4 Ways To Relieve Back Pain From Scoliosis


Scoliosis is a spinal affliction that causes the spine to curve sideways. While this can certainly cause pain, people with scoliosis often experience back pain because they strain their muscles to compensate for the lateral curve of their spine. If you are experiencing back pain caused by muscle strain or other side effects of scoliosis, there are steps you can take to eliminate that pain and feel like yourself again


Finding Immediate Relief

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Take over-the-counter pain relievers. Over-the-counter medicine is that which can be purchased without a prescription from a doctor. In particular, you should try non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs come in tablet, capsule, and spray form and help to relieve pain as quickly as possible. This sort of medicine works to block prostaglandins — involved in the inflammatory process, which can cause pain. When they become blocked, inflammation is reduced, relieving pain. However, keep in mind that you should never go over the dosage directions written on the bottle of the medication. The main NSAIDs are:[2]

  • Ibuprofen: This is a regular NSAID — it reduces prostaglandin production and reduces muscle aches. The most common form of ibuprofen is Advil and Motrin.
  • Naproxen: This works to reduce inflammation caused by bone and muscle strain. It is also an effective pain reliever. The most common form of naproxen is Aleve.
  • Aspirin: This works to reduce inflammation. Common forms of aspirin include Bayer and Excedrin. Children and teenagers should not be given aspirin without doctor’s approval, as it can increase their risk of Reye’s syndrome, a potentially fatal condition.[3]
  • Acetaminophen: This drug is not an NSAID, but it helps to block pain centers in the brain and control the central nervous system. The most common form of Acetaminophen is Tylenol.

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Use a hot pack. If you are experiencing muscle spasms that are causing pain, use a hot pack. The heat will work to soothe the pain, calm the muscle spasms, and reduce joint stiffness.[4]

  • Wrap the hot pack in a towel and then gently place the hot pack on the affected spot. Leave the hot pack on for 20 to 30 minutes.

Use a cold compress. Cold compresses can be used on strained muscles. Ice is generally more useful to reduce swelling and inflammation.[5] In the case of a cold compress, you should cover the affected area for 20 minute increments over the course of 24 hours.[6]

  • If you don’t have a cold compress, you can make your own by wrapping an unopened bag of frozen vegetables in a cloth.

Allow yourself to rest. If you are experiencing extreme back pain, it may be your back telling you it needs to rest. Stop doing whatever activity was causing the pain and lie down or do something that is not physically demanding. Keep in mind that movement is a part of pain relief as well — you should resume doing some undemanding physical activities after the intense pain has subsided.


Relieving Back Pain with Physical Therapy

Stretch often. One of the best ways to regain flexibility and muscle strength is by stretching. In fact, stretching can be an excellent way to reduce back pain, you just have to be cautious not to over-stretch or you could accidentally inflict more pain on yourself.[7]

  • Stretch your arms above your head while standing. If you begin to feel pain creeping into your back, stand up as straight as you can and reach your arms above your head with your hands pointing up to the sky. This stretch will help to release pressure on your nerves caused by distorted vertebrae.
  • Try a split stance stretch. Step forward with the leg that appears longer. Keep your torso as upright as possible. Shift your weight to your forward knee as you bend it. As you shift, raise the arm on the opposite side from your forward leg as high as you can. Reach back with the other arm, keeping your palm up. Hold this pose for a few seconds. Do two to three sets of five to 10 reps each.

Stop any activity that causes pain. Pain is a sign that you are doing the activity incorrectly, or that it is not good for your body right now. Any sharp pain or discomfort, tenderness, or swelling is a sign you should stop your activity immediately.[8]

  • Mild soreness may be common after physical activity. Soreness usually occurs after you have finished the activity, not during it, and it should be temporary.[9]
  • If you are not sure how to do your exercises properly, consider seeing a physical therapist. A PT can help you learn to exercise in the correct way.
  • If you continue to experience pain, see a doctor right away.

Seeking Alternative Professional Treatments

Speak with your doctor before seeking alternative therapies. It’s important that your doctor be kept informed of everything you do to treat your scoliosis and back pain. Letting your doctor know about alternative treatments you’re investigating will help all of your care providers work together effectively.[17]

  • Your doctor may also be able to give you referrals to credible licensed professionals in your area.

Correcting Scoliosis for Pain Relief

Talk to your doctor. The following treatments will have to be confirmed by a doctor before they can be employed. Some types of scoliosis do not have to be treated at all as they are caused by another ailment in the body that needs to be corrected. Consult with your doctor about the steps you can take to treat your scoliosis

Wear a brace. Braces cannot treat scoliosis, but they can slow down the progression of the effects of scoliosis. When you first start using the brace, you will need to wear the brace each day and night. However, as your time with the braces progresses, you may be able to wear it less. Braces are particularly important because they can reduce the need for surgery.[32]

  • If you begin wearing a brace soon after being diagnosed with scoliosis, it may keep your back from curving further. If the curve of your back stays at 25 to 40 degrees, you will not need surgery


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