Approximately six million Americans live with scoliosis, with an estimated 6% of adults over the age of 50 having some degree of scoliosis. Scoliosis is a condition that typically develops in childhood, but can follow into adulthood, causing nearly 25% of sufferers distressing or even excruciating pain.
Scoliosis pain in adults ranges from mild to severe and it has the potential to limit mobility and decrease quality of life. Standard scoliosis treatments fail to deliver effective, long-lasting pain relief, which leaves many adult sufferers feeling helpless.
Fortunately, alternative treatments are out there. Surprisingly simple yet consistently effective, these options reduce pain and restore quality of life. Continue reading to learn more.
Living with Adult Scoliosis Pain
There are three types of adult scoliosis pain: joint inflammation, mechanical pain, and nerve pain.
- Joint inflammation starts off fairly mild – especially in patients who have not undergone any formal treatment – and progresses into arthritis of the spine or spondylosis.
- Mechanical pain results from stress on the muscles surrounding and stabilizing the spine and leads to poor posture, lower back pain, and cramping or numbness in the legs.
- Nerve pain is caused by inflammation or compression of the spine and may lead to loss of coordination and numbness or weakness in the lower extremities.
Adult scoliosis is generally divided into two types: degenerative and idiopathic.
Degenerative scoliosis usually involves a fairy low degree of spinal curvature and may cause mechanical pain and minor symptoms such as chronic neck, back, and hip pain.
Idiopathic scoliosis is scoliosis of unknown cause. It typically peaks during adolescence and progresses slowly into adulthood, causing chronic and often debilitating symptoms such as nerve or mechanical pain, changes in gait or posture, restricted breathing, reduced range of motion, and limited mobility. Physical symptoms of scoliosis pain may contribute to mental symptoms like anxiety, depression, and reduced quality of life.
Can Simple Lifestyle Changes Improve Scoliosis Pain?
Though many traditional treatments for adult scoliosis pain ultimately fail to offer any long-term relief, there are other options. Alternative treatments for scoliosis are focused primarily on relieving pain and improving quality of life.
Here are some options to consider:
- Wear warm clothing. Cold weather can exacerbate scoliosis pain; wearing layered clothing to warm the joints may help.
- Use heat therapy. If wearing warm clothing is not enough, taking a hot bath or applying heat packs to affected areas may reduce pain.
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods. A diet of fiber-rich whole grains and veggies, plus healthy fats and probiotic foods, may reduce inflammation and mitigate scoliosis pain.
- Take joint-supporting supplements. Fish oil capsules are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Turmeric may reduce pain and inflammation. Vitamin D3 improves bone density. Magnesium supports bone and spine health.
In addition to following an anti-inflammatory diet and supplementing the intake of bone- and joint-supporting nutrients, regular exercise can work wonders for scoliosis pain. Rigorous exercise is not recommended, but stretching, yoga, and low-impact exercise can strengthen stabilizing muscles in the body to relieve stiffness and reduce scoliosis pain.
Stretching Toward Scoliosis Pain Relief
The most obvious benefit of stretching is an increase in muscle flexibility, but it also has many other benefits. Improving muscle flexibility and range of motion can protect against injury, improve posture, and relieve stress; it may also relieve adult scoliosis pain.
Scoliosis is characterized by a curvature of the spine that prohibits healthy movement. In a healthy person, the spine moves side to side, but in a spine affected by scoliosis, movement in one direction can be limited. Certain stretches can effectively re-educate the spine, resolving some of the imbalance caused by scoliosis and reducing pain.
While it may seem like stretching the muscles around your spine would increase scoliosis pain, stretching with the spinal curvature encourages the muscles to contract and shorten, effectively correcting the imbalance.
Here are some stretching exercises to try for scoliosis pain management:
#1: Stretch and Reach
Determine which of your legs is slightly longer and use that leg to step onto a small box. Step back with your opposite leg and lower your body, bending at the knee as far as you are able. While descending, raise the arm on the same side of your lowered leg as high into the air as you can. Return to the starting position, then repeat for 2-3 sets of 5-10 reps, all on one side.
#2: Split Stance Reach
Take a large, somewhat exaggerated step forward with your slightly longer leg, keeping your torso upright. Gently shift your weight forward and back, bending the front knee as you shift forward; as you do, raise the opposite arm as high as possible. While reaching upward with one arm, reach the other arm back, keeping the palm facing up – this will force your body to turn toward the forward leg. Return to the starting position, then repeat for 2-3 sets of 5-10 reps, all on one side.
#3: Plank to Hip Thrust
Lie face-down on the floor or on a yoga mat with your legs straight and your arms outstretched in front of you. Plant your palms on the floor then thrust your hips back, raising them as high as you can. Hold this position for three seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 5-10 reps.
