Scoliosis is Not a Straight Journey: A Professional Dancer’s Pursuit of Passion

Dr. Rita Roy: Hi, everyone. My name is Dr. Rita Roy, CEO at the National Spine Health Foundation, and I’m your host for the Get Back to It podcast, where we tell real stories of healing and recovery. What does it mean to get back to it? It means overcoming spine conditions through treatments that work in order to return to the people and activities you love, whatever that looks like for you.

It means getting back to your life. We’re here to share the success stories of those who did just that. And some of these stories, you’re not going to believe

at the get back to it podcast. Our goal is to tell stories of spinal champions who’ve been able to achieve a better quality of life through spinal health care. In today’s episode, I’m delighted to be speaking with Paige Frazier Hoffman, a 33 year old professional dancer who was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 13.

Paige Fraser Hoffman: I was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 13. I was a freshman in high school.

Dr. Rita Roy: Paige went to her annual checkup when her doctor noticed a curvature in her spine for which the doctor ordered an X-ray.

Paige Fraser Hoffman: My X-ray confirmed that I had a severe S curvature.

Dr. Rita Roy: Since Paige’s dream was to be a professional dancer, her family sought out non-surgical treatment, including bracing, physical therapy and chiropractic care with the.

it would stabilize her curvature. After

Paige Fraser Hoffman: my diagnosis, I remained focused on my dream and dedicated extra time to understand how the condition would affect my body as a dancer.

Dr. Rita Roy: Despite her challenges with scoliosis, Paige has continued to dance professionally and is currently dancing on Broadway.

Paige, your story is so important because it shows what success can happen with good action and perseverance. When you first learned you had scoliosis, it must have been scary and devastating on several levels. Can you tell us more what that was like?

Paige Fraser Hoffman: Yeah. Um, you know, so up until that point when I started high school, um, I felt normal.

I felt fine. Out of the ordinary. I had been dancing, um, since the age of four. So it was just, you know, um, dance had become something that was like a hobby. I had made friends with it and then I slowly started to fall in love with it. So I started high school and I go to the doctor for my routine annual checkup and I see that my spine has a curvature.

Of course, I’m looking at that x ray like what the heck, like, yeah, where is this coming from? What is this? It wasn’t something we spoke about. I’m not in my household and not, you know, amongst my, my peers. So I felt very isolated. I felt afraid. And I didn’t know what that would mean for me as an aspiring dancer who wanted to be a professional dancer.

Dr. Rita Roy: Yeah, that’s crazy how it just feels like it comes out of left field, and you said no one in your family had scoliosis that you were aware of? Correct. And at the time, was it a word that you had heard of before, or was it even, it’s a new word, right? It’s a new word for me. Yeah. And, and no one that you knew, none of your friends, nobody you knew had scoliosis.

Paige Fraser Hoffman: Not until that point. Um, so I was a freshman in high school at the performing arts school. Um, shout out to PPAS. Yay! They’re located in Manhattan and they facilitate, they create the opportunity for kids to get academics as well as um, arts training for free. Wow! So I was accepted. Wow! Yes, and I got to um, get free dance training from Alvin Ailey.

That was a pivotal moment for me and a very serious time, you know, because you’re, you’re going to school and then you’re going to work on your passion. So for me hearing this and seeing that I had scoliosis and feeling alone. Um, but I always say it was divine because The director of the dance program also had scoliosis.

What? Oh my gosh. So, I always had someone in the front of the room or the leader of the, the program, um, leading and, and as a beautiful example of someone with scoliosis who had danced professionally and was now educating, right? That’s amazing. So, you can’t make that up at all. Wow.

Dr. Rita Roy: That’s amazing. That mentorship and that support that just came right into your life at such an important time.

Yes. That’s incredible. So when the doctors told you that you had scoliosis, at that point, um, how did you approach What to do about it? What the treatment plan was going to be like? What were some of those steps? And you mentioned your mom was involved in helping you manage coming up with a plan. Can you tell us what that what steps you took with that?

