What Can You Do and Not Do with Scoliosis?
15 July 2020
Living with a medical condition can limit us in various ways, especially with overprotective parents who exaggerate the doctors' precautions. Having a skeletal disorder, in particular, should always be taken seriously because it can progress and cause disability. You don't have to worry though, because educating yourself on your illness can put you in the right direction towards coping or recovery. Scoliosis is an idiopathic disease that science has failed to understand its causes. Your spine twists sideways, causing pain and backaches. It can even affect how a person walks in severe cases.
That's why the goal is to intervene early and prevent any progression. Here's what you can and cannot do when living with scoliosis.
What to Go For
It's not the end of all adventures when you get diagnosed with scoliosis. There are a lot of activities and fun outings you can join. Here are a few tips and activities that will help improve your quality of life.
Some poses help relieve the tension in the muscles and get rid of pain and discomfort. Exercises, such as bird-dog and cat-camel are great for reducing tension in your back. Additionally, yoga helps your mind relax and can also change the way you perceive any damage you have, so you become more accepting of yourself.
Improve Your Back and Core Strength
Core muscles support your back and carry the weight along with your spine, so strengthening them will help improve your overall movements. The weakness that comes with scoliosis will slowly be alleviated the stronger your back and core muscles become.
Early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to a better prognosis. Some doctors recommend surgical intervention to correct the curvature. You might hesitate and ask for second opinions but, in the end, surgery is better than a lifetime of suffering.
In some cases, surgery isn't necessary and there are other, less invasive treatment options that you can consider. For instance, back support is recommended by orthopedics at https://www.align-clinic.com/ as it corrects the posture and lessens the angle of the curvature. As the curve becomes less sharp, the pain becomes more tolerable.
As opposed to what you hear, dance moves will improve your flexibility so you can have better control over your posture. You are no longer tied down to the position dictated to you by your illness. But, avoid excessive backbends to benefit from dancing without hurting your spine.
Your choice of mattress is really important because you spend 8-10 hours in bed, so you have to ensure a good posture. A moderately firm one is healthy and keeps your back straight while sleeping. Also, avoid sleeping on your stomach, it's preferable to sleep on your back with pillows under your shoulders.
Things to Steer Clear From
It's hard to stay away from activities or outings because you are somehow limited, but you should know that you can enjoy what others do differently. Each one of us has their limitations, so we will explain the things you should avoid to lead a comfortable life.
The issue with texting is that you bend your neck for hours without even noticing. As a result, your neck compresses and the vertebra degenerates over time. That can worsen scoliosis drastically. If you have to text, hold your phone at eye-level to avoid looking down.
Carrying Heavy Weights
Generally, wearing a heavy backpack is horrible for your spine, so imagine having a curvature that is pulled down by gravity because of the heavyweight. Moreover, hitting the gym is a good thing, but don't lift weights, especially during deadlifts and squats because you rely mainly on your back muscles during these exercises.
When you jump, you exert pressure on the discs squeezing them together, and since there is a curvature, the discs decompress without returning to their original position. It is safer to avoid jumping especially in case of children with scoliosis because the spine is still developing, and one wrong move can progress the case and turn it from mild to severe.
You should certainly look the other way if you were offered to be on the lacrosse or rugby team. These are violent games that even the best athlete gets bruises and injuries. One hit on your back or a fall on the ground while playing these sports and you will kiss your back goodbye.
High or Flat Shoes
We know that fashion is sometimes worth a bit of pain, but that is for people with ordinary backs. In the case of spinal curvature, your back won't withstand the stress resulting from high-heels or flip-flops. You should wear comfortable shoes or sneakers that provide good support for the whole body.
Living with a chronic illness doesn't mean that your life is over; it just means that you need to be extra cautious while playing sports, dancing, or sleeping. You will become unstoppable after understanding the nature of scoliosis and what exactly you should avoid to make your situation much better.
The Secret Toll of Sexism
Earlier this month, the Boston Globe reported on a troubling study . The study, conducted by the University of Colorado, was looking to examine the longer-term impact of #MeToo, the campaign to expose sexual harassment, abuse, and predation which has overwhelmingly focused on harm by men towards women. While finding that women reported an overall decline in workplace sexual harassment, it also found that there was a growing uptick in plain old sexism.
