Life After Scoliosis Surgery – How Scoliosis Affects My Everyday Life
To mark scoliosis awareness month, I have launched a new video over on my YouTube channel! This video is about my life after scoliosis surgery (11 years ago!), and how scoliosis affects me everyday.
Scoliosis is more than a back condition. It is a chronic, life-long condition that affects the whole body. It can also impact on mental health too. It affects me everyday of my life.
I wanted to highlight this in my video, and also help to raise awareness for scoliosis awareness month.
If you have scoliosis, and/or have had scoliosis surgery, please let me know in the comments how it affects your everyday life?
I’d love it if you could also give the video a “like” and subscribe to my YouTube channel for more videos on my living my life with scoliosis. 🙂
Remember that all cases of scoliosis and experiences with scoliosis surgery and recovery are different. These are my own experiences and may differ from that of others.
So how does scoliosis affect my everyday life?
So, I go into more detail in the video, but these are the main ways that having scoliosis with a spinal fusion affects my life everyday. This is what life after scoliosis surgery is like, over 11 years later.
I can’t bend my back!
For me, this is because I have had scoliosis surgery (spinal fusion surgery), and I have a relatively long fusion (I am fused from T3-L3,) so most of my spine is fused apart from 3 discs at the bottom.
How much someone is restricted by bending post fusion will depend on the length of the fusion. In my case, I can do most things but I have to adapt how I do things.
Some examples of things I struggle with and need to adapt include:
- Putting on shoes/socks
- Tying shoe laces
- Painting toe nails
- Shaving legs
- Bending to get into low cupboards
- Picking things up of the floor
- Cleaning in certain cases – like cleaning the bath
- Getting in and out of certain cars (especially 3 door ones if I’m in the back)
- Yoga – certain moves like back bends just can’t be done.
- Sit ups
- Any exercise involving flexibility
Basically, any activity that involves bending will be more awkward for me. I can do it, but I need to adapt (by bending using my legs for example).
Most of these things I do without thinking now to be honest and it feels normal to me, to do them in my own way. Things like gardening will cause me a lot of pain though, so I avoid things like that. Exercises, I just adapt and focus on the things that I can do. I’m very active and despite my scoliosis, I enjoy running, hiking and cycling!
I can’t twist my upper back
Linked to the above, I can’t twist my upper back, as it is fused. This doesn’t really impact me day to day really, unless I need to turn around. I have to turn my whole body around to look behind me. Sometimes this affects me when I’m driving, like I struggle to reverse park and things like that, as I can’t twist around.
Feeling uncomfortable most days
I think this is the worst one for me out of all of these. I find it really difficult to get comfortable and my back feels stiff most days. As I can’t bend my back, I can’t mould my back into chairs and so I’m only really comfortable if I use a cushion behind me. I also still have rotated ribs post surgery, so these can dig into chairs and things. My screws also dig into chairs sometimes too and I can feel them.
Scoliosis causes the body to change shape as the spine curves and twists. In my case, it is mainly the ribs and shoulders that have been affected. My rotated ribs cause my shoulders to look uneven and can affect my breathing/lung capacity.
In some cases, scoliosis can affect leg length, hips, waist and the heart, lungs and digestive system (depending on severity and location of curve).
I have back pain everyday. Most days it is lower back pain that is eased when sitting / lying down. I also sometimes get muscle spasms around my shoulder blade. I think this is due to my muscle inbalances caused by my scoliosis. In my opinion, working from home over the last 12 months has made this issue worse as I’m sat down at my desk a lot more and moving a lot less.
I suffer with neurological issues as a result of my scoliosis. I have numb patches and areas of my body that are numb. I also get nerve sensations, like electric shock type feelings, on a regular basis.
Mental Health Issues
Scoliosis has massively affected my mental health. I suffer with anxiety (which is only now being treated) and I have low self esteem issues. I hated my back and body growing up, as it looked different to other people’s, and I felt like I couldn’t wear certain clothes or do certain things.
I feel like this has had a huge impact on me today and how I feel about and see myself.
I wanted to make this video to raise awareness of all these things, and to show how scoliosis can affect the whole body.
Scoliosis Surgery (whilst I’m happy I had it as it stopped my scoliosis from progressing) was not a quick fix for me. I still struggle with side effects of my scoliosis today. I think I always will. It’s just about accepting this and managing the condition.
I don’t let my scoliosis stop me from doing things, I just have to be mindful of not doing too much sometimes, keep myself as strong and fit as I can and make sure I look after myself physically and mentally.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, please follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest and subscribe to my YouTube channel! 🙂
Lots of Love,
I had scoliosis surgery in 2010 and blog about my experiences living with scoliosis. My aim is to raise awareness of scoliosis and help and inspire others with the condition.
6 thoughts on “Life After Scoliosis Surgery – How Scoliosis Affects My Everyday Life”
Thank you for sharing how scoliosis affects your daily life. My spinal fusion was done 3 1/2 months ago, so I’m barely into recovery. However, I agree with so much of what you said in the video about things that are harder to do now after fusion. My s curve and spine rotation was completely fixed to no curve left. I do feel a lot of the pain you described-the lower back ache and the electric shock nerve pain that seems to come just when ever with no rhyme or reason. I hope for more relief as I get further into recovery, but I’m not sure that will happen after watching your video.
I was happy to hear that you’ve continued to run and hike. I hope to do more soon.
Thank you for your personal insight.
Thanks Janine, you will improve as recovery goes on. It is a long recovery and the pain will improve over time. 🙂
This is the first time I’ve heard anyone describe this condition in depth. My scoliosis was discovered when I was around 17 and I was given a Milwaukee brace but being a stupid teenager I didn’t wear it enough and the correction was minimal. I can totally identify with your saying this is a psychological as well as physical condition. Not a day goes by that I don’t have a bout of depression about my condition and I was in denial about it all through my teen years. My parents weren’t much help in helping me deal with the psychological fallout from this thing with my father saying rather bluntly; “it’s your back, deal with it.” The back brace made me feel ashamed and embarrassed but the permanent curvature haunts me every day.
I just wanted to thank you so much for this video and the courage it took to make it. I might be able to bend my back but haven’t been able to tuck my shirt in my pants like normal men since the condition formed. It does have a profound psychological impact as you mentioned. I don’t let it stop me from doing anything but I tend to avoid mirrors, looking at myself entering or leaving the shower and wearing a bathing suit is out of the question. I also tend to hit my spine on the corners of things which makes me even more depressed. Again, thanks so much for making me feel not so alone anymore.
Hi Brian, thanks so much for taking the time to comment 🙂 It means a lot to me. You are certainly not alone x
I have been struggling with an s curve scoliosis since I was 11 (now 32). I’ve been fitted for and found no correction after 2 back braces only to wind up with a full spinal fusion of my lumbar and thoracic vertebrae. I miss the more intense activities I used to enjoy as a kid and have almost always felt 20 years older than I am. I still suffer from a steep curve in my cervical spine but am trying to avoid more surgery in favor of what little mobility I have left. I’ve never enjoyed social media but my pain recently has “motivated” me to seek support because we ALL need one another. I am so grateful I found this blog and appreciate all of your stories and the comments of others. THANK YOU
Hi Nisha, thank you so much! <3