt themselves. But, when it didn’t get better as expected, I had to see a doctor. It turned out to be a hairline fracture and I was told that my ankle bone was so badly damaged I won’t be able to walk properly for the rest of my life. 

The doctor suggested physiotherapy, but we couldn’t afford it. So he suggested the “next best thing” which involved me walking straight in one line, with a book balanced on my head. My bone was supposed to align in a proper way–instead, I started walking in a strange manner. The misalignment led to more fractures in the same ankle for the next three years.

Young, wild and free , even after scoliosis this girl shall be.Image Courtesy: Aditi Mehendiratta

Then, my life took a complete U-turn
My parents had now become very protective of me and wouldn’t let me go out often. This only worsened my situation as I absolutely loved being outdoors. I started feeling bad about myself because I went from winning gold medals in athletics to not being able to walk correctly.

To add to my misery, I was constantly in pain and there was nothing I could do about it, so I buried myself in books and stayed indoors as much as I could. Seeing other children of your age doing everything that you wish to do makes you feel pathetic and this naturally affected me. Not to mention, I was also bullied for my condition at school. 

Tired of all these struggles, I stopped going to school after the 10th grade and opted for open learning. And as time went by, I found solace in my own shell. 


I was too young to go through scoliosis
At 21, I started getting extreme body pain on a regular basis–especially in one of my shoulders. It grew so intense that I was surviving on painkillers every day. My parents couldn’t bear to see me like this and handed me a voucher for a free consultation with a German orthopaedic who was visiting India. I took my chance and went to see him. 

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The doctor examined the way I walked and deduced that I might have scoliosis–something I had no idea about. He told me that scoliosis is a condition where your spine turns into an unusual curve, generally forming an ‘S’ shape. This deformity of the spine affects overall the posture of a person and I was going through it because of the lack of proper medical attention over the years. Moreover, I was too young to have such a condition.

She refused to take no for an answer, even while doctors believed otherwise. Image Courtesy: Aditi Mehendiratta

He told me that it was not curable but could be stopped with proper care and treatment. My worst fears were confirmed when I got an X-ray done and indeed, it turned out to be scoliosis. The doctor told me that I would have to take at least 30 physiotherapy sessions to make my situation better. 

Physiotherapy turned out to be a boon for me
Through sheer luck, I chanced upon a physiotherapist who specialised in treating sports-related injuries and scoliosis in different age groups. I began seeing him thrice a week. Gradually, I could feel the pain going away. 

He became my biggest motivator and encouraged me to train with heavier weights–just how people do it at the gym. Following this, I mustered up the courage to get a membership at a gym near my house and I can proudly say that this was three years ago and there has been no looking back for me. 

I have become so passionate about gymming that I invest a lot of my time and energy in my fitness–be it buying protein supplements, following fitness influencers on social media, or watching exercise videos–I do it all. In fact, I can now do a bench press with 35 kilos of weight–which is difficult for most people. And I consider it a big achievement. 

She truly took on physiotherapy like a champ! Image Courtesy: Aditi Mehendiratta

You need to prioritize your health above everything else
I want to emphasize that taking proper care of your health is a must. While I find myself in a much better position than I have ever been, I still cannot deny the fact that I would have been a different person altogether had I or my parents understood the value of going in for proper medical treatment. 

Even if you are going through a condition which is not curable, you must have a positive mindset and accept it the way it is. I have learnt from my experience that you should never let anyone tell you that you are incapable of doing anything just because you are not fit enough to do it. Just go ahead and work hard on your dreams and I am sure your life will find its calling too, like I found mine. 

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