If you had untreated scoliosis in childhood, the curvature will continue into adulthood. You can sometimes lessen the impact of the continuation of the curvature with exercise, but curve correction is generally found in a surgical procedure. It is possible to develop degenerative scoliosis as an adult. This may happen after an injury or an illness. If you have no history or source for your adult onset of scoliosis, it’s referred to as idiopathic scoliosis.
Symptoms That Need Monitoring
Once you’ve stopped growing, your symptomatic response to the curve matters more than the degree of curve. If the curvature is limiting the functionality of your organs, then surgery is likely necessary. However, many people with curved spines enjoy athletic activities and have little to no pain or other symptoms, while those who are very sedentary or eat an inflammatory diet have quite a bit of pain.
Working with a chiropractor is critical to getting your pain level down to a manageable level and keeping it there long term. Staying active and limber can greatly reduce the discomfort of a spinal curve. If your pain is severe, consider working with a personal trainer or a physical therapist to make sure your movements are protecting your joints instead of exacerbating your condition. Never work with weights on your own until you’ve had some personal training assistance.
You could start an exercise program in the pool. Getting in the water will take the pressure off of the misalignment and free up seized muscles. Start by walking along the edge of the pool until the water reaches your shoulders, then turn around and walk until the water is at your waist. As you walk. work to keep your head aligned over your shoulders and your shoulders back. Pull your navel in as though you’re trying to touch it to your spine and tighten your glutes to engage your core.
At the end of your pool workout, move to where the water is at your armpits and stretch your quads, calves and hamstrings. Move to shallower water and angle your feet against the wall before gripping the edge of the pool and leaning back, creating a straight line from your hands to your bottom. This will stretch your low back with little pressure. If you have clearance, lower your forehead to the water and stretch your upper back and neck. Reducing your dietary inflammation can greatly reduce your scoliosis pain. A simple way to start is to cut out sugar, white rice and white flour.
Highly processed foods increase inflammation in nearly everyone. Moving forward, consider dropping
- deli meats, like sausages and salamis
- corn oil
- high fat dairy
Consider keeping a food diary to track what you eat, and note your pain level for the 36 hours following each meal. Every person’s inflammation response is different, but you may find that you feel pretty good after a dinner of salmon and veggies and pretty bad after pepperoni pizza and beer. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever have pepperoni pizza and beer, but you’ll have to carefully monitor your diet before and after this meal, and you may need a stretching workout in the pool.
Do your best to stay warm. Many with pain from adult scoliosis suffer from arthritis, and getting cold can cause tight muscles and a lot of discomfort. If you walk outside, wear fleece around your torso and wear something with a hood so you can keep your neck warm. Wrap your fleece jacket in a windbreaker or down if the conditions are bad and you must be out.
Do not exercise outside if it’s icy; falls can set you back a long way as you work to overcome your scoliosis pain. However, if you have back pain, use ice instead of heat. Nerve pain along the spine comes with inflammation, and heat on inflammation just increases the pressure on the nerve. Icing will reduce inflammation and allow you to stretch the sore muscle.
Use ice directly on the pain for 20 minutes every 2 hours if you have spinal nerve pain from scoliosis. Scoliosis can be, for many adults, a manageable condition no matter when it starts. Chiropractic care is crucial to get your pain level down to a manageable stage if pain stops you from exercising. Ready to get started? We can help. Call us today at 205-637-1363.