Habits to Adopt for Neck, Back and Scoliosis Care
Scoliosis is a condition characterized by an abnormal shape of the spine and affects 3 out of every 100 people. Severity of the curvature varies, with some patients experiencing no symptoms at all while others are in constant or regular pain. The curve of the spine associated with scoliosis may appear in the shape of a “C” or an “S,” usually spanning to the left and/or right side of the body (not front and back).
Scoliosis can affect anyone and there is no singular cause. Most cases are idiopathic (which means we don’t know why it occurred) but structural causes, due to factors like a short leg or pigeon toeing, inter-utero factors like a foot breach presentation, and even hereditary factors can all play a role. For many, symptoms appear during childhood and get more severe with age. As the curve of the spine becomes more severe, neck, shoulder and back pain can become intense and chronic. Usually by time someone reaches their late teens they can rest assured that the curve will not progress any further however.
Although the best treatment for scoliosis is retardation of curve progression at an early age, treatment options are available at any stage of life. Choices vary and depend on the severity of the condition. There are several habits one should adopt in order to reduce neck and back pain associated with scoliosis and prevent the condition from worsening.
Maintain Proper Posture
While poor posture does not cause scoliosis, it can cause the curvature to progress and make associated pain worse; therefore, it’s important to practice good posture at all times.
Generally, the first step is training your brain to be conscious of your posture throughout the day. Be aware of the way you sit at your desk, walk, and the way you stand. If you find yourself frequently looking down at your phone or keyboard during the day, adjust your position so that your neck and shoulders are not strained.
Stretching and Exercises
Many scoliosis sufferers find yoga and Pilates very helpful for reducing pain and preventing the condition from getting worse. Certain positions used in these disciplines stretch out the spine and back muscles that otherwise might have become painfully contracted as the result of spinal curvature. Several floor and wall-conforming exercises can help to strengthen back muscles and encouraged proper posture.
Adequate nutrition will also help maintain health and that can only be good for the spine and its supporting musculature. Whole foods such as raw fruits and vegetables are the best source of nutrition, however, many people also incorporate foods rich in calcium and vitamin D into their diets so as to promote bone health.
There are various other forms of treatment for pain relief available for scoliosis as well. Many of them include injections of one kind or another. Let’s review some of them now.
Prolotherapy includes the use of proliferative injections which are known to strengthen ligaments. These injections make use of natural compounds to help jump start your body’s natural wound healing response. Prolo-injections can be quite helpful in scoliosis as proper support is diminished to the presence of the curvature. Since ligaments connect bone to bone by strengthening them, you can relieve pain and improve spinal structure.
Trigger Point Injections
Trigger points are small, localized and tender areas of muscle. A local anesthetic is injected into these trigger points in an effort to break the pain-spasm cycle. A very effective technique is to stretch what is tight right after the injection as the numbing from the local anesthetic makes it that much easier to get the job done. If range of motion is increased as a result of the stretching, long lasting relief can occur.
Nerve Blocks And Steroid Injections
When anesthetic injections are placed near a nerve, the goal is to reduce irritability and pain by blocking the pain receptors that communicate with the brain. Steroids are sometimes added to reduce associated inflammation as well. If the nerve that was treated is healthy or if the underlying cause for inflammation has resolved, in many cases both nerve blocks and steroid injections can provide lasting relief long beyond the medicine’s typical effective duration of action.
Scoliosis can affect people of any age and background. While scoliosis pain can be severe, there are habits you can adopt and treatment options available so that scoliosis won’t take over your life. By practicing proper scoliosis care, you can achieve relief from back pain and improve the quality of life.