Paige Fraser Hoffman: Yeah, well, it was actually mom and dad. I’m very great. Okay. You have had, um, both of my parents support throughout my life. Um, and I remember after getting the x ray, you know, I looked at them and they knew that surgery was not something that I wanted to do and they didn’t want it for me as well. So we kind of brainstormed and asked around and we found, um, A chiropractor and the surgeon who, um, told me I had scoliosis, he recommended back bracing.

So we received that wonderful, um, direction from the surgeon. And then we connected to a chiropractor by the name of Alex Eingorn who practiced in Manhattan. So it was perfect. So right after, Dance, I would go to the chiropractor once or twice a week, and because I was underage, my dad had to be with me.

So that was a special memory, just, um. You know, having that become part of my routine, something I did, um, regularly to just keep everything moving, uh, because it’s scoliosis, things get stiff and tight

Dr. Rita Roy: and the

Paige Fraser Hoffman: chiropractor introduced me to hanging, which is now something they talk about. You know, in shroff and even Pilates and yoga, but it basically is a way to decompress the spine, right?

Traction. It’s like traction. Exactly. So I, um, added that to my routine. And then with the rigorous dancing that I did, um, of course my body was still growing. Um, I was a late bloomer, so. I had to learn kind of, as I went along different things, bad habits that, you know, my spine had and how I can counter that and be aware of where I slouch and where I compensate.

Um, so it was a lot of visualization. Um, and understanding my curvature and where my weaknesses are, um, which to this day I can like, whenever I feel something starting to hurt, like I know exactly what’s going on. Wow. And I said. Yeah,

Dr. Rita Roy: go ahead. Go ahead. No, sorry. Go ahead.

Paige Fraser Hoffman: Yeah, I know exactly what’s going on if something starts to hurt and I definitely want to credit that to The work I put in when I was younger to understanding my back, um and those that were in my life that um, allowed me to ask questions and and Better understand my alignment

Dr. Rita Roy: And paige, um that must have been A lot to think about as a young girl Um because your body is growing your body’s changing.

You are demanding a lot of your body as a dancer and you have to Really tune into what your body’s doing and also understand when you’re compensating, right? And I guess that was what would lead to maybe what you call bad habits. Like, don’t do like, don’t do that because you’re, you gotta balance yourself out.

Right? I mean, I think,

Paige Fraser Hoffman: yeah, you’re, you’re right on track, you know, because with dance, we train to get better alignment. We, we repeat exercises. Um, We have a mirror in the front of the room, all of these things. So, you know, I’m looking at myself in the mirror and I’m seeing that my left rib cage pokes out more than my right.

And so you, you could actually

Dr. Rita Roy: see it on yourself.

Paige Fraser Hoffman: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. I could. Um, especially as I continue to grow, um, you know, you, you understand like Why teachers are saying you need to stretch and you’re like, Oh, my hamstrings are tight. And that’s a result. It’s not that I’m not stretching, but my back is just tighter, which has hamstrings, just certain things with my joints that, you know, in my ankles, learning how to point and flex my feet in a way that was supportive to.

My alignment, um, understanding the leg difference, you know, one leg is shorter than the other. Wow, that must have

Dr. Rita Roy: been, so were, were you a ballet dancer? Were you? Yes. So were you, you were in pointe shoes? I was. That’s a, that’s a whole nother thing with one leg maybe being slightly, even the slightest millimeters of difference can be hard for your balance, right?

Paige Fraser Hoffman: Very, um, everything is. Is rooted in alignment and balance and, um, spatial awareness. And, you know, I hate to say it, but with ballet, you’re trying to make these perfect. Right. Perfect. Right. Yep. Yeah. But you know, you’re, you’re trying to create these perfect lines and shapes. So then on top of it, you have like, I’m naturally very skinny and small.

So my body is, is. A smaller build, but you can still see, you know, that rib that sticks out, um, uneven shoulder, um, maybe a slight curvature in my low back and not because I have a big butt, it’s just my spine. Curbs. So, you know, I have a curvature in my low back, which is not ideal with ballet. Um, but I’m so grateful that I received training.

