Healthy Living

Scoliosis Pain: Treatment, Management, and Exercises

Scoliosis Pain: Treatment, Management, and Exercises

Key Takeaways

  • Scoliosis is a degenerative disorder that can affect both the young and old.
  • There is no single cause for this condition.
  • Patients can seek relief from several pain relief therapies, as well as opt for some of the treatment options.

Scoliosis is a serious condition that often occurs more in females than in males. The condition itself can be hard to diagnose at the start, which is why the healthcare professional will subject the patient to several tests, including asking them to touch their toes as well as to find out if their hips and shoulders are correctly aligned with one another. Moreover, the doctor would want to know about the medical history of the patient's family as well as whether anyone else in the family suffered from the same health condition.

This is to help the doctor determine whether the patient's current condition is on account of a genetic anomaly, and whether to rule out some of the degenerative conditions that are generally inherited, such as muscular dystrophy or Turner’s syndrome. It should be pointed out that Turner’s syndrome is more of a rarity and generally considered to be an anomaly than an inherited causative factor.

While the root cause for scoliosis remains a mystery, there are several causative factors that have been identified where the condition arises due to other health issues, such as Turner’s syndrome. Patients with this condition often experience sharp bouts of pain for which there are several pain management therapies, including treatment for the condition itself.

Treatment for scoliosis

Here’s taking a look at some of the treatment options currently available for scoliosis patients worldwide. Treatment for scoliosis depends mostly on the severity of the condition and the degree of the curvature. Here are some of the most common treatment methods for this type of condition.

Braces: Braces are used to align the spine with bolts and cross bars; they are generally used in patients where the degree of curvature is between 25 and 40 degrees and the patient is still growing. In such cases, braces are used to both strengthen and straighten the spine, so that it no longer curves.

Surgery: Your doctor would first confirm the diagnosis and after that, a careful review of your x-rays would be done, upon which he would recommend surgery if the degree of curvature is higher than 45 degrees. Surgery is often the last option when other non-surgical options have not yielded any benefits. The surgery often involves placing grafted material between the ridges and pushing the bones to grow and fuse together, after which screws are used to set up a brace, correctly aligning the spine. Moreover, your doctor would keep you informed about the process and it should not take much time.

Pain management

Most scoliosis patients experience varying degrees of discomfort and pain, though the pain and discomfort are not that pronounced in the initial stages. As the condition degenerates, it can cause sharp pangs of pain to radiate from the lower back to the ribs and is usually more indicative of the seriousness of the problem. This is why it is important for patients to seek pain relief through some of the pain therapies that are widely available. As the spine bends and curves, it can quash the pain nerves which can account for the pain; similarly the bend in the spine can cause your ribs to jut out, causing extreme pain if you should rest your weight on one side. But with these pain management therapies and exercises, you should be able to manage the same easily.

Exercises can provide you with some much-needed relief from the acute pain and discomfort. You can opt for a few exercises that can enable you to strengthen your back muscles, your spinal area, and your legs, such as taking pilates or swimming. You can also go in for aromatherapy and hydrotherapy as ways to get a handle on your pain.

You can also try out a few OTC medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen to contain the pain, but it should be pointed out that regular consumption of painkillers can cause you to become antibiotic resistant or worse, you could develop a severe allergic reaction to the same. This is why it is important that you consult your doctor at the earliest opportunity and ask them to run a full panel allergy test at the earliest. This should make it clear as to what items you are allergic to, and moreover, you can ask your doctor to prescribe the painkillers. Doing so would ensure that your doctor supervises your treatment, including the painkillers.

Apart from this, you can also consult a counselor as well as try out cognitive behavioral therapy as a way to moderate the pain. The cognitive behavioral therapy should enable you to control your pain better, and to come to terms with the same. With these pain management therapies, you should be able to get a better handle on your situation, and manage your pain effectively. Remember, these therapies are here to help you manage your pain and not to make your pain disappear completely overnight. Your pain will go only when you are able to treat the underlying condition.

Apart from these therapies, you can also opt for a spinal injection, which by itself can cause some pain. However, a spinal injection should help lessen acute pain. But the same issue as with antibiotics applies here as well, and soon the spinal injections will become less effective than they were before, when it came to controlling the pain. Therefore, it makes sense for you to opt for spinal injection, but sparingly and only when required. And prolonged spinal injections may end up having no effect at all.

