I have found that nothing is set in stone when dealing with scoliosis. There is no right way, there is no roadmap you can follow to optimize your well-being or a magic wand that will help you conquer all those dreadful, sleepless, painful nights. Unfortunately, when it comes to scoliosis, no two people are the same. What works for me, may not work for you. However, I have done my research. I have tried and tested various methods, and I have found that these six things are crucial to my overall mental and physical happiness.
1. Ask yourself, “Am I really comfortable in my bed?”
Most of us, if not all of us, spend about 6-9 hours sleeping, and how we spend those long hours determines how we wake up in the morning. Setting ourselves up for a successful night’s sleep is crucial. For me, I love sleeping on a hard mattress with pillows underneath my legs. The harder the mattress, the better I feel in the morning. Plus, the pillows underneath my legs relieve the pressure off my lower back and make me feel energized in the morning. Do some experimenting to figure out what works best for you and then make sure you stick to it.
2. Are you slouching? Because if you are, you shouldn’t be!
I hate the fact that no matter how hard I try, I always look like I am kind of slouching. You would think that after two major surgeries, and a shiny set of titanium rods along my spine, it would be physically impossible for me to slouch. Wrong. It’s possible. And, like all those people living with scoliosis, it is important not to slouch. I know it’s easier said than done, but I have found that a posture brace has really helped me overcome my tendency to slouch, and relieved a lot of pain.
3. Who needs a chair when you can sit on an exercise ball?
Take it from me, I have years of first-hand experience in the matter: sitting on chairs when you have scoliosis sucks. You deserve a chair that is made for you. A chair that will support your curvy spine and allow you to sit the entire day without pain. Man, I am gushing at the thought of a chair like that. I haven’t found said chair. If you find one that does wonders for you, let me know; I am in search of the perfect chair. In the meantime, I have, however, found that sitting on an exercise ball has done wonders for my posture, and my overall pain level.
4. Say goodbye to your stilettos
I remember the days when I would prance around in my high heels thinking I was hot stuff, while completely ignoring the fact that my shoes were slowly killing me. Oh, my younger years. Those days are long gone. These days, what really gets me going is a pair of comfy, super-padded shoes. When shopping for shoes, look for shoes with support and ones that fit the natural shape of your foot. Think Clarks. Those are the ones that work for me.
I know it’s not always easy to find the motivation to go to the gym, but keeping up with regular exercise will help you tremendously. I like to mix up my routine by doing cardio and weight training three times a week and yoga two times a week. It has helped my body maintain strength and flexibility and has allowed me to recuperate from a pretty vicious accident I had a year ago.
6. Therapy is the key to happiness
Acupuncture, chiropractic work, massage therapy, physical and physiotherapy are all viable and wonderful options. Whatever your choice of therapy is, make sure you stick to regular treatment. I happen to love acupuncture and massage therapy, but it has required regular weekly treatment in order for me to feel any results. If you do not have a regular practitioner, I would discuss the options with your doctor and try to find a solution that will work for you. Remember that you can’t give up the first week because you don’t feel a difference; give it an honest try for a few weeks or even a few months. Your body and mind will thank you.
Did I miss anything? Do you have something that you have found helps you? Let me know. I am curious.