Um, yes, I started with ballet in the beginning of my journey, but in high school, I attended the Alvin Ailey school. So we did ballet, but we also did modern. We did jazz. Um, we did Graham, which is another form of modern. So we had a versatile. Academic palette, right? We were learning very various different styles of dance.

So that also was empowering for me because I feel so rigid and restricted. Um, because oftentimes in ballet, when you’re, Trying to achieve those forms and lines, you can feel a little bit constricted. So,

Dr. Rita Roy: you know, it sounds to me, Paige, that it was, it’s sort of a two way street that you were on with your scoliosis, because as a dancer, you are naturally training yourself to understand Where your body is positioned and as you say, the alignment and, and balance of your body.

And so part of that in a person without scoliosis is conditioning and strengthening and that core strength all the way up the chain from, you know, from your neck all the way down to your, your toes. And so as a scoliosis patient, some of those exercises are actually. what would be prescribed to treat the scoliosis.

So it’s, it’s sort of like the ballet. Was in a way helping you to overcome your scoliosis by the same token The scoliosis was driving you to have to work harder as a dancer like in a way It could they both kind of fed each other in in a helpful sort of way, I would think

Paige Fraser Hoffman: yeah I I totally agree with that Being diagnosed with scoliosis at a young age definitely influenced Formed, um, my process now as a professional dancer.

Um, I feel like having scoliosis forced me in a way to really understand what was going on, what my pattern is, where I start to kind of lean into the curvature, where I need to breathe more, where I need to expand more. Right. So all those things, even as I’m explaining to you, it feels like a dance.

Dr. Rita Roy: You’re moving beautifully while we’re talking to each

Paige Fraser Hoffman: other.

But it’s, it’s a visualization. And I also, during the pandemic spent a lot of time asking, um, people who are trained in scoliosis care and treatment about, you know, how to understand my curvature more. And, and it took time, you know, of course, like. Recording myself from the back so I could see what my patterns are.

And then how that translates to being a performer now doing, uh, the Lion King on Broadway, right. Eight shows a week. That’s a rigorous and demanding schedule. Um, and when I go into it, I have a different awareness than others because of what I’ve had to learn and understand about my body. So when I go into certain moves, whether that’s a jump, a turn, a partnering lift with my partner, um, each time is informing me, you know, it’s like, Oh, I shouldn’t do that.

Or I just kind of gave in there. Um, so it’s. It’s a continuous process of learning, for sure. Like it never ends, um, and I, you have to be eager, you know, you have to want to understand your curvature and how it affects your, um, movement. Or if you’re not a dancer, just how it affects your life.

Dr. Rita Roy: That is such an important thing you just said, Paige, is that you have to be eager and willing to learn how to manage this for yourself.

And so, um, you know, going, going back to, you know, you got your diagnosis, you went to see a spine surgeon. The surgeon’s recommendation was to do bracing. Is that right?

Paige Fraser Hoffman: Initially, the surgeon said, as she gets older, the curvature could worsen and we recommend surgery. But let’s see how the bracing goes. So in my mind, in my parents mind, we were like, this bracing is gonna work.

Dr. Rita Roy: We’re gonna make it work. So how did that go? So did you wear a brace while you were in training in school?

Paige Fraser Hoffman: Yeah, Thank you for bringing that up because that in itself was a learning curve. Um, no pun intended. Right. Um, I’m grateful that I went to a performing arts high school because I had a tribe. And also, even if I wasn’t friends or close with people, I felt safe in that space, wearing a back brace to school.

Um, you know, just to remind people, you’re a freshman in high school, like, and you’re having to wear this plastic brace. And the one that I wore to school was smaller than the one that I was wearing at bed. So I had to, wow.

Dr. Rita Roy: And yeah, I would. And how many, how many hours did you wear the brace at that point?

Paige Fraser Hoffman: Honestly, I was told to wear it when I, whenever I wasn’t dancing.

