There is congenital spinal curvature in my family. Every female member, no matter what her weight, has it. This includes me. Mine is “three way,” meaning that I have an abnormal twist from side-to-side (scoliosis), an abnormal twist from front-to-back (lordosis), and a rotational twist (kyphosis). This means my back muscles are constantly working much harder than they should. It naturally follows that I can throw my back out easier than most people, and I’ve had bouts with pain so debilitating I could barely walk.
A few years ago I went to a doctor complaining that the back trouble was worse than usual. The doctor did not even look at my back but rather told me that the cause was that my extra weight was pulling the spine out of place. He suggested that if I just “ate right” I’d lose the weight and all my problems would go away. He didn’t even suggest any exercises to help the muscles even after I mentioned that it’d been some time since I’d been in physical therapy. He only suggested over-the-counter naproxen.
Three weeks later, I was in so much pain that I could not even stand up straight. At the age of twenty-eight I was walking with a cane and I could not even dress myself. I went to another doctor who took one look and immediately prescribed strong muscle relaxants, prescription pain relievers. I was walking normally in three days; once the immediate problem settled he was happy to give me information about strengthening exercises. It was then and only then he brought up my weight — and it came by way of asking if he could take some blood in order to check my thyroid function.
I stayed with that doctor for years.