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Shailene Woodley’s Scoliosis Story

Shailene Woodley – Actress

shailene woodley's scoliosis

Woodley is known for portraying Beatrice Prior in the Divergent series and for other roles like The Fault in Our Stars and Big Little Lies. When she was 15 she was diagnosed with a 38 degree Idiopathic Scoliosis. Woodley was diagnosed later than most because she had passed a scoliosis screening in middle school. After several months of going through a painful growth spurt, one of Woodley’s friends noticed her spine was twisting in an “S” shape when Woodley was bent over in a bathing suit.

“We were getting ready to go swimming and I was in a bikini. ... My best friend was like, ‘Shai, your spine is weird!'"

She had a 38 degree curvature and was put in a chest-to-hips plastic brace for 18 hours a day for two years.

"It was like wearing a tacky, disgusting, plastic corset for 18 hours a day. In the beginning, it was hard to eat or breathe. And I had to give up cross country running."
"I've lost most of my muscle mass so I'm in the process of rebuilding it." **


“I wore it for two years, sophomore and junior years. And I hated it. But at school, it was totally cool…What sucked was I could have it off only six hours a day. So I had to sleep in it; I had to do everything in it. There were times when I just wanted to tear it off and times I cried and I’d hate it or it just got so painful. Every two weeks, it would push even harder, and I felt like all my organs were moving, and my entire body was sore." (Seventeen, May 2010)

The treatment was successful, and she took the brace off for good at the end of the 2 years. ***

** Studies show that bracing is most effective when used along with custom scoliosis-specific exercises and that, in general, patients who are physically fit and exercise regularly, will have far better treatment results.

***Research also shows that a weaning process produces the best outcome for bracing. This is a process in which patients gradually reduce brace wear time until they are fully grown and can safely remove the brace without fear of progression or loss of correction. The idea is similar to that of braces for your teeth. When you are done with  orthodontic braces, you are then fitted for a retainer to make sure the teeth don’t revert back after the braces are removed.

More Celebrities with Scoliosis Here!