Dr. Rita Roy: So like all day, basically. And then did you sleep in the brace at night as well? Yeah.

Paige Fraser Hoffman: Um, so that’s just in itself, like something you have to address to, you know, emotionally, right. You don’t even talk about that. Um, and again, I was just very grateful to be around other artists who were eclectic in their own way.

Um, but in the beginning I like. Would wear shirts or sweaters that kind of like covered it. Um, baggy,

Dr. Rita Roy: baggy things,

Paige Fraser Hoffman: baggy, but also just like shirts that were fitted or, and then had like a flow, like, so I can hear the brace under that. So it wasn’t just like out in the open all the time. Or like I would wear tank top and I could, uh, track jacket over, you know, just ways to kind of like make myself feel normal.

But there was another student. She was, I think, a musical theater major. She also had scoliosis. So she had her back brace and we’re still in touch to this day. But yeah, I was so empowered by her because she like really didn’t care. And like, um, she would wear hers out in the open. So I was like, yeah, this is pretty cool.

That like. We have each other, but I always felt free when I went to dance, right? Because I could take the brace off and I remember I had like a cool little tote bag that I would like, put it in. Because again, like the tricky thing is dance itself makes you sore.

Dr. Rita Roy: Right,

Paige Fraser Hoffman: you’re using your muscles, you’re sweating, you’re exerting energy, and then to have to put the brace back on after that, oh man, get on the train, get home.

You have homework to do. It just was like so uncomfortable. But I will say that the hours I spent wearing the brace again, created the sensation of what my posture should be aiming towards to this day. If I’m online at the grocery store or like walking or even just sitting on the couch, I remember that sensation of where my back needs the support.

Um, and it’s almost like there’s two hands, like kind of guiding my spine, like that, um, a sensation and a feeling that I see.

Dr. Rita Roy: That’s incredible. That’s incredible. Um, so how many years did you wear the brace page?

Paige Fraser Hoffman: Uh, I think it was throughout high school. I feel like by senior year, I kind of weaned out of it because I had, I was pretty much done growing and when I got, um, x rayed again, nothing had changed with my spine.

So that was good. It didn’t progress. It’s stabilized. That’s great. Yeah. And even I got another x ray over the pandemic and it was still the same. And this was over 15 years later.

Dr. Rita Roy: Wow. Yeah. So during the time, during all that time in high school wearing the brace, did you need to go and see the spine surgeon for check ins or who was monitoring the, uh, brace and curvature?

Was it, was it your,

Paige Fraser Hoffman: um, it was my chiropractor, orthotist, chiropractor, yeah, my chiropractor and I. We developed a really good connection. He’s also still in my life and you know, he and I, like if I had felt any kind of pain, it’s so interesting cause I never feel pain in my actual. S curve. So my thoracic spine, it’s always in the low back,

Dr. Rita Roy: low back.

Paige Fraser Hoffman: Oftentimes that’s because of dance, right? You know, the average dancer has low back pain, scoliosis or not. So I had to learn how to strengthen my lower back. And that was through, you know, Pilates, gyro tonic, floor bar, you name it, all the modalities out there I have done. But throughout high school and college, I kept a relationship with my chiropractor.

And he always suggested getting x rays, you know, every at least two to three years, you know, not letting five years pass without getting an x ray just to kind of check in. So I just did that. And it never Nothing changed about it, even my most My most recent x ray, which was like three years ago or four.

My goodness, time has flown during the pandemic. I remember I went in because I had been touring with the Lion King and my low back had flared up and I didn’t know if it was the scoliosis or if it was the show that was triggering that. And, um, They saw nothing wrong with my curvature, so I knew it was something that I just needed to strengthen and it was like in my glutes that, you know, they get inflamed and they get overworked.

So, yeah.

Dr. Rita Roy: Yeah, piriformis, the SI joint. There’s so many things that can be involved in there, but, but check off the list. It’s not the scoliosis, right? Yeah. That’s the key. Yeah.

Paige Fraser Hoffman: It’s very important to, to um, be informed and to have, you know, at least you know what it is. You know, okay, that’s not it. So we can move on to the next thing.

