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Luckily, since my scoliosis surgery I don’t get too many bad pain days. In winter, the cold weather tends to cause an achy type pain and extra stiffness in my lower back, which for some reason I’ve noticed even more since my surgery. This is one of the reasons I detest winter, that and fear of slipping on icy ground.
During winter, you’ll usually find me with a hot water bottle or heat pad permanently attached to my back, as I find heat therapy really helps to relieve my scoliosis aches and pains.
Mostly though, since surgery, my pain is in my lower back and is caused by standing / walking round for too long. I also get muscle soreness down my left side. Most scoliosis pain is muscular in nature and is due to muscle in-balances caused by the curve(s). The muscle in-balances cause muscles to become tight or overworked down one side of the spine, which causes muscle pain and soreness.
My 10 tips for scoliosis pain relief..
1. Invest in a Heat Pad
I absolutely love my heat pad! Heat pads are good because you can place them flat behind your back or lie on top of them comfortably. (You can’t really do this with a hot water bottle!)
This is the heat pad I use and I think it’s great, just make sure you never fall asleep while using a heat pad!
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2. Use hot water bottles
My hot water bottle is my best friend! I find a hot water bottle works wonders on my aching back and feels like bliss. Hot water bottles can be used instead of, or in conjunction with a heat pad.
3. Take a hot bath / shower
If you find having a bath comfortable it can really help the pain. I actually find having a bath quite uncomfortable post-surgery as I cant bend my back against the bath and just have to sit upright which isn’t very comfortable! Perhaps a bath pillow would help but I’m yet to find a decent one. I also find it quite difficult getting in and out of the bath so I prefer to have a shower which can be just as good for pain relief!
4. Invest in a memory foam mattress / topper
It’s amazing the difference having a decent mattress can make. Before I discovered memory foam I would often wake up in pain and find sleeping uncomfortable. One day, I bought a memory foam topper to go on top of my mattress and it made a whole world of difference!
For me, memory foam is the best invention ever and a lie down on my memory foam topper instantly relieves my pain. It really is a must for anyone with scoliosis. (P.S. I recommend Memory Foam Warehouse for any memory foam related purchase..)
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5. Try thermal tops (in winter)
I’ve recently tried wearing a thermal vest top underneath my clothes which really helps to keep the cold out of my back in winter.
6. Do daily stretching
When the muscle soreness strikes, I find a nice stretch really helps. I’ve also been told by numerous physiotherapists that I should be stretching daily. If you’re wondering what stretches work best for scoliosis, check out this book (which I have recently purchased). It’s great because it has lots of stretches developed especially for scoliosis by a Pilates instructor who has scoliosis herself.
7. Take up regular exercise
Having a strong back and core is essential for the management of scoliosis pain. It’s important to stay as fit an healthy as possible. A strong core can help to protect the discs in the spine and maintaining a healthy weight ensures there is less pressure on the spine. Exercises that strengthen the core include Pilates, walking and swimming. Check out my exercises for scoliosis post for some inspiration on the kind of exercises that can help those of us with scoliosis.
8. Consider seeing a physiotherapist
If your pain is bad, it may also be worth seeing a physiotherapist who can give you special exercises for your case and show you how to do them safely. They can also provide other treatments which may help provide scoliosis pain relief including massages and acupuncture. I have seen many physiotherapists over the years and had massage therapy and acupuncture, both of which have helped me. I have also been referred to Pilates classes by my GP.
9. Invest in a decent cushion
I have an amazing memory foam cushion that can either be used as a normal cushion or it can be rolled up and put behind your back. I use this EVERY DAY at work to make sitting at a desk all day more comfortable. As it rolls up, I also use it when travelling to put behind my back when on a plane for example. Since surgery, I cannot bend my back to mould to chairs and so I find a lot of chairs (especially straight backed/hard chairs) uncomfortable. Having a decent cushion can really help your comfort and as a result, improve pain.
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10. Go to your Doctor
If all else fails and your scoliosis pain is really bad and affecting your everyday life, it’s important to visit your Dr. They can prescribe painkillers and/or refer you to a pain clinic for pain management treatments.
Failing all of the above, a holiday to a nice hot beach will also do just fine! 😉
What techniques do you use to manage your scoliosis pain? Please share in the comments below.
Samantha Evans via Flickr