To mark scoliosis awareness month, I have launched a new video over on my YouTube channel!
This video is all about how scoliosis and spinal fusion affects my everyday life.
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, 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 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.
I can’t bend my back!
For me, this is because I have had spinal fusion 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 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.
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.
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.