Dr. Rita Roy: Yeah. We’ve been talking so much about alignment and curvatures, um, in the foundation. We have a, we have a, Information and infographic called curves that align makeup your spine because a lot of times people don’t realize that you’ve got this natural curvature to your spine. And that’s what kind of keeps your head balanced over your hips.

Um, and so when you look. From the front, there’s a certain, uh, you know, the, the, the spine looks straight, but when you look from the side, you’ve got these curves. Um, and in scoliosis, it’s the front view where those curves are not, not normal. Um, so that’s, that’s some of the education that we try to do here at the foundation to, to explain to people that there are natural curves to your spine and those are important to have.

It’s the abnormal curvature thing. Throws your body off balance and is, can be difficult. Um, so I love that you talk so much about alignment because that is the key to spine health is keeping that spine in alignment and keeping those natural curves where they need to be. Um, the cervical and lumbar spine curved in that S shape.

Um, so that’s, that’s so cool that you learned about that as a young person, managed your way with your brace all the way through high school. And then, um, Paige, you mentioned, did you go to college then and studied dance some more? So I, um,

Paige Fraser Hoffman: I moved to California for a year. Um, and continue, that’s where I was actually introduced to gyro tonics, gyro kinesis, um, which for anyone with scoliosis or any kind of joint issues, I highly recommend.

It’s a wonderful technique, um, similar to Pilates, but more circular and includes breath. And I was introduced to it my freshman year out in the Bay Area. I was a student at Dominican University. Um, and I got to train at the Alonzo lines, um, King school. And, um, awesome. That’s so exciting for a year. And I feel like that was where I really learned about my artistry because of how they.

Taught just dance and the philosophy behind it. And then I decided to move back to the East coast. I transferred to Fordham university, which was where I graduated from. And I returned to the Ailey school because I wanted to be in the Ailey company. And I got my dream come true. My senior year, I was offered a contract with Ailey too, which is the second company.

That’s amazing.

Dr. Rita Roy: That’s That’s amazing. What an amazing journey. Wow. That is awesome. Congratulations.

Paige Fraser Hoffman: Thank you. Thank you. You know, I, I always say, um, my dance career, my dance journey had just as many twists and curves as my spine did, you know, it wasn’t, it wasn’t a straight shot. Um, You know, me moving to California introduced me to Gyrotonic and then being able to come back to New York with that information again, another way of healing my spine and something that I’m actually very passionate about.

I want to one day get certified in it because it just has. Offered me so many tools, you know, and it’s just one of my go to use when I’m feeling tight and stiff in my

Dr. Rita Roy: body. So, right. Yeah, that’s what, what an amazing story. So, um, so you danced with Alvy too for a while and yes. Yes. Okay. And then made your way to the Lion King touring show.

So before,

Paige Fraser Hoffman: so yeah, um, I booked Ailey 2 and I toured with Ailey 2 for two years. And you know, it’s a feeder company into Alvin Ailey, which is the main company. And I actually didn’t get in, which was, Devastating for me. You know, it’s something like as a dancer, when you work towards that goal of yours and you’re just like, man, I made it this far, you know?

And I just, again, I think that resilience and perseverance that having scoliosis instilled in me, I reminded myself, Oh, but what is it that you love to do? You love to dance. And I just started doing research And I found out, um, through a friend about a dance company in Chicago that was starting out, um, Visceral Dance Chicago.

And I was like, okay, I’m going to send my materials in, take a shot, take a chance at it. And I was offered a job. So the next thing you know, I’m packing up and moving to Chicago with my boy, who is now my husband. And, um, I helped to build a brand new company, uh, visceral dance, Chicago, where I stayed for six years.


Dr. Rita Roy: phenomenal.

Paige Fraser Hoffman: Yes. Wow. And throughout that journey, um, I would fly back to New York to visit my family and friends and if there was like an audition for the Lion King or, you know, just anything else I kind of had my eyes set on, I would try my best to. Go in for it. Um, because as an artist, even when you get a job, most people still strive for more for their selves.