Exercises to help you manage your scoliosis pain

When it comes to scoliosis, you may find that you are able to get some pain relief by stretching out, and this is on account of the blood flow to the affected parts of the body. These are some of the common stretching exercises that you can do, to minimize the pain altogether. You do not even have to go to the gym but can just stretch out that yoga mat and do these to reduce and alleviate some of the scoliosis pain. You can start out with a few and slowly add to the exercises as you perform these reps.

Chest stretches – This exercise is simple; just stand upright, legs akimbo. Now stretch out your arms to the sides and slowly pull them back so that your chest juts out, which is a stretch. You can do any number of reps each day, and essentially, you set the pace you are comfortable with.

Right angle wall stretch – This exercise consists of you standing tall and upright, with your hands placed on the wall in front of you. Now, use your feet and walk back till your feet are right behind your hips and continue to full stretch. Now repeat it, and do a few reps each day for some immediate relief from intense bouts of pain.

Back stretch – This is one of the easiest exercises that you can do and also one of the most effective ones for scoliosis pain. Just stand upright, stretch your arms in front of you, and now lace your fingers with each other. Slowly lift the arm backwards to full stretch; this should help stretch your back out as well as provide you with the pain relief you needed. You can try out as many reps as you would like.

Child’s pose – Here, you need to kneel, rock on your heels, and put your hands in front of you. Now stretch out and breathe. This should help alleviate some of the pain.

Up and down dog – Essentially, here you stretch out in a prone plank position. You get to stretch your legs out, stretch out your back, and hold that position for a few seconds before lowering your chest and back to the floor. This should count as one rep. You can try out as many reps as you are comfortable with.

Rag doll – This exercise includes you sitting on a chair, with your legs splayed out. You need to bend forward, stretching your spine, and use your hands to grab the elbow of the other arm as you bend over. Now hold that position for a while. Draw in a few deep breaths in that position. This exercise should help strengthen your back as well as alleviate some of the scoliosis-associated pain.

Lower back stretch – One of the common areas for most of the pain associated with scoliosis happens to be the lower back, and this exercise targets that area quite well. Lie on the floor on your back. Now raise your right hand along with your right leg, and point them towards the ceiling. Now hold that position for a while and get back to rest. This should both help and strengthen your back muscles and even help in limiting the pain somewhat.

Hip stretch – This exercise is mainly meant for the hips and lower back. Just lie on the floor and extend your legs. Now bring your knee up, clasp it with both your hands and bring it as near as possible, and hold that position. This should help alleviate some of the associated pain.

Cat stretch – This again is one of the easiest exercises to perform. All you have to do is to kneel on the floor, keep your hands separate, exhale, and draw your abdomen in. This should help stretch out your spinal area.

Overhead stretch – This exercise consists of you sitting with your back to the wall. Take a towel and grab it with both your hands. Now lift the towel with your hands and hold it above your head, while keeping your elbows flat against it. Now hold that position for a short while, and then carry out a few more reps.

These are some of the exercises that you can use to help alleviate some of the associated pain. Scoliosis can turn out to be extremely painful if you do not consult a doctor right away.  Moreover, the above exercises can be done at any place and at any point of time, which is why it is important that you try out a few right away.

Scoliosis is a painful condition but one that can be treated with the right kind of treatment. However, the key factor is that people suffering from scoliosis can opt to manage their condition better, with a few changes to their lifestyle. And with more scoliosis patients facing the same onslaught of pain and discomfort, it is important that they review these exercises as a way to help manage the pain.

While pain medication is available to treat the current condition, one may run the risk of developing a tolerance for such drugs, something which can have a long term impact on your health even after your scoliosis is treated. And remember, pain killers may not necessarily work, given the intensity of your pain. This is why you need to try out a few reps of the various exercises; more importantly, you need to realize that the condition is both treatable and manageable.

Therefore, you need to share the news regarding this condition with your loved ones, so that they can provide you with the love and support you need, every step of the difficult journey. And you can consult a counselor to provide you with additional support and the therapies you need to help you manage your pain and lead a normal life once again. Do check in with your healthcare professional for more information on your health condition and more pain management tips.