Mindfulness meditation

At its most basic, 'mindfulness' refers to an individual's conscious presence in the here and now, focusing on the moment and one's current surroundings.

But mindfulness also extends to the way we react to situations, with a strong emphasis on maintaining a calm and calculated approach to what's going on.

"What does that have to do with scoliosis?" we hear you ask. Well, potentially, quite a lot.

 

Mindfulness and Pain Relief

According to the Dalai Lama, "if a person's basic state of mind is serene and calm, then it is possible for this inner peace to overwhelm a painful physical experience".

In other words, practising mindfulness can help us to cope with physical pain and discomfort as well as being a useful stress management technique.

 

A Brief History of Mindfulness and Scoliosis

This holistic approach to long-term medical conditions is nothing new. In fact, way back in the 4th century BC, Hippocrates was believed to have stressed the healing power of nature and said to have encouraged self-healing methods.

Additionally, it's well-documented that methods not unlike mindfulness have been in use for centuries, notably playing a big role in the ancient medical traditions of both India and China. Meanwhile, Buddhist monks have long been associated with this meditative approach to health and wellbeing.

 

Mindfulness Studies and Results

According to an article published on RelaxTheBack.com, a study conducted by the University of Montreal compared the pain tolerance of Zen monks well-versed in meditation to that of non-meditators.

The results showed that the monks' pain sensitivity rate was 18% lower, while MRI results concluded that they also had a thicker orbitofrontal cortex, suggesting that this area of the brain was responsible for meditation-based pain relief.

A further study by the University of California, San Diego found that, after completing a 20-minute mindfulness meditation session each day for just 4 days, test subjects reduced their pain response by 44%. The same test was done on another group, replacing meditation with a dose of morphine. The morphine resulted in a pain reduction of just 20%.

Additional evidence was published in the April 2011 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, which reported that 80 minutes of mindfulness meditation could cut pain perception almost in half.

 

Mindfulness and Scoliosis

So let's apply this theory to scoliosis. If the above figures are correct, theoretically, modern-day mindfulness techniques could help to decrease scoliosis pain.

What's more, the mental benefits may also help scoliosis sufferers to cope with the condition psychologically, fending off the anxiety and depression that can accompany long-term ailments like scoliosis.

 

Practice Mindfulness with Scoliosis

Stereotypical meditation positioning requires you to be sat up straight, cross-legged on the floor. This may not be very comfortable for someone with scoliosis!

Luckily, mindfulness meditation can be modified to fit your body's needs. Whether you need to use a chair, sit against a wall or lie down on your back, you're free to find the position that's most comfortable for you.

Daily meditation in a relaxed environment could be a great way to help combat the negative effects of scoliosis. At the very least, it's definitely worth a shot.

Learn about our scoliosis treatment methods >

Office chair

For many people with scoliosis, back pain and spinal discomfort are a constant nuisance throughout the day, even when sitting down. This can be especially problematic when you're in work - it's hard to get things done when you're struggling to find a comfortable sitting position!

 

Office chairs for people with scoliosis

Most office-based jobs require you to be sat at your desk for hours at a time, staring at a screen that's two feet in front of you and typing away at a keyboard - hardly the ideal seating scenario for someone with scoliosis.

In fact, according to workplaceinsight.net, an astounding 81% of us spend 4 to 9 hours a day sitting at our desks. To put that into context, that's about as much time as most of us spend asleep at night.

Sitting at your desk, locked in the same position hour after hour can lead to stiffness and soreness even if your spine is straight - let alone if you're already coping with scoliosis. Luckily, there are lots of ergonomic office chairs available for a range of budgets.

 

What's the best office chair for someone with scoliosis?

The iconic Aeron chair by Herman Miller is a good place to start.

Known globally as "America's best-selling office chair", this classic desk chair has become so well-established since its invention in '92 that it's now featured in the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection.

Updated to meet the demands of the 21st century worker, the Aeron of today features "stronger and smarter materials, better adjustment capabilities, intuitive controls, enhanced aeration, and a health-positive, more comfortable sit".

That being said, such ample spinal support doesn't come cheap - the Aeron typically retails at around the £1,000 mark. Even if you're buying second-hand, it's not unusual for this chair to fetch around £500.

For a worthy substitute, the HÅG SoFi range is another great solution to your office woes and clocks in at around £700. With padded lumbar support, arm/foot/head rests and a variety of customisable features, it's a great alternative to the pricier Aeron.

 

Affordable scoliosis chairs for the office

For a more economical office solution that won't empty the rainy day fund, the Murray and Isaac ranges from John Lewis are also effective in terms of ergonomic support.

Retailing within the more reasonable £250 to £300 range, these seats feature form-comforting mesh, adjustable armrests and lumbar support, with the Isaac model also boasting a neck support for additional posture alignment.

However, if this still seems a little out of your price range, there are still plenty of other cost-effective solutions to be found online, while your local furniture shop may also have a variety of options in store to try out.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when searching for your perfect chair:

  • Look for high-back chairs with a posture curved seat

  • Adjustable arm rests and neck rests are also ideal features that can help increase comfort and relieve spinal stress

  • Additional lumbar support can also be provided with a supplemental aid if necessary

 

Specialist scoliosis chairs

While the ergonomic office chairs listed above may be suitable for those with mild scoliosis, specialist seating products may be the best choice for those with extreme / severe cases of spinal curvature.

From directed positioning of the pelvis to the use of neck and lateral supports, specialist seating can actively contribute to easing the pain of scoliosis.

Designed to reduce slumping, minimise neck flexion and promote a neutral midline from head to pelvis, specialist scoliosis chairs offer a variety of spine-straightening perks that are not found in standard seating products.

Some specialist chairs also feature "tilt-in-space" functionality, providing adjustable seat positioning to alleviate gravitational discomfort. Also known as "power tilt", this function allows the chair to achieve a recline of up to 60 degrees while keeping your hips and knees at 90-degree angles.

One great example of a specialist office chair for people with scoliosis is the DuoBack from Rohde & Grahl. This product is well worth exploring for any office worker who frequently feels the strain of scoliosis at work.

Here at Scoliosis SOS, we offer ergonomic assessments and postural seating advice to all patients as part of our comprehensive specialist treatment programmes. Call 0207 488 4428 or fill out our online enquiry form to discuss your condition further.

Read More: Coping with Scoliosis When You Work at a Desk

Non-Surgical Scoliosis Treatment from Scoliosis SOS >>

Image courtesy of Pexels

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we've seen first-hand what a huge impact scoliosis can have people's lives.

That's why it makes us so happy whenever we learn that our non-surgical treatment has helped someone to overcome their spinal curve and live life as they wish.

If you've got dreams of living life outdoors, but you're concerned that scoliosis will keep you from realising those dreams, we hope you'll take encouragement from some of our success stories:

Emily Harman, Scuba Diver

"I feel like a new person. My back is straighter and I feel like I look normal...I'm going on as many scuba diving holidays as I can fit in!"

Read Emily's Story >

 

Katie Brixton, Sailor

"I feel like I am back in control and I am getting used to being able to sail again without pain. It really is amazing the work that takes place in those treatment rooms."

Read Katie's Story >

 

Ken Higgbert, Golfer

"I feel I have been reborn and I am definitely going to live every day to the full. People take their health for granted but I definitely won't."

Read Ken's Story >

 

Timothy Cart, Climber

"Once I started to read about what the exercises involved and how they worked I was even more excited. For the first time since my diagnosis, I could see an end to all the back pain I was suffering."

Read Timothy's Story >

 

Ronan Hogan, Go-Karting

"I just feel so relieved - there are no words to describe how grateful I am to the SOS team. They worked so hard at getting my back sorted. I don't think I was a very easy case but they have made such a difference to my life."

Read Ronan's Story >

 

If your scoliosis is preventing you from taking part in your favourite outdoor activities, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Scoliosis SOS Clinic to find out how we can help you. Call 0207 488 4428 to speak to one of our expert Patient Care Coordinators, or use the links below to find out more.

Our Treatment Method   Book a Consultation

Newspaper articles about people working with scoliosis

We recently posted the following question on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages:

 

Have you ever had any problems at work because of your scoliosis?

 

Here are some of the replies we received from our followers:

 

"Yes. I work as a vet nurse, so holding / carrying large dogs and being on my feet all day are very painful. I've had to reduce to part-time hours as I cannot cope with full-time due to constant muscular pain."

- Amy, via Facebook

 

"I'm always in pain and feeling uncomfortable, and people think I'm faking it which is upsetting."

– Florentina, via Instagram

 

"It makes things very difficult, I can't sit or stand for too long."

- Em, via Facebook

 

“I can’t do long surgeries”

– Dr Eric, via Instagram

 

"Yup, had to move desks as the desk was a wave shape and my rib cage kept catching on the desk because the wave didn't fit with my curve!"

- Debbie, via Twitter

 

"My supervisors threatened to fire me because I wasn't lifting heavy bins, etc."

– Hiba, via Instagram

 

"I've been turned down for many jobs due to scoliosis."

- Tanya, via Facebook

 

As you can see, many people with scoliosis have encountered challenges in their professional lives as a result of the condition and its symptoms.

But this doesn't mean that scoliosis has to stand in the way of your career ambitions.

 

Could ScolioGold treatment help you to achieve your career goals?

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we've helped thousands of scoliosis patients to manage their condition and continue following their dreams. Here are just a few examples...

 

Solicitor Anna

Anna Russell, Solicitor

"By the end of my time [at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic] I could already feel the benefits. My posture is much better, my shoulders more level, and my spine looks straighter. Even my back doesn't ache."