I know I’ve always had that mindset. So when I could, I would audition for the Lion King and I kept making it to the end of the audition, but no job. So I said, okay, well, if it’s meant to be, it’ll, it’ll happen. And. My sixth year with visceral, I was feeling like I was ready for a change. I’d committed so much time to that company and I had received so many beautiful opportunities and accolades.

And I was like, I’m content and didn’t really know what I was going to do next. But I had made up in my mind that I was like, ready to move on. And I auditioned for West Side Story at the Lyric Opera and I got it. And that that was my first musical ever. And it’s so funny because I thought I would get the Lion King before, but that’s just not how the universe had it worked out.

So I did West Side Story and I loved being able to just play a character and sing and dance and like, Um, we wore character shoes. So like with a little heel on them, it was just a different world for me coming from concert dance and shortly after that, I got a phone call offering me a position. With the lion King on tour.

So that’s incredible. Yeah. I joined the tour in 2019. Um, I toured for six months and then the pandemic hit.

Dr. Rita Roy: Right.

Paige Fraser Hoffman: Everything shut down, but yeah, up until that point, you know, it just is a reminder to any young dancer artists listening that, you know, that one, no, doesn’t mean it’s over for you, you know, It’s just a matter of reminding yourself why you’re doing this.

Um, why you love to do it and just trusting that you’ll be led to where you need to be. And that’s really what my journey has taught me is it’s not going to be as you, it might not turn out as you thought, but the way it’s going to turn out will blow your mind. If you just trust the process.

Dr. Rita Roy: Keep at it, right?

And keep at it. Yeah. Oh, that’s so inspiring. Such inspiring words. Thank you, Paige, for saying that and sharing that. And so that is amazing. And so touring and now you’re on the Is it permanent? How do you say that? Now you’re on the

Paige Fraser Hoffman: yes. So I, I toured with Lion King for six months. Uh, the world shut down.

Um, we reopened. So I went back on tour and then about three months in, I got an email asking if I wanted to be the dance captain and to swing for Broadway. So for those that don’t know what that, what that means, is. Dance captain helps get people into the show. So you help rehearse, teach the show to new company members and the swing is responsible for knowing multiple roles.

So as dance captain and swing, I had to know 12 different parts. Wow.

Dr. Rita Roy: So you were swing for 12 roles. So, so that would mean like if someone called in sick or got injured or something, you could step into that role. Correct. A swing. Yeah.

Paige Fraser Hoffman: Yes. Um, and as of May, I was offered my own track. So now I am in one track.

Um, so it’s again, Lion King has just brought me through so many different journeys and experiences and opportunities. Um, and has expanded my mind because even being a dance captain taught me leadership skills, you know, taught me how to also just manage my emotions because as a swing, you have to be fearless.

You have to just trust yourself and you have to go for it because every day you’re basically on call, you know?

Dr. Rita Roy: Oh my gosh.

Paige Fraser Hoffman: So I really, I learned a lot about, um, What’s the word I’m looking for, I guess, fearlessness, but just being able to show up and go with the flow, you know, trusting myself and again, in leadership, learning how to connect with people and talk to people and learning people’s different learning styles, right?

Everyone learns differently. So it definitely was a. Um, crash course on leadership and also just being ready at all times. So I’m very grateful

Dr. Rita Roy: for that experience. That’s awesome page. And so page, you are a scoliosis warrior. And now in your life, you’ve, you’re taking those leadership skills into your own foundation, the Paige Frazier Foundation.

So tell me a little bit about that and what made you want to start that. And it’s really, you know, you’ve got some good funding in place, some amazing programs that you’re doing. Tell us about that. Yeah. So, um, you

Paige Fraser Hoffman: Yes. So the Page Fraser foundation was founded by my aunt, Lesma Fraser, and she was inspired by my story with scoliosis and how I persevered and how I have been able to accomplish so much.

