Scoliosis can be a very debilitating condition, often making it hard for patients to look after themselves on a day-to-day basis. Activities like getting dressed, bathing and even walking can become difficult. Some scoliosis patients suffer from chronic back pain, and this can easily leave them feeling run down and fed up.
But don't worry - it's often the case that a few lifestyle changes can help you to feel better about yourself and move around more freely. One way to tackle the daily challenges that scoliosis throws at you is by implementing a varied and relaxing self-care routine.
Scoliosis self-care draws on a lot of standard self-care practices, and many of the suggestions we're about to make can be beneficial whether you have scoliosis or not. Of course, we've tailored each self-care activity to be most beneficial for scoliosis patients specifically.
Exercise is at the centre of almost every self-care plan, and whether you're capable of a full workout or just a few limited movements, it can go a long way towards relieving your pain and lifting your spirits.
People with scoliosis should focus on exercises that target the core and back muscles to help strengthen the area around the spine. This helps to improve posture, as well as reducing the chances of injury. Before undertaking any activities (particularly sports), we recommend speaking to your GP to make sure you know your physical limitations - pushing yourself too hard can do a lot of harm.
If you undergo one of our scoliosis treatment courses, we will teach you a wide variety of stretches and exercises that you can do easily at home. These will help to prevent your spinal curvature from progressing while increasing your flexibility and mobility.
We have a growing library of exercise videos that you can use to guide you, most of which can be followed without any additional equipment. Gentle exercises like yoga and Pilates are ideal if you just want to get your body moving in a low-impact environment.
One of the other great benefits of exercise is the positive impact it can have on your mental health - something that everyone should focus on improving as part of their self-care efforts. Scoliosis tends to come hand-in-hand with feelings of insecurity, and the psychological impacts of the condition are often overlooked (see Scoliosis and Depression).
Fortunately, there are lots of different things you can try to help boost your mood.
Meditation and mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness are two of the best ways to actively work on your mental well-being. Taking a few minutes out of each day to switch your phone off, sit quietly and reflect on everything you have to be grateful for can really improve your mood. More info here: Can Mindfulness Help with Scoliosis?
Learn to say no sometimes...
Remember that it's okay to say no to people sometimes. One thing that our patients often tell us is that they're burning the candle at both ends without giving themselves a break, and while we know it can be hard to say no, sometimes it's the best thing you can do for yourself. You don't have to go to every party; you don't have to attend every meal out with friends. It's okay to take some time for yourself and rest if your scoliosis is making you anxious or if it's particularly painful today.
...but not all the time
On the other hand, it's important that you don't become reclusive for long periods of time as this can lead to depression. If your friend invites you out for a coffee while you're feeling particularly low, you might find that getting up and out of the house makes you feel significantly better! It's a real balancing act, but one that can be worked on and refined all the time.
Relax, Relax, Relax
There's no better way to treat yourself to a little self-care than with a good old-fashioned pamper session. Treat yourself to a nice warm drink, or run a bath and add your favourite bubble bath or bath salts. We recommend a muscle soak or Epsom salts to help relieve the tension associated with scoliosis.
If you're struggling to cope with your scoliosis and you're interested in investigating exercise-based therapy options, get in touch with Scoliosis SOS today!