Read Anna's Story >>

 

Nurse Edie

Edie Kirkwood, Nurse

"I have now gone back to work, as a result of the treatment, which for me is such a relief. I am one of the few people who generally love their job, and the thought of being unable to continue my passion was very distressing. My life is now back to normal."

Read Edie's Story >>

 

Farmer Carol

Carol Davies, Farmer

"I suffered for a long time and now I'm standing up straight, which I certainly wasn't before...we're now planting broadleaf trees for conservation, hoping to help with the carbon footprint of the world."

Read Carol's Story >>

 

Tattoo Artist Craig

Craig Piepru, Tattoo Artist

"I was suffering on a daily basis, sometimes to the point where I just had to stop working. The pain really was draining the life out of me."

Read Craig's Story >>

 

Opera star sings praises of back pain treatment

Dame Anne Evans, Opera Singer

"I had been suffering from excruciating back problems for some time and had been advised that the only answer was surgery. My condition was aggravated by the physical activity that was an integral part of my career as an opera singer. I cannot explain how grateful I am to Scoliosis SOS. I was given a programme tailored to my particular needs...if I get a twinge of pain, instead of popping anti-inflammatory pills, I just go to the bars for a few exercises and it goes away."

Read Dame Anne's Story >>

 

Vet Nurse Josie

Josie Stone, Vet

"I am ecstatic to have found these exercises. No words can describe the relief I felt when my pain started to disappear. I have always wanted to work with animals, and the idea of having to put off my dreams and go through major surgery was terrifying. I feel so lucky to have found an answer to my problems."

Read Josie's Story >>

 

And if all of those stories haven't convinced you, consider this one final response we received to the question we posted on social media: Have you ever had any problems at work because of your scoliosis?

 

"All the time! Although much less after working with you legends."

– Faye via Instagram

 

Use the links below to find out more about the Scoliosis SOS Clinic and how we can help you to overcome the problems some face while working with scoliosis.

About Our Treatment Method   Book an Initial Consultation

Further reading: Coping with Scoliosis When You Work at a Desk

Camping with scoliosis

Camping is a great way to get in touch with nature and really enjoy the great outdoors. It can help give your mental health a positive boost, and it gives you a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

For people with scoliosis, though, camping can cause a lot of worries. Will I be able to sleep? Will I be able to go on long walks? What if I need to go home?

Roughing it in the wild without any pain or discomfort might seem like an impossible dream for those of us with curved spines, but there are a few things you can do to help make your camping experience more enjoyable.

1. Keep doing your scoliosis exercises. As you know, we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic promote an exercise-based system of scoliosis treatment. If you are able to, we recommend that you visit us for treatment before going on your camping trip. Our ScolioGold therapists will teach you some vital exercises that you can do to improve your mobility and comfort while you are away.

2. Take a few extra pillows with you. Having extra pillows will make it easier to support the parts of your body that are aching when you go to sleep. Try placing a pillow between your legs to help straighten your spine. Aligning your spine in this way can really help to reduce pain for the next day.

3. Take a soft, thick roll mat or blow-up bed. This will put something between your back and the ground when you lie down to go to sleep. If you're already struggling with back pain due to your scoliosis, lying on uneven ground is likely to accentuate it further. Outdoor stores sell plenty of comfortable, lightweight mats and inflatable beds that are ideal for camping trips.

4. Pack lots of blankets and warm clothes. If you're camping in the summertime (at a music festival, for instance), this tip may seem a little counter-intuitive. But even if it's hot during the day, the temperature will drop dramatically after dark, and sleeping in cold temperatures can cause your muscles to tense throughout the night. Keeping warm during the night will help you to achieve a better range of motion when you wake up in the morning.

5. Ensure you have comfortable hiking boots with ankle supports. Investing in a high-quality pair of hiking boots will prevent knee and back pain during the day. It's generally advised that you wear them in a little before embarking on your trip into the great outdoors - you don't want to give yourself blisters!

6. Choose your backpack wisely. There are hundreds of backpacks for you to choose from. Spend some time trying different ones on and getting an idea of what's comfortable for you. If your shoulders or hips sit unevenly, adjust the backpack straps to compensate. This will help the backpack sit straighter on your back and reduce discomfort throughout the day.

7. Take painkillers with you. One drawback of venturing into the wilderness is that you can't just pop to the shops if there's something you've forgotten. If you think your scoliosis pain will become too overbearing to sleep through, put some painkillers in your rucksack before you set off. Your doctor can advise you on the best medication to take with you on your camping trip.

8. Have a backup plan. Although you might find camping a breeze for the first night or two, things may get harder the longer you stay away from home. It's OK to end the trip early if needs be, but be sure to have a plan in place that will enable you to get home if you decide you've had enough. This will put your mind at ease and allow you to enjoy your camping holiday to the maximum.

Learn Some Scoliosis Exercises >   Book a Scoliosis Consultation >