And so TPFF was founded in 2017. And our mission is to create free programming, arts programming, um, for the community. Cool. Offering it to people with or without physical challenges. So we currently have several dance programs. Um, we have music, theater, visual arts. Um, and one of my favorite programs is spine series, which we offer every June.

Uh, for scoliosis awareness month and spine series was birthed during the pandemic. Again, as you can imagine, going from performing every day to then everything closing, right? People being afraid to leave their homes. It was really hard for me to just kind of sit that long. And it’s also not a good idea when you have scoliosis to sit that many hours.

Right, right. You know, of course, taking a walk and doing what you could during that time. But I was like, why not use this moment to connect on zoom with people who have scoliosis and pick their brains? And that’s when the spine series came to fruition. Um, I presented it to the board, uh, at TPFF, and I asked them if this would be something they would be interested in hosting and supporting.

And it started off very small, but we offered free. Online on zoom sessions with people who were trained in scoliosis care. And this year is its fifth year. We have hundreds of participants that sign up to study and train with, um, scoliosis therapists and educators. And it’s just beautiful to know that.

You’re not alone, you know, so many people around the world have scoliosis and are seeking not only guidance, but, um, the tools to live a pain free life

Dr. Rita Roy: and how to manage it. And you’ve done such an amazing. job with your life. You were blessed to have that support in high school with a teacher and a classmate to go through that with you.

Very supportive parents along the way. And, and now you’re creating community for others. And that’s just beautiful. It’s just awesome. And I love some of the things you’ve said today, Paige, that, you know, no pun intended. Scoliosis is not a straight journey. It’s, there’s lots of curves in the road and it’s a journey and it doesn’t end.

Right. It’s a lifetime commitment to taking care of yourself and understanding what your body’s needs are and that that can change over time as well. Um, and that you’ve got to just continually monitor, take care of and, and be cued into that. So it’s, uh, it’s amazing for you to share that. Um, I’m so touched by knowing that your aunt was so inspired by you to set up a foundation in your name, honoring, you know, the, the commitment, the perseverance, all the struggles and challenges that you overcame and you continue to overcome, um, to be where you are right now.

And, um, if anyone listening is so inclined to take a look at, at, uh, pages. You know, social media accounts, just gorgeous photography of Paige and various poses and in her dance moves. And just amazing, just so thrilling to get to see that. And I got to come, I got to come see you perform. That’s it. I’m this summer, I’m going to New York.

I’m going to come see you perform. I’m. That’s it. That’s on my to do list. I can’t wait to see that. Maybe I’ll get a little behind the, behind the scenes tour. Stage door. Okay, cool. I’m, I’m excited about that. Uh, other things, um, that you are doing in your life page, you are a professional model. Um, so you’ve been featured internationally in campaigns with ESPN, with Amazon.

Elle magazine. Um, you know, just so much that you’re doing with your life. It’s just absolutely inspiring and encouraging. Um, you, one of the things that we do so much here, we work so hard at the foundation is to tell these stories of success and perseverance and to put it out there so that people know there’s hope that they can find hope.

They can find resources like. What you’re doing with TPFF and other organizations and get through their challenge and, and overcome that and become a spinal champion, like, like you are. Yay. Um, Paige, what. Words of wisdom, would you share with our listeners as we’re winding down our conversation? If people are just newly diagnosed or they’ve got a child, if they’re the parent of someone with, um, with the diagnosis of scoliosis, what, what sort of words of wisdom in, in, uh, in a nutshell, would you say?

Paige Fraser Hoffman: I want to empower them to do research. Try not to panic. It is already a scary situation. And, and as many know, it caught me and my family off guard. But I think the more that you research and ask and find community, that’s the beautiful thing about social media. Now you can just literally put in hashtag scoliosis, right.

On Instagram or scope people with scoliosis on Google, you know, and you’ll find the resources and. I think that’s really the, the first step after being diagnosed is finding those resources connecting with the people that can guide you, that can encourage you, um, and also listening and, and taking in what the doctor says as well.

