One Important Way I’m Managing My Scoliosis

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I remember this happening like it was yesterday. I was about to do a reverse tuck dive for a high school competition and I was ready to rock. Friends were cheering me on and I was more than ready to do my flips and twists on the board. 

As I bounced up into the air I could tell something was off, and I was right. As I was headed towards the water, head first, I could feel that my body was diving vertically. So, I tried to straighten out my body as best I could, with no avail. I landed in the water with my legs hyper-extended behind  the back of my head. Crunch. It felt like I broke my dang back in half! 

After obvious immediate pain and having to leave this specific diving competition immediately, this injury created a slew of back issues for me. This caused a herniated disc, sciatica, and eventually (according to some chiropractors I’ve met with) very mild scoliosis. So mild that it can be reversed through physical therapy and other treatments, but it still affects me. 

If you’re not sure what scoliosis is, let me break it down for you in a nutshell. Scoliosis is when your spine has an abnormal curvature (a sideways curvature). It can curve in your upper or lower back, but it is not a disease. For me, the abnormal curvature is in my lower back, so at times I experience chronic lower back pain. To be quite frank, I was also told by a chiropractor that because of this curvature, one of my hips is raised slightly higher than the other, causing one of my legs to be “shorter” than the other. Meaning I may have to look for orthopedic shoes, or orthotic inserts, to even them out – ha, that would look funny. So hey, we’ve all got problems.

stretch

Because of my back issues I experienced a lot of chronic pain, most commonly before my “monthly.” Also if I’m standing for long periods of time, if I do an exercise incorrectly, and even sometimes if I sleep in a strange position. Random tasks can create issues. Once my lower back gets inflamed, it’s game over. This would happen quite frequently about 2 years back. I’d be out of commission for 3-4 days every 6 months or so because my lower back would go into a spasm. This means I couldn’t walk (without looking like a granny), and I couldn’t lay with my legs flat or else I’d be in a lot of pain. Now I’m not 100% sure that my lower back pain is a direct link to my scoliosis (this could be a whole different issue) but the point of this story is to share a bit about how I’m taking measures to treat my scoliosis. Not only in this particular article, but future posts to come. My goal is that it gives hope to others who experience this type of chronic pain too. 

sitting for back

The Number One Way I’m Managing Chronic Lower Back Pain

I will admit that my back pain has improved within the past year or so because of the measures that I’m taking to care for myself. I haven’t had a lower back spasm in over a year (knock on wood) and when I do have lower back pain it’s a “5” on a scale from 1-10. I’ll be sharing a bunch of ways that I’m managing my scoliosis in a future post, but for now I want to talk about one important way that I’m caring for this “inconvenience’: being mindful of sitting. 

sitting in chair

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by BackJoy and I have been compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own.

Being Mindful Of Sitting: The number one thing that I currently have to be aware of is when I’m sitting. My career currently has me spending lots of time sitting at my computer, and as I’m writing this article I’m flippin’ sitting. Many of us know that being sedentary for long periods of time has a slew of health issues, and for me my number one issue is back pain. If I don’t have the proper type of support for my back when I’m sitting, then I’ll inflame my lower back for sure. This is why when I had the opportunity to partner with BackJoy, I thought it was a perfect fit (and I was hoping that their product would actually help my back).

BackJoy is a fellow wellness brand that focuses on helping readers care for their spine and provides resources to help folks break free from back pain. They also create products to help reduce pain, improve posture and diminish stress on our bodies from activities like sitting. 

(RELATED: Sitting Is The New Smoking)

Because I sit throughout the day working on my laptop, I always have to be aware of my posture and my lower back. The chair I use the most is probably not that great for lumbar support, so I tend to get aches and pains if I have particularly long work days. BackJoy sent me a SitSmart posture seat which you simply just sit on to improve your posture and alleviate any pain that is associated with being sedentary. It does its job by tilting your hips upright so that your spine “floats” over the seat. I’ve been using it for the past week or so and I’ve honestly noticed a difference in comfort when I have to sit for long periods of time.

Want to know what I’ve been doing to make myself comfortable in my chair before then? My boyfriend calls it my “barrier bench” – I’m sharing a photo and I am not joking this is seriously what I sit on every day. So needless to say that I could definitely make use of this little SitSmart contraption.

chair

My “Barrier Bench”

Using this, as well as taking frequent breaks (I stand and walk around every 10 minutes on the hour), helps me manage my scoliosis when I’m at my laptop all day. I also will take mini yoga breaks throughout the day to do cat cow poses to stretch out my lower back.

If you’re like me and sit in a chair for prolonged periods of time throughout the day, Backjoy is currently running 10 day challenge and giveaway for the month of June, to help all of us who sit at our desk – hooray! If you sign up for their 10 day challenge this month you’ll be eligible to win their wellness package. The winner will be selected by Friday, July 8th. 

Sign Up Prompt - 460 px W x 440 px H at 72 dpi_V2

The 10 day challenge includes free healthy back exercises, back stretches to do daily, how to set up a work station to help with your back and more. All sorts of fun and useful resources to manage any pain you may have! So if you want to enter their giveaway and take the challenge, you can enter directly on their site here. Oh and for more cool tidbits about how to care for chronic back pain, you can take a peek at their Facebook and Twitter too. 

In the meantime, try to be mindful of how long your sitting throughout the day and make a habit to walk around or do stretches after every 50 minutes of work! And keep an eye out for my future posts on additional ways I’m managing my scoliosis. If you also experience any sort of back issues and have tips or tricks that you use to keep the pain at bay, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by BackJoy and I have been compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own.

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2 Comments on One Important Way I’m Managing My Scoliosis

  1. This article is representative of people I see in my clinic on a daily basis. There are A LOT of things we can do to decrease and eliminate your chronic pain…and it has nothing to do with orthotics or surgery. Everything we do is about resetting the nervous system with clinical massage and structural therapy. I would love to explain more or have you stop in to the clinic. Be happy to help reduce your pain and help you get well!!!

  2. I pretty much have the same problem and I’ve been wearing orthotic inserts for the last nine years. For me personally they definitely work!

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