I'm not naive enough to believe that sexism was something we'd closed the door on; it's something every woman lives with, the frustrating background radiation of our lives. The belief that femininity is weak and superficial while masculinity is strong and deep has implications that play out every day; I cannot tell you how many times a service clerk has called me "sweetie" while calling my husband "sir," or how often I was presumed to be my business partner's secretary or assistant. While it's true that sexism can play out as overt as the assertion that women are fundamentally less capable than men, in most cases, it's far more subtle: the devaluing of women, our experiences, our abilities, and our insights purely on the grounds of who and what we are.
I'm not naive enough to believe that sexism was something we'd closed the door on; it's something every woman lives with, the frustrating background radiation of our lives.
There is actually quite a great deal of overlap between harassment and sexism on the misogyny Venn diagram, because both of them are ultimately about power over women. It boils down to strategies of dominance, and the dots that the University of Colorado study are connecting lead to the conclusion that the degree to which men feel less free to sexually objectify women correlates to finding other ways to do the same work of maintaining a feeling of superiority and control: keeping the womenfolk in line.
I'm not going to assert that this is deliberate; sexism is so often a sort of passive reality, the ocean in which we all swim. But I also want to remind everyone that sexism is far from harmless; it does much the same work as harassment, preventing women from ever forgetting that we exist in public life at the pleasure of the men around us. I think about every time I was expected to perform secretarial work when I was a junior trader (which, you may have observed, is not how you spell "secretary") by men with less experience than me. I think about a young woman I know who ended up walking away from a once-in-a-lifetime job due to the incessant dismissal of her abilities and input. I think about women being cut out of decision-making processes, denied promotions because "this is really more of a man's thing." I think about how motherhood reduces women's lifetime earnings potential while fatherhood raises it.
Sexist environments, in other words, create what they promise: a world where women don't measure up.
That shouldn't be controversial. It's not a secret. And yet I see this sort of thing is dismissed as harmless time and time again, as though it all doesn't add up to the slow demolition of as many women as it can. A while back, I spoke with Goldman Sachs about its new diversity plan, and what struck me about it was just how many factors it had identified that restrict the number of women who are able to advance in their careers there, as well as how frequently women just… leave. It's a vicious cycle, to be sure, but it's one driven by the fundamental assumption that women are less capable than men and that, all things being equal, it'd be better to promote a man.
Let's not ignore for a moment the stark emotional damage hearing "you're just a girl" or even "you're really smart for a girl" for an entire lifetime can ( and demonstrably does ) wreak, preventing scores of women from even entertaining the notion of pursuing careers in business, science, or medicine. Hostile workplaces create conditions where employees simply can't perform; anxiety, stress, fear, and self-doubt all get between a hard worker and a job well done. When we are told what we cannot do, told who we cannot be, are dismissed, belittled, denigrated, it has the knock-on effect of what's called in the social sciences "stereotype threat." Essentially, the anxiety surrounding fulfilling a stereotype makes it self-fulfilling.
We've seen it play out in laboratory settings ; in one study, women who were reminded of sexist assumptions that women are bad at math performed meaningfully worse at a math test than those who weren't. Sexist environments, in other words, create what they promise: a world where women don't measure up. But that's something imposed on us from the outside, and it's the reason why the women who manage to overcome the crushing weight of these assumptions are so lauded: because they've done something remarkable, something that very few men ever have to do.
The belief that femininity is weak and superficial while masculinity is strong and deep has implications that play out every day
The threat to women doesn't go away with Harvey Weinstein or Louis CK, and sexist remarks aren't harmless jokes. They are a stumbling block placed, deliberately or not, in the way of every single woman who sets out to make her own way in the world. It's harder to fight, and harder to see, but just as invidious.
It's something I believe we can beat. The last few years have foisted women's issues and feminism to the forefront of public conversation, educating millions about problems like these and the ways individuals contribute to them. That's a groundswell that has the potential of creating lasting change. But not if we don't keep it going. I believe we're stronger than sexism, that millions of voices can't be ignored, and that lasting change is possible.
We just have to keep trying.
This article was originally published September 30, 2019.