Um, I think there’s, There’s no right answer. There’s no one answer to dealing with scoliosis. It is dimensional. It varies from person to person. It is unique, right? So I’m investing the time to really just understanding your curvature, understanding Your gate, right? How you walk, where your distribution is, understanding your patterns, your breathing, all those things.

So becoming curious and knowing that it is going to be a lifelong journey with or without the surgery, right? You know, if you get the surgery, great. Um, but you still will have to do work, right? So get the surgery. Great. You still will have to do work, right? So, um, I think there’s a process of, of course, sadness that happens, but then once you move beyond that, Um, embracing it, celebrating yourself.

That’s what June is about. Um, finding community, knowing that you’re not alone and it’s not the end of the world. And if you’re experiencing pain, that’s your body telling you something is up. So just get checked out and. Really stay on top of it. Try not to, um, brush it aside. Right. I always feel like pain is informing you of something, right.

There are ways to address it. So, um, stay encouraged, stay empowered. Find community and stay curious

Dr. Rita Roy: page that is. I have nothing else to say. Like, that’s amazing. You said it all. You said it so beautifully. Um, you’ve said it with our audience and I’m so appreciative of you taking the time. I know you’re performing eight times a week and you’ve got Few days off and you’ve shared some of your time to record this and and and share your story and your encouragement I’m, so so appreciative of that We just uh, we’re very honored to have you serve as an ambassador for the national spine health foundation and um We just we love what you’re doing.

So thank you for all you do for so many people. Thank you. Thank you

Paige Fraser Hoffman: Thank you for having me and you know, it’s just It’s so important to have conversations like this so that people feel seen, um, and that they know they’re not alone and that they also know, honestly, anything is possible. Um, I laugh because I’m in one of the hardest shows on Broadway because not only are we dancing, exerting energy, but we wear puppets.

So I’m dancing with weight on my body and I always laugh and I’m like, wow, you know, that’s rude. That’s pretty funny. And it just pretty

Dr. Rita Roy: awesome. It’s pretty awesome.

Paige Fraser Hoffman: It proves that the body can do anything you want. You put your mind to, um, and that’s why I have a picture of Usain Bolt at my dressing room station because he’s a scoliosis advocate warrior and one of the fastest men in the world.

Racers, runners. So, you know, again, I think finding the community and staying inspired by the people around you that are dealing with this and managing it, um, is the best route to take. So I love that.

Dr. Rita Roy: Yes. And I feel like you, you are, you define what we mean when we say get back to it, right? You just get to the things that you love doing, find a way.

There is a way. Yes. Yes. And. Go find it and do it. So that’s awesome page. It was such an honor and delight to meet you and hear your story of incredible perseverance and determination. Sharing it with our community will no doubt help someone else gain the confidence and fortitude needed to make the right decisions.

For themselves as well. Thank you so much for being so willing to share

at the national spine health foundation. Something we believe in most is providing hope for recovery through sharing stories of success and expertise. It isn’t always easy to find someone to relate to, even though a hundred million people suffer from neck or low back pain each year to hear more stories of spinal champion recovery and access educational materials about spine health.

Visit us. SpineHealth. org. If you’re interested in supporting our show financially, you can contribute at the link provided. Thank you for listening.


For Scoliosis Awareness Month, our “Get Back to It” podcast highlights a tale of resilience and perseverance on a Scoliosis Journey. Our host and CEO, Dr. Rita Roy, engages in a candid and eye-opening conversation with Broadway dancer and Spine Health Ambassador, Paige Fraser-Hoffman, who confronted scoliosis at the young age of 13.  Paige shares her journey of overcoming fear and the challenges she faced to fulfill her dream of becoming a professional dancer. Through non-surgical treatments, passion, and dedication, Paige overcame physical adversity and forged an incredibly successful career that led her to the bright lights of Broadway.

Whether you or a loved one are dealing with scoliosis, Paige’s story is an informative guide on navigating scoliosis with courage. This is a testament to resilience and the pursuit of passion. Tune in to get inspired and learn valuable lessons on how to navigate life’s curves.