People with scoliosis can improve their conditions at home with regular stretching, strength training exercises, a quality mattress, and good nutrition.
Most people who have scoliosis have a mild form of this spinal disorder. Sometimes, scoliosis can lead to complications like chronic pain and difficulty breathing if you don’t take steps to manage it. Fortunately, there are things you can do at home to improve scoliosis and find relief from its symptoms.
Here are eight ways to improve scoliosis at home and how to contact Lompoc Valley Medical Center when you need treatment for this condition.
1. Stretch Every Day
Stretching exercises can improve scoliosis in a variety of ways. They can improve your flexibility and make your spine less rigid. They can increase your range of motion and reduce pain. They can also improve your posture and blood flow.
Do a series of stretching exercises every day. Try to do your stretches first thing in the morning after you wake up when your pain and stiffness are most severe.
Here are stretches that can improve your condition.
Seated Spinal Twists
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Position your hands on the floor behind you with your fingers facing away from you. Take your right foot and place it flat on the ground on the outside of your left knee. Inhale deeply, and bring your left arm up. Exhale, then pull your arm down. Repeat with the other side.
Cat / Cow Pose
Get down on your hands and knees. Position your hands shoulder-width apart and directly under your shoulders. Position your knees directly under your hips. Inhale deeply as you curve your lower back, bring your head up, and tilt your pelvis up like a cow. Exhale deeply as you bring in your abdomen, arch your spine, and bring both your head and pelvis down like a cat. Repeat this movement several times.
Kneel down on the floor with your toes together, and your knees positioned hip-width apart. Place the palms of your hands on top of your thighs. Exhale and slowly lower your torso between your knees while extending your arms along your torso with the palms facing down. Relax your shoulders toward the ground, and hold for several seconds.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Kneel on the floor with both knees, then place one foot forward so there is a 90-degree angle at your hip and knee. You may place your hands on your front knee for support if needed. Slowly lean forward while keeping your torso upright. Keep going until you reach a comfortable stretch that you can feel in your groin area and the top of your thigh. Stay in this position for 30 seconds, or move slowly back and forth 10 times.
Seated Butterfly Stretch
Sit on the floor and bend your knees. Spread your knees and drop them to the floor slowly. Bring the soles of your feet together. Grab your feet and ankles, then slowly lean forward. Keep your spine straight. Hold this position for several seconds.
2. Do Strength Exercises
Do a series of exercises that strengthen your core muscles. This can help slow the progression of your condition and reduce back pain.
Exercises that can strengthen your core and improve scoliosis include:
- Planks. Any planks are good for scoliosis, but some specialists recommend doing side planks. Start with side planks on your elbows before progressing to side planks on your hands.
- Bird dog. This exercise requires you to get down on all fours and stretch out your right arm in front of you while kicking out your left leg behind you. While doing it, tuck your chin into your chest so you are looking down at the floor.
- Pelvic tilt. To do the pelvic tilt, lie on the floor with your knees bent. Tighten your abdominal muscles and slightly bend your pelvis up. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then repeat.
- Glute bridges. This exercise requires you to lie on your back with your knees bent. Lift your hips toward the ceiling while squeezing your glutes and abs. Raise your hips as high as you can go without arching your back, and keep squeezing your glutes. Hold this position for two seconds, then slowly lower your hips back down to the floor.
Look up video tutorials that can show you how to do these exercises if you’re not familiar with them. Your doctor or physical therapist can also show you these exercises and others that can improve your scoliosis.
3. Eat Healthy Foods
Healthy foods contain lots of nutrients that may slow down the progression of scoliosis. Certain foods are also high in antioxidants that can reduce pain and inflammation. Practicing good nutrition can give you more energy to stay on top of your scoliosis exercise routine.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Apples, carrots, broccoli, green beans, and avocados are some of many healthy fruits and vegetables that may improve scoliosis. Eat lots of proteins such as turkey, fish, beef, and chicken.
Also, eat lots of foods high in calcium and vitamin D to strengthen your bones and spine. Eggs, mushrooms, beans, lentils, and chia seeds are all high in calcium and/or vitamin D.
Stay away from unhealthy foods such as fast foods, processed meats, alcohol, and corn syrup. Foods like these can worsen inflammation and your condition.
Your doctor can talk to you more about the importance of good nutrition when living with scoliosis. You may even be referred to a nutritionist who can recommend the best foods to eat.
4. Improve Your Posture
Poor posture can often worsen scoliosis and its symptoms. Sometimes, slouching can feel more comfortable than sitting or standing up straight when you have scoliosis. However, improving your posture can slow the progression of scoliosis and reduce your discomfort.
Your doctor can work with you to improve your posture. Doing regular stretches and strength exercises can also naturally fix your posture over time.
5. Switch Positions
Sitting or standing in the same positions for a long time can increase the stress on your spine. This can worsen your spinal curvature as well as your pain.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to avoid sitting or standing for long periods, especially if it’s required by your job. Make a habit of changing positions as often as possible. Get up frequently to walk around and stretch. If you sit at a desk all day, get up at least once every hour. If you’re standing up all the time, do stretches in place or take breaks to sit down and relax.
6. Find the Right Mattress
An uncomfortable, low-quality mattress can often increase the pain and stiffness caused by scoliosis. It may also cause your condition to progress.
Invest in a comfortable, high-quality mattress that offers plenty of support for your spine and back. Look for one that evenly distributes your body weight, and that conforms to your body no matter what position you sleep in. Choose a firm mattress to avoid problems with posture.
Visit one or more local mattress stores in your area to try lying down on a variety of mattresses. Mattress specialty stores usually have highly trained and knowledgeable staff that can recommend the best mattresses for people with scoliosis. It still helps to visit stores in person, even if you plan on buying a mattress online. You can use the tips you received in stores to pick out a high-quality mattress on the Internet.
7. Try Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers can sometimes help you find temporary relief from pain caused by scoliosis. They may not exactly improve your scoliosis, but they can make you feel more comfortable. Ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen are examples of OTC pain relievers that may work.
Consult with your doctor before using OTC medicines to treat your symptoms. Your doctor can check to see if they will interfere with other medications you are using and make recommendations about the best pain relievers to take.
8. Use Ergonomic Furniture
Ergonomic desks and chairs can be adjusted in ways to prevent your scoliosis from getting worse. Ergonomic furniture is essential if you work at a desk or on a computer for hours at a time, several days a week.
Invest in high-quality ergonomic furniture if you work at home. The manufacturer or store you purchase the furniture from will often give you instructions on how to adjust the furniture to accommodate conditions like scoliosis.
If you work in an office, talk to your employer or human resources department about the possibility of getting an ergonomic chair or desk. Many businesses are required to provide you with scoliosis-friendly equipment if you show medical information proving you have this condition.
Treatment For Scoliosis At Lompoc Valley Medical Center
Lompoc Valley Medical Center is home to a large team of board-certified physicians who can diagnose scoliosis and help you manage and improve your condition. We understand how painful it can be to live with scoliosis and are devoted to helping you experience comfort and relief. Contact us today at (805) 737-3382 to request an appointment and learn more about our many healthcare services.