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news News Tuesday, November 26, 2019 Tuesday, November 26, 2019 3:44 PM - Tuesday, November 26, 2019 3:44 PM

Patient's scoliosis journey leads to a new passion of helping other teens

Patient's scoliosis journey leads to a new passion of helping other teens

Many young girls aspire to be ballerinas when they grow up, to which posture and body lines play a big role in their ability to progress as dancers. Scoliosis affects approximately 2–3% of the population and approximately two million new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Dancers are among the many groups of young athletes that are often faced with having to make difficult choices about how to deal with a scoliosis diagnosis, which can affect their flexibility and ability to advance in their dance careers.

Since she was a young girl, 17-year-old Teagan knew she had a minor scoliosis curve. It wasn’t until some of her dance instructors noticed that her shoulders were uneven, that she realized her scoliosis was a much bigger problem. It had become obvious to others that her curve had progressed and that action would need to be taken much sooner than later.

“After about a year or two of 'just keeping an eye on it,' it turned out I had to get surgery,” said Teagan. After a consultation, her local doctor suggested he do a spinal fusion surgery or, that she try a new innovative, less-invasive surgical procedure. The procedure, callled vertebral body tethering (VBT), can help control spine growth during periods of rapid growth spurts.

Her family then enlisted the specialty care provided by Joshua Pahys, M.D., orthopaedic surgeon on the spine team at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia. “My local doctor said that he wouldn’t trust anyone else [with my spine] than Dr. Pahys, and that Shriners Hospitals for Children would also have the best care for my recovery with their staff.”

Dr. Pahys peformed the VBT surgery on Teagan in April 2016. “Teagan and her family were incredibly tough and resilient through the entire process,” said Dr. Pahys. “It is certainly not easy for many families to comprehend surgery on an otherwise healthy, active teenager. Teagan’s hard work and positive attitude helped her bounce back quickly from surgery to get back to dancing. We could not be more proud of her and the work she continues to do helping others.”

During her road to recovery, Teagan was forced to slow down her normal routine, so she turned to yoga. “I needed something that was low impact and had a healing element to it,” said Teagan. She quickly learned that it was a good way to calm her mind and return to some form of physical activity. This also inspired her to earn her teaching certification so that she could teach other teens what she believes is a great practice for the mind and the body.

Teagan’s scoliosis journey led her to a platform she had never even considered. She is now hoping her class grows to reach as many teenagers as possible, and provide them with an outlet they may have never considered.

Read more about Teagan’s yoga class.