Photos by Anna Goodson
Bradley Morris was diagnosed with scoliosis as a teenager. At the time, it didn’t bother him as much as he expected, but as he got older the pain grew more severe. By thetime he reached his early 20s, Bradley was working a physically demanding job, and the labor took a serious toll on his back.
Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine, with rotation of the vertebrae within the curve, according to the Scoliosis Research Society. It can result in back pain and, in severe cases, may be associated with diminished lung function due to distortion of the rib cage.
Fast-forward a couple of decades, and Bradley not only still battles with the pains of scoliosis, but now he has a degenerative disc. He went to a couple of different specialists and was surprised at the response he received. “I was seeing a chiropractor, who recommended swimming to help with the pain,” said Bradley, “I was also going to a physical therapist.
He showed me several stretching exercises to help. ”Most research shows that stretching and swimming have little impact when it comes to actually reversing the effects of scoliosis, but several studies show that both exercises can help with pain-management, posture and breathing.
According to The Livestrong Foundation, swimming is beneficial for scoliosis patients because the movements are not jarring and there is less pressure on the spine. Swimming creates buoyancy, which reduces body weight forces acting on the body. The water also provides resistance, which can work muscles and improve endurance and flexibility. Swimming can also help build muscles in the arm, leg and back, which is proven to help with overall balance and muscle strength.
Bradley took his doctors’ advice; he and his wife, Sissy, were so pleased with the results, they decided this was going to be Bradley’s new way of life.
The couple added a pool and gym to their Madison home a few years ago. “The decision was mostly because of Bradley’s back,” said Sissy, “but we also knew it would be a great place for
our kids to hang out. They were teenagers at the time.”
“The vision for the gym and pool was a place to house all of Bradley’s workout equipment, with additional porches for cooking and hanging out by the fireplace,” said Sissy.
Bradley uses the gym every day and the pool when the weather allows. “I don’t get to swim nearly as much as I would like to in the winter,” said Bradley, “but the stretching equipment and exercises the gym allows me to do are a lifesaver.”
Bradley and Sissy say the decision to add the pool and gym took a lot of planning and consideration, but in the end, they don’t regret it one bit. “I feel it’s been a good investment,” said
Sissy, “not only for the health benefits, but also for the times we have been able to gather with friends and family using it, whether through swimming, grilling out or just sitting by the fire.”