Using Yoga to Reduce Scoliosis Pain
Another form of stretching that may relieve scoliosis pain is yoga. Any pose that requires twisting at the waist or bending backward and forward should be avoided, but poses like mountain pose, tree pose, cat pose, and child's pose are safe.
Below is a quick overview for each pose:
#1: Mountain Pose
Stand upright with your feet together and your hands hanging at your side. Slightly separate your heels then close your eyes and rise up onto the balls of your feet. Distribute your weight evenly as you rise to your toes. Lower yourself back down then inhale, pulling your pelvic bone in toward your navel, keeping your shoulders relaxed and your arms hanging loose. Take several deep breaths. Repeat as desired.
#2: Tree Pose
From mountain pose, shift your weight onto your left foot. Using your right hand, take hold of your right ankle and raise it up to place the bottom of your foot against the inside of your left thigh. Inhale, pulling your pelvic bone in toward your navel, then place your palms together in front of your chest and take several deep breaths while looking forward. Repeat on the opposite side.
#3: Cat Pose
Kneel on the ground with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Spread your fingers and look down then tighten your core muscles. Inhale, lifting your head back toward your tailbone, arching your back. Exhale, tucking your tailbone and dropping your head to round your back. Breathe deeply and repeat as desired.
#4: Child's Pose
Sit back on your heels, balancing your weight on your toes. Stretch your arms out in front of you, then bend forward, lowering your chest to your knees. Keep stretching forward and breathing deeply, lengthening the muscles in your back and spine. Relax your whole body, then repeat as desired.
Adult Scoliosis Exercises for Pain Relief
Scoliosis pain has the potential to make even simple daily tasks more of a challenge, as a result, many assume that exercise isn't an option. Low-impact exercises like walking or swimming, however, can improve fitness without worsening scoliosis symptoms. In addition to regular cardiovascular exercise, performing certain core-strengthening and balance exercises may reduce scoliosis pain.
Here are a few simple exercises to try for scoliosis pain relief:
#1: Hip Rolls
Lie flat on your back with your arms stretched out to either side. Bend your knees, tucking them in toward your chest. Slowly roll your hips from left to right, keeping the knees bent at a 90-degree angle and keeping your core tight. Repeat 20 times.
#2: Ball Row Raise
Sit on a large exercise ball, your feet planted firmly on the ground for support. Hold a free weight in your right hand and raise it straight overhead. Bend your right elbow, dropping the weight behind your head, using your left hand for support. Straighten the arm, raising the weight overhead. Repeat for 10 repetitions on each side.
Lie face-down on the ground and bend your elbows under your shoulders, supporting your bodyweight on your forearms and toes. Squeeze your core muscles and hold the position for five seconds. Exhale and relax for a moment, then repeat for a total of 10 times.
#4: Ball Extensions
Sit on a large exercise ball and lean back, supporting yourself with the left foot and right hand. Raise your left arm straight up until it reaches the level of your head while raising your right leg, tightening your glutes. Hold the position for three seconds, then return to the starting position and repeat for 10 repetitions on each side.
Utilizing the ScoliSMART™ Activity Suit
Another option to consider alongside the lifestyle changes outlined in this article is the ScoliSMART™ Activity Suit.
The ScoliSMART™ Activity Suit is a non-invasive alternative to traditional scoliosis bracing that actively reduces and stabilizes adult scoliosis while working with the body's natural movement to build new muscle memory. It improves posture and stability, mimicking the effects of resistance training on the spine. Every step activates the muscles surrounding the spine, reprogramming the muscles to improve coordination.
According to the results of a study published in the International Journal of Clinical Medicine, the ScoliSMART™ Activity Suit offers the following benefits:
- Adult patients experienced an average 54% reduction in scoliosis pain
- About 79% of adult patients experienced a curve correction of 6° or more
- Adult scoliosis patients achieved an average correction of 10°
Supplementing with ScoliPAIN Plus
ScoliPAIN plus is a time-released curcumin supplement that provides 6-8 hours of scoliosis pain relief.
Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory derived from turmeric root. It has been clinically shown to be an effective, safe, natural pain reliever.
What makes ScoliPAIN plus different from other curcumin supplements?
It contains a time-released version of curcumin, which allows people to have longer-lasting pain relief throughout the day. Its cost per dose is also typically much cheaper than competing supplements.
"I had scoliosis as a child, but it didn't hurt back then. Now, a husband, three kids, and a career later, my back and hip hurt pretty much all the time... or did! ScoliPAIN plus has helped me cope with my daily life, and the exercises I started are really starting to pay off. I don't know where I'd be today without ScoliPAIN plus."–Renee S, Louisiana
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It's Time to Take Action
Improved scoliosis